HVAC Problems 101: DIY or a Call for Professional Help?

AC's Not Working Properly: DIY Tips To Troubleshoot Your AC

January 21, 2021

The key to a happy home is maintaining it well. Your HVAC system should be no different, as preventive maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs down the line and prolong its lifespan for years! Find out how to identify and address these problems before it’s too late.

The U.S Department of Energy recently revealed that 70% of residential HVAC systems do not perform optimally, and most homeowners are unaware this is a problem for their homes! It seems like it’s easier to take the reactive approach by doing something when there’s been smoke coming out from your unit instead than waiting until things get worse – don’t let yourself become another statistic; find out how we can help you today!

The average lifespan of an HVAC system is 15 to 25 years. But this is only achievable with proper care and maintenance. Homeowners can deal with basic HVAC care and maintenance tasks, but many require technical expertise. Meddling with issues that need professional handling will result in mistakes that may cause more significant problems in the long run.

Common HVAC Problems and How to Solve Them

Your HVAC system requires regular care and maintenance. These tasks range from the most simple, such as dusting and cleaning, to the most complex, like system inspection for mechanical degradation. Find out the common problems in HVAC systems and learn which ones can be done on your own and which ones are best left to the professionals.

Improper Operation

The U.S. Department of Energy lists this as one of the most common problems with residential HVAC systems. Most of the time, homeowners notice that their house isn’t heating up or it’s not getting colder. It is usually caused by an open window or door somewhere in the house, letting the cold in or the heat out. This forces your HVAC system to work harder and consume more energy, resulting in higher electricity bills.

Do It Yourself: If you’re wondering how to lower your electric bill in the summer or winter, consider looking around your home to identify areas with uneven room temperature. Check windows and doors for any air leaks. Additionally, determine if it’s a simple matter of closing them entirely or fixing their weather strips.

Dirty Filters

Your A/C unit’s filters prevent dust, pet fur and dander, and other pollutants from damaging the unit and compromising your home’s air quality. However, frequent use of the machine will accumulate large amounts of this debris in a short period. It’s the same thing for heaters. Common furnace issues, such as the heater not working, also arise because of clogged filters.

“When filters aren’t replaced, the HVAC system’s performance is compromised.”

Do It Yourself: Once you notice a change in your indoor air quality or poor performance in any of the units, it might be time to replace the filters of your A/C unit and furnace. You may also take the proactive approach and replace the filters every two weeks, depending on which unit is currently the most used. 

Accumulated Debris

HVAC system

The HVAC system’s outdoor component can withstand the elements, but it’s not safe from nature. The leaves of fall Greenwich plant or dirt that accumulate outside may prevent airflow into your home and create problems with cooling as well A/C unit performance
There are many reasons why people experience issues in their furnaces including clogged filters due to animal droppings; however if this were true then wouldn’t these same animals have trouble breathing? It seems unlikely given how much time they spend running around trying get away from us humans!

Do It Yourself: Fix this problem by cleaning the unit regularly. Start by clearing out the area directly surrounding the HVAC system outside. Make sure to trim any branches that hang over the unit, to prevent leaves from falling on it. Then, remove the debris from the fan cage and sweep around the unit. Consider doing this twice a week to avoid mechanical problems in the future.

Broken Thermostat

When your heating doesn’t turn off or the furnace control board has no lights on, there might be something wrong with your thermostat. Programmable thermos are especially susceptible to electrical problems caused by tripped breakers and blown fuses; if these two solutions don’t work for you then an surge in power could’ve damaged its operation system!

Call the Pros: Thermostat malfunctions can be caused by broken internal parts, a problem that requires special tools and technical skills. Choosing to do this on your own might result in mistakes that will cost you more in repairs than if you simply called a professional.

Weird Noises

A sudden and weird noise from your HVAC system is sure to put you on edge. Although it’s not uncommon for this machine to make noises, grinding or clanging sounds are often signs of internal problems such as loose pieces. On the other hand, whining or squealing sounds are signs of motor problems.

Call the Pros: A technician can determine the exact cause of the weird noises, streamlining the repair process. In minor cases, they will simply tighten bolts and replace screws. However, a damaged motor will require replacement to prevent it from compromising the rest of the unit. 


The condensation that conditioners and furnaces produce is rarely a problem because of the drain pipes installed in your HVAC system. However, if these drains get clogged or there’s continuous leakage then you should address this issue immediately so as not to let anything worse happen!

Call the Pros: Persistent leakage from the HVAC system might be due to several factors, such as a broken evaporator drain pan, a malfunctioning heat exchanger, or a damaged collector box. A technician can correctly identify the leak’s source and carry out the necessary repairs.    

Ignition Problems

Ignition problems are the leading cause of unit malfunctions. A thermocouple is used for ignition, and if it’s not working properly this can result in a variety of other issues with your HVAC system performance—including uncomfortable temperatures!

Call the Pros: Some of the causes of ignition problems include gas supply issues and component degradation. Since these elements are considered dangerous, it’s better to leave them to the professionals.

“Fiddling with HVAC components puts your home at risk of a gas leak or an electrical fire.”

Mechanical Wear and Tear

The problems you face with your HVAC system don’t always have a sinister cause. Sometimes, the unit starts malfunctioning because of normal wear caused by age and use. When this mechanical wear and tear is left unaddressed, it can lead to worse problems such as overheating and airflow issues.

Call the Pros: A technician will carry out a comprehensive inspection of your HVAC system to identify the parts that need to be repaired or replaced. They can also determine the current state of belts and oiling bearings, determining when they will need to be replaced.  

Insufficient Maintenance

The lack of care and maintenance can lead to most HVAC problems. Although your system isn’t a delicate machine, it still requires regular upkeep that includes making sure all internal parts are clean as well as external filters or screens on vents in order for them not be clogged by animal droppings; having an annual professional inspection done will help ensure everything’s working properly before any major issues arise.

Call the Pros: Working with a professional service company is essential to your HVAC system’s performance and lifespan. Continuing to take the reactive approach might result in the complete replacement of your unit.

The Importance of Working with the HVAC Professionals

Hiring professionals from the onset is often a good idea because it can save you money in two ways. First, if their services are needed at some point down the line and second-you might have been hesitant about hiring them initially due to cost but now seeing as how things haven’t gotten any worse this could make sense for you!

They get it right the first time.

Technicians have the training and experience to identify the cause of a problem efficiently. Knowing the problem right away allows them to determine the right course of action, streamlining the process and potentially helping you save more money in the long run.

They have the right tools and equipment.

tools and equipment

Even DIY enthusiasts who have collected toolboxes don’t have the specialized tools and equipment technicians have. These include industrial-strength cleaners, high-powered vacuum cleaners, and other items that can’t be bought from a retail hardware store.

They have insurance.

When you take on the more complicated problems concerning your HVAC system, you risk making a mistake that may lead to an accident or injury. Although this is still possible with trained technicians, they have the coverage to manage the expenses.

They save you the trouble.

Couple indoors with hvac

Hiring a technician for preventive maintenance saves you time and money in the long term. When your HVAC system suddenly breaks down, you have to immediately look for a replacement. Having someone who regularly checks the unit helps you avoid this situation because they’ll be able to address problems immediately, saving you the trouble of experiencing its consequences.

It is impractical to insist that professional services are only required for emergency situations, especially with complex machines like HVAC systems. Something as simple as your furnace fan not working on automatic mode might indicate problems with the control system.

Manufacturers advise owners that annual inspections and maintenance services are essential to the peak performance of HVACs. Your HVAC system’s maintenance is a year-round affair. When you have a professional services team, you can immediately call them to see what’s wrong with your HVAC.

If you’re wondering why your system isn’t working well and need HVAC services, drop us a line! Our team is ready to answer any of your questions.

Written by Angel Muro

I started Comfort Time Plumbing Heating & Cooling out of a love for HVAC & Plumbing and a desire to make our customers comfortable. My curiosity about heating, plumbing, and air conditioning turned into a career focused on expertise and customer care. Through this blog, I aim to share helpful tips and stories from my experiences, aiming to assist you with your HVAC & Plumbing needs beyond just outlining our services.

January 21, 2021

Comfort Time Logo Large

About Comfort Time Plumbing Heating & Cooling

At Comfort Time Plumbing Heating and Cooling, we are your trusted HVAC & Plumbing experts serving Southern California. With years of experience in the industry, we take pride in delivering top-notch heating and cooling solutions tailored to the unique climate and needs of the region. Whether you’re in the coastal areas, inland valleys, or urban centers, our team of dedicated professionals is here to ensure your year-round comfort. We stay up-to-date with the latest technologies to offer energy-efficient solutions, and our commitment to customer satisfaction means you can rely on us for prompt and reliable service. When it comes to your HVAC needs in Southern California, Comfort Time is the name you can trust.

You May Also Like…