If your HVAC equipment isn't performing as well as you'd expect, there's a lot you can do at home to get it up and running again. Some heating and cooling problems are simple to fix, and even if you can't handle the issue yourself, understanding what's wrong with your unit will help you make the best decision about how to move forward. Here are a few basic tips to make the process easier.
What to Do About HVAC Problems
1. Start Promptly
As soon as you notice an issue with your unit, start investigating. The sooner you address the problem, the more likely it is that you'll find a simple, easy fix. Don't wait until it begins to break down. If you let the problem develop, it can damage multiple parts inside your air conditioner or furnace.
2. Check the Basics
First, make sure your unit is getting power or fuel as needed. If it's electric, make sure it's plugged in and the breaker hasn't flipped. If it uses gas or another fuel source, make sure the supply line is open, the pilot light is on, and you can't smell any leaks.
Next, make sure the airflow isn't obstructed; open all the registers, clear the vents, and replace the air filter. Check the settings of the thermostat and any controls on the unit. If there's an outdoor unit, clean out any leaves or debris that might have gotten stuck.
3. Repair or Replace
If none of these basic checks fix the problem, you'll either need professional repairs or have to replace the HVAC equipment. A professional technician can help you identify the cause of the issue and what it will take to fix it. If your unit is 12 to 15 years old, if it breaks down frequently, or if the cost of repairs is more than about a third of the expense of a new unit, it makes the most sense to replace it.
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