HVAC Troubleshooting Tips Every Homeowner Should Know About

Posted: 2020-10-01

No homeowner ever wants to deal with a malfunctioning HVAC system — it's inconvenient, costly, and stressful. However, there are times when heating and cooling systems do act up, and whether you like it or not, you have to deal with the issue. It's one thing to call your preferred HVAC company in Grant MN, as soon as you discover the problem, but what if no one is available? What if it's just a minor issue that you can fix yourself?

Here are some troubleshooting steps you can do on your own.

Basic Diagnosis

One of the first things you need to determine is that the system has power. Find the service panel and make sure the circuit breaker to your furnace or air conditioner is not tripped. Your HVAC systems will have their dedicated circuit breaker or fuse (for older electrical systems). Turn the breaker off for the specific unit acting up and wait about ten seconds and turn it back on. If your home is equipped with fuses, switch the main power off. See if there are any blown or burnt fuses and replace them accordingly. Then, check the thermostat for power. If the problem persists, call your trusted HVAC contractor.

Awful Smell from HVAC Unit

If you notice an awful smell coming from your furnace or air conditioner, it's best to act on it as soon as possible. Most of the time, this foul odor is caused by mold, which poses a risk to your health.

Also, check if the unit is leaking. Moisture can turn your home into a breeding ground for mold, so be sure to spot the leaks and seal them off.

Foul smell from your HVAC system can also come from burnt wiring and electrical connections. You may want to call a professional to deal with electrical issues to avoid untoward incidents.

A Clogged Air Filter

This is perhaps the easiest troubleshooting step you can take. Your HVAC system has an air filter that traps dirt, dust, and particles that can hamper the unit's airflow. When the filter is clogged, the system is forced to work harder to provide your comfort needs. Failure to deal with clogged filters results in poor system performance, high energy costs, and shortened equipment lifespan. Experts recommend replacing your air filters at least once every thirty days. If you have a reusable filter, take it out, clean it up, and put it back in.


When the airflow is compromised, your HVAC system will experience short-cycling, causing the unit to shut down before the heating or cooling cycle is completed. Most of the time, cleaning or replacing the filter resolves this problem.

However, check the evaporator coils, usually found inside the air handler, if the issue remains. In some units, the coils are attached to the furnace. If there is ice or frost on the coils, shut the unit off and let it thaw.

Another possible reason for an HVAC system to short-cycle is a faulty thermostat that does not get the right temperature reading. You will notice that the room does not reach your desired comfort levels or warms or cools too quickly.

A Clogged Outside Unit

If your HVAC system has an outdoor unit, be sure to check it from time to time. It is not uncommon for homeowners to overlook their HVAC system's outside unit, which is the main point of airflow into your home. Things like debris, leaves, and branches can cause your unit to struggle for air. Remove anything that can block the airflow to our outdoor unit and use a garden hose to rinse the dirt and debris. Also, keep the area surrounding the outdoor unit clear from clutter and vegetation. Maintain a minimum of three feet of debris-free space to ensure your system has a healthy airflow.

Need Professional Help? Call Four Seasons Air Specialists

You can save some money on service calls by following these simple troubleshooting steps. However, if the problem seems too complicated, don't second-guess. Give us a call the minute you discover the problem. We'll be more than happy to diagnose the issue for you and apply appropriate solutions. We are your supreme Mahtomedi heating and air conditioning company.