Troubleshoot Your HVAC

Troubleshooting your HVAC system can save you on maintenance and repair costs, but it’s important to know the ABC’s of HVAC systems to safely and efficiently evaluate it. Your home HVAC system typically includes both central heating and central cooling which are two separate systems that share ductwork.

Commonly, the central cooling system includes a cabinet outdoors that contains a condenser coil and compressor and an indoor evaporator coil that is usually installed with your furnace or air handler. The compressor is the piece of equipment that moves refrigerant through the system.

The cooling part of the HVAC systems works by moving warm air across the indoor evaporator coil which transfers heat from the air to the refrigerant to cool the air. The refrigerant is cycled back to the compressor to repeat the job and the cool air is blown inside your home. The heat transferred to the refrigerant is removed to outside the home.

The heating system has a primary heating appliance which is usually installed in your garage or basement. A furnace is one type of heating appliance and it can run on either gas or oil, or on a hybrid system, depending on your region and needs. The furnace generates combustion gases that are passed through a heat exchanger. Air from your home is blown across the heat exchanger, which warms the air to be transferred through the ductwork and distributed back into your home. You should be especially careful when troubleshooting old furnaces considering the outdated parts, and hazards of CO2 and fires.

Most often, HVAC issues are related to one specific part of the system, such as the duct system, heat pump, or vents, to name a few – which makes troubleshooting a relatively methodical task. Start by inspecting the visible equipment and work towards the less conspicuous parts.

The first step of your diagnosis should be to confirm that your system has power. The furnace and air-conditioner will have separate fuses or circuit breakers. The thermostat will also have its own power source, either electrical or battery powered.

If cold air is blowing from your heater, there are a couple things you can troubleshoot to identify the issue. First, check the thermostat to see that it is set to “auto” instead of “on.” If it is set to “on,” the fan will blow continuously even if the furnace isn’t heating the air, causing the air coming out of the vents to feel cool. Next, check your air filter and change it if it is dirty. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and cause other equipment to malfunction.

Other causes of HVAC failures can include an outdated HVAC system/parts, poor drainage, frozen coil, a pilot light or ignition problem, inadequate fuel supply, large leaks in your ductwork, or a clog in your condenser. These type of issues are best identified by calling your local certified HVAC professional.

If troubleshooting your HVAC system doesn’t solve the issue, call the fully Nate certified staff at Action Air Conditioning, Heating and Solar today to schedule a maintenance and repair appointment to get your system working at optimal performance!

HVAC Troubleshooting: Pooling Water Under Air Conditioning

If you notice a pool of water under your AC, it is a sign that your HVAC needs to be repaired or replaced. There are several things that can cause this common AC issue, so it’s important to call a certified HVAC technician to diagnose and repair the problem. 

Water is naturally created by the AC unit from the process of pulling in the hot/humid air from outside and cooling it through the unit’s cold evaporator coil. Condensation forms and that water is expelled by the drain line into your plumbing, condensation pump, or outside. If there is any issue with the parts that control this process, a pool of water will form under your AC unit. In this case, your AC is not running efficiently and could cause more expensive repairs, premature damage to parts and increased energy bills. Here are a few common causes for pooling water under AC:

  • Condensation pump – When the water is not expelled properly due to a faulty condensation pump, the continual presence of water in an AC unit will create mold and mildew build up and cause the system to clog. This is important to repair in a timely manner to prevent a snowball-effect of other problems because of a clogged unit.
  • Blocked drain hole – If condensation/water is not able to exit the unit due to a clogged drain hole, the water will have nowhere else to go but inside your home or pool around the unit. A clogged drain hole is caused by dirt, insects, debris or mold/mildew build up inside the unit. It could also be from a dirty evaporator coil in which case the dirt will mix with the water and fall down into the drainage pan, clogging the drain hole.
  • Frozen evaporator coil – Low refrigerant causes the coil to become much colder than necessary, in turn freezing it. A dirty air filter will also cause the coil to freeze from the lack of airflow. To defrost the coil, turn your AC off and call a licensed HVAC contractor to correct the problem.
  • Bad sealing – If the seals on your AC unit are not tight, it will cause an excess of air inside. The moisture from that air will build up when the warm air meets the cold air inside the AC unit. A HVAC contractor will need to reseal the outside of the AC to keep it properly isolated.
  • Poor installation – This is common with newly installed AC units. The problem of pooling water happens when condensate trap is not installed correctly, which will prevent the water/condensation from properly draining.

Action Air is dedicated to your home’s comfort and energy savings. If you are experiencing pooling water under your AC, call Action Air to schedule an appointment with one of our Nate-Certified technicians.

Get Your Home Ready and Stay Ahead of El Niño’s Impact This Winter

The strong winds, rain, and thunderstorms created by El Niño is causing an unseasonably cold winter for Southern California. More recent reports have revealed that El Niño’s impact is stronger than originally predicted, and expected to last through Spring 2016. Southern Californian’s appreciate our usually warm environment, here are a few tips on how to keep your home cozy this winter.

Replace Your Outdated Heating System

Over time, furnaces, even those that are well maintained, will eventually need to be replaced. Furnaces wear down and efficiency levels gradually reduce, decreasing the comfort of your home and increasing your energy bills. Since all of Southern California will be cranking the heat this winter, replacing your outdated heating system with a more efficient model will, without doubt, save you hundreds or thousands on your energy bills annually.

Our San Diego area furnace replacement technicians can assess your needs and recommend a new gas, electric or dual fuel furnace for your home today and have your new heating system installed in a timely and professional manner.

Keep Your Home and Family Safe

Not only will you be saving big bucks with a new heating system, but you will also create a safer environment for your home. Replacing your outdated heating system is the best way to safeguard your home against fires, expensive repairs, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

The flooding caused by excessive rain this winter creates a major concern for the many flood-prone areas in Southern California. Check the surrounding areas of your home for any issues such as potholes, rocks/mudslides, plugged storm drains, water flowing down your driveway, etc. These minor problems can quickly turn dangerous during a major flood without the proper precautionary action. Contact your County Department of Public Works Road Service to resolve any potential problems. Here are some useful resources about El Niño and Flood and Disaster preparedness:

http://www.ready.gov/floods

http://www.readysandiego.org/

http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/elnino/faq.html

http://myhazards.caloes.ca.gov/