Comfort. Energy Expenses. Safety. Value

Fall is here, and winter is right around the corner. That means it’s about time to crank up the heater and get cozy. Many people are upset and confused when their heating and cooling system isn’t running smoothly like it once did — or isn’t working at all.

The good news is that you might not have to call a professional right away. You can fix some problems on your own. Here are a few essential HVAC maintenance and troubleshooting tips you can try before reaching out to an expert.

Inspect the Outside Unit

If your HVAC unit is on and the air inside your home isn’t warm, start by going outside and looking at your vents and ducts. Make sure none of them are blocked.

Next, clear away debris from around the condenser unit (including leaves or other items stuck to the fins). You may also want to grab a hose and spray the condenser unit coils. If they’re dirty, this can interrupt airflow.

Inspect or Change Air Filters

Dirty or old air filters can impact the air quality in your home, cause your HVAC system to run inefficiently, and prevent consistent airflow. If you can’t remember the last time you changed your filters — or if you’ve never changed them — look to see how dirty they are.

If you can barely tell that a filter exists under all that dust and debris, replace it with a new, clean one.

Monitor Your Thermostat

Your thermostat might be the culprit behind your HVAC issues. A faulty thermostat could cause the unit to turn on at the wrong time or not turn on at all. Make sure your thermostat has power  if it’s battery-operated, change the batteries) and double-check the temperature settings.

You may want to test your thermostat’s calibration as well. To do this, find an accurate thermometer. Then, tape it to the wall next to your thermostat. Wait 15 minutes, then check both devices’ temperatures. If the temperatures are within a few degrees of each other, your thermostat is likely working properly. If you notice a more significant variance, though, that can be a sign of a more severe problem.

Check AC Wires

Issues with the AC wires can easily cause problems with your HVAC unit. Examine your HVAC system — particularly the outside unit — to see if any of the wires are disconnected, dirty, or damaged.

Reset Your HVAC System

Sometimes, the solution is as simple as resetting the HVAC system. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to resetting the system. The proper process depends on your specific unit. Consult the owner’s manual to learn how to reset your particular system.

Can’t find the manual? No problem. Simply search for the system’s model number online. The manual should pop right up!

Signs You Should Contact an HVAC Expert

You can do some simple tasks on your own to maintain or fix your HVAC unit. However, if you notice any of the following issues, skip the DIY approach and contact a professional who offers HVAC services:

  • Damaged or exposed wires: Don’t risk electrocution by touching or trying to repair damaged or exposed wires on your own!
  • Noisy system: Clanging and banging when the system starts are often signs of bigger problems.
  • Unpleasant smells: A burning smell can indicate a serious electrical issue (one that could potentially cause a fire), while a musty odor can be a sign of mold.
  • No airflow: If no air comes from your system, that can point to a broken system or a blocked duct.

You should also contact an expert if you have an old HVAC system. Most units last about 15-25 years. Regular maintenance may help to extend the system’s lifespan, though.

Need More Help? Call a Pro Today!

From inspecting the outside unit to doing a full reset, these HVAC troubleshooting processes can help you get your heating and cooling system working properly. However, if you have tried all of these solutions and still aren’t seeing results, or if you notice more problematic issues like those mentioned above, reach out to an HVAC improvement expert as soon as possible.

C&M Heating and Cooling has proudly served Middle Tennessee since 1976, and we can’t wait to help you with your HVAC system. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!