HVAC Common Troubleshooting Tips

 

Gas Furnace Issues (click a link to expand & close)

My Gas Furnace is Not Working Properly.

If your furnace is not starting, or if it does turn on but there's no heat coming out, be sure to check the following items to see if they could be the trouble behind your furnace issue:

Is your thermostat set too low and therefore, not requesting heat? Make sure your thermostat is in heat mode and is set at the appropriate temperature setting that you would like.

Is your thermostat working? Move the temperature up or down a few degrees to see if your furnace turns on. If not, you may need to have your thermostat replaced.

Is your circuit breaker or fuse controlling the furnace tripped or blown? Look at your fuse box or circuit breaker box. If the circuit is tripped, reset your circuit breaker. If you have fuses, and the fuse if blown, replace the fuse.

Is your pilot light out? If so, re-light the pilot light.

If you still have no heat from your furnace or your furnace is not starting after checking these items, call Denillo Heating & Cooling at (412) 885-2356 or schedule an appointment online. We will send one of our professional technicians to Identify and repair your furnace problem. We offer 24-hour Emergency Service.

My furnace is noisy!

Is your furnace making noise, and you're not sure why? A furnace should normally be pretty quiet. If there are unexplained noises, however, there is usually a problem. Here are common reasons behind a noisy furnace:

A squealing noise. This could be caused by a loose blower belt. Check the belt; it should depress about one inch at the center of its span. If not, it should be tightened. If it is frayer, it should be replaced. The squealing noises may also be the result of motor or shaft bearing parts that need oil. They are usually located at the end of each shaft. Simply oil them with a light oil and cloth.

A rumbling noise. This may be caused by dirty gas burners or a poorly adjusted pilot light. In either case, you should call our office so that we can send one of our professional technicians to fix the problem.

You may also have a noisy furnace simply because it is having to work harder because the filter needs to be replaced. Find the filter in the unit and replace or clean it.

If your furnace noise has not gone away after trying the items above, call Denillo Heating & Cooling at (412) 885-2356 or schedule an appointment online. We will send one of our professional technicians to Identify and repair your furnace problem. We offer 24-hour Emergency Service.

Gas Furnace Problems.

Are you experiencing gas furnace problems? Is your gas furnace not producing enough heat? Is it turning on and off too frequently? Is the blower constantly running? Here are a few common gas furnace troubleshooting suggestions:

Do you have a dirty air filter in your furnace? This could cause your furnace to not achieve the temperature setting you have your thermostat set to and constantly run. Replace the filter. Filters should be replaced every two months.

Are your gas burners dirty and need adjustments? While you could clean the gas burners yourself, it is best to leave this to the experts. You could greatly damage your furnace if this procedure is not done correctly.

Does your blower motor need to be oiled? If your gas furnace comes on or off too frequently, it may be because the parts in your blower motor need to be oiled. These parts are usually at each end of the shaft. Simply oil them using a light oil and cloth.

Is your furnace belt properly tightened? If the belt in your gas furnace is too loose, your furnace will not run properly. The belt should depress about one inch at the center of the belt span. If it is too loose, simply tighten it. If it is frayed, it will need to be replaced.

Is your thermostat set to fan continuous, or is it faulty? If the fan is set to continuous, simply change the thermostat fan setting. To determine if you have a faulty thermostat, view our thermostat problems tips below.

If your furnace is still not working properly, call Denillo Heating & Cooling at (412) 885-2356 or schedule an appointment online. We will send one of our professional technicians to Identify and repair your furnace problem. We offer 24-hour Emergency Service.

 

Thermostat Issues (click a link to expand & close)

Thermostat Not Working Properly and Other Thermostat Problems.

The thermostat for your furnace is the control device that determines when your furnace should turn on and off, and how much heat or cool air is needed to reach your family's desired indoor air temperature. If your furnace is not turning on or producing heat, it may be because you have a broken or faulty thermostat. Check the following to see if any of these items are causing your thermostat problems:

  • Is your thermostat in heat or cool mode?
  • Is it set at the appropriate temperature setting that you would like?
  • Have you moved the temperature up or down a few degrees to see if your furnace or A/C turns on?
  • Do the batteries need to be replaced in your thermostat?
  • Is your thermostat in a drafty hallway or by an outside source that could be affecting the performance of the thermostat? If so, consider moving the thermostat to an area that is not affected by outdoor areas or temperatures.
  • Do you need extra insulation to fix your digital thermostat problems? To find out, turn off the power to both the thermostat and heating system. Remove the thermostat cover and see if any cool or warm air comes through. If so, remove the entire unit and caulk to add extra insulation around the opening.
  • Make sure your thermostat is clean from dust and dirt. Using a small toothbrush or paint brush, clean the small metal plates (the contacts) within the unit. Do not touch these contacts, or any other interior parts, with your fingers.
  • Check wires in the thermostat for corrosion. If any is found, remove the wires and clean with a wire stripper.

If your thermostat is still not working properly, call Denillo Heating & Cooling at (412) 885-2356 or schedule an appointment online. We will send one of our professional technicians to Identify and repair your furnace problem. We offer 24-hour Emergency Service.

 

HeatPump Issues (click a link to expand & close)

Common Heat Pump Problems.

If your heat pump is not working, doesn't heat or cool properly, freezes up, trips the circuit breaker, or you are experiencing a multitude of other heat pump problems, these heat pump troubleshooting suggestions could help you out:

My heat pump doesn't start.

  • Be sure the thermostat is set to the proper setting (heat or cool).
  • Make sure the thermostat is receiving power by checking both the main electrical panel and any subpanels that supply power. If the circuit breaker has tripped, or a fuse has blown, reset or replace.

My heat pump doesn't heat or cool my home properly.

  • Check the filter in your heat pump. If it is dirty, it needs to be replaced.
  • Make sure your registers are open.
  • Make sure the coils in the outdoor unit are clean.

My heat pump constantly trips the circuit breaker.

  • Make sure the auxiliary heating elements are working properly. Auxiliary heating elements provide heat to your home when the weather gets really cold (around 20°F). When they come on, they may use too much power and trip your circuit breaker. Simply reset the breaker.

My heat pump turns off and on when it shouldn't.

  • You may have a clogged or dirty filter. Simply replace it.
  • Your thermostat may be improperly calibrated and will need to be professionally fixed.

I have a noisy heat pump.

  • A rattling noise may be the result of loose cover panels. It may also be due to loose parts in the air handler, which will need to be tightened.
  • If your noisy heat pump is making a grinding or squealing noise, the bearings on the motor may be worn out. This will require replacement of your motor. This needs to be performed by a professional HVAC technician.

If your heat pump is still not working properly after trying these heat pump troubleshooting solutions, call Denillo Heating & Cooling at (412) 885-2356 or schedule an appointment online. We will send one of our professional technicians to Identify and repair your furnace problem. We offer 24-hour Emergency Service.

 

Boiler Issues (click a link to expand & close)

My Boiler is Not Working.

Do you have gas boiler problems? If your gas boiler is not heating your home and water like it should, it could be something as simply as the water level is too low or the pilot ignitioin has malfunctioned. Here are boiler troubleshooting suggestions:

  • Does the boiler have power? The circuit breaker or fuse controlling the boiler may be tripped or blown. Reset or replace.
  • Is the water level in the boiler too low? If your boiler has an automatic filling system, the pressure relief valve should maintain a 12-15 PSI by keeping the water level at least half full. If you do not have a pressure relief valve, manually add water to the boiler by opening up the water feed valve until the boiler pressure reaches 12 PSI.
  • Is your pilot light out? If so, simply re-light it.
  • Is your thermostat on a heat setting? If not, make sure it is and set your desired temperature.
  • Did your gas boiler problems happen over time? If so, you could have mineral deposits in the boiler or on your heat exchanger. If this is the case, you should call us so that we can send our professional technician to determine the exact problem.
  • Do you have a baseboard that isn't heating? This could be because of excess air in heating pipes. Open the radiator bleed valve at the top of the radiator to get rid of the air. When water starts to squirt from the radiator, close the valve.

If your boiler is still not working properly after trying these troubleshooting solutions, call Denillo Heating & Cooling at (412) 885-2356 or schedule an appointment online. We will send one of our professional technicians to Identify and repair your furnace problem. We offer 24-hour Emergency Service.

 

Air Conditioner Issues (click a link to expand & close)

Air Conditioner is Not Working Properly.

Begin your air conditioner troubleshooting at the thermostat. Make sure that the thermostat is on cool and that it is set lower than the actual room temperature. Here are helpful tips that you can do to troubleshoot your air conditioning problems:

  • Is there air coming out of the floor or ceiling registers? If not, then check to see if the fan on the outside unit is running. If the fan on the outside unit is not running, check to make sure that the circuit breakers did not trip. If a circuit breaker is tripped, you can reset it by shutting it off and then turning it back on. If the breaker is not tripped, then the problem may be your thermostat or the wiring. If your unit has a condensate pump, check to make sure the reservoir is not full. If the reservoir is full, a limit switch will normally stop the air conditioner from running. You should contact our office so that we can send our professional technician to repair or replace the pump and check the thermostat and wiring.
  • Is the fan on the outside unit is blowing out hot air? If the blower is not running but the fan outside is, the problem could be the blower motor, the run capacitor, or the control board. If the fan motor is not running, then shut the power off to the unit. Then, check all wire connections for signs of damage, such as burning. You should also check the wire connections in the compressor terminal box. Continue your air conditioning troubleshooting by turning the power on to the unit and observing whether the contactor closes or not. If the unit does not start, look for a reset button. If you have power to the unit and the coil on the contactor but the unit does not start, the unit's contactor may be bad. If the compressor starts but the fan does not, then the condenser fan motor could be the problem. If the condenser fan starts but the compressor does not, then the unit may be low on refrigerant, the compressor might be too hot, or the compressor may be bad. With any of these situations, you should contact our office to arrange for our professional technician to come out to diagnose and repair your system.
  • Do you see ice on the lines connecting the indoor and outdoor units, or is there water around the furnace? If the blower on the furnace is running, check to see if there is any frost or ice around the units. You might also notice water around the furnace. Is there ice on the copper lines going outside? If yes, then shut the outside unit off for a couple of hours, but let the blower on the furnace run. This will allow the ice to melt. After two hours, you can continue your air conditioner troubleshooting. Turn the A/C back on and let it run for about five minutes. Now, feel the larger copper line at the outdoor unit. This should be cold and have condensation on it. If it is not cold or if frost is forming on the line, it is probably a refrigerant problem. You should contact our office so that we can add refrigerant to your system.
  • Is the unit providing some cooling, but not enough? If the condenser fan and the compressor both run, but the cooling effect is not adequate, you should check the temperature drop of the system. The unit should be operating for 10-15 minutes prior to taking temperature measurements. To measure the temperature drop, measure the air temperature leaving the air handler and subtract it from the temperature of the air entering the air handler. The result should be about 15° for a high efficiency unit and about 18° to 20° for an older unit (SEER less than 10). If the temperature drop is significantly lower than that, the problem may be the refrigerant charge. If the temperature drop is significantly higher than that, then your air conditioner troubleshooting should focus on the system's air flow. The evaporator coil, filter, or blower wheel could be dirty. This is usually the result of not performing routine maintenance on the system. You may be able to increase the blower's cooling speed or replace your existing blower motor with a variable speed motor to overcome that problem.

If your air conditioner is still not working properly after trying these troubleshooting solutions, call Denillo Heating & Cooling at (412) 885-2356 or schedule an appointment online. We will send one of our professional technicians to Identify and repair your furnace problem. We offer 24-hour Emergency Service.

 

Seasonal Tips (click a link to expand & close)

Spring and Summer Tips.

  • Have your air conditioning system tuned-up for the season. This will keep your system running at peak efficiency. Operating at peak efficiency will save you money because the system doesn't have to work as hard to do its job.
  • Replace your furnace filters on a regular basis. Lack of regular filter changes and maintenance is the #1 cause of system breakdowns and costly repair bills.
  • If you disconnected the power to your central air conditioning system in the winter, wait 24 hours after turning power back on to the system to run it. Your compressor needs that time to warm-up.
  • Keep the thermostat constant. Continuously adjusting the thermostat can be very inefficient. You can, however, raise the thermostat 2-3 degrees during the day while you're away to save money. For every degree you raise the setting, you can expect to cut energy consumption by up to 3%-5%.
  • Flip the fan switch on your thermostat into the "fan on" mode when cooling the house. This process will ensure that air is always being stirred to prevent hot and cold pockets from forming.
  • Set air vents on the second floor to receive approximately 75% of the conditioned air. This will help even out the temperature from the first to the second floor of your home.
  • Keep the shades and curtains drawn to reduce the radiant heat of the sun.
  • Install awnings or plant trees that will shade southern facing windows. This keeps the hottest rays of the sun from shining directly into the house.
  • Replace older windows with more efficient low-E glass. These windows help to reduce the effect of the suns warming rays. Also, keep storm windows closed. These tips will reduce the heat load gain on your home, which means your air conditioner does not have to work as hard to keep the home at a comfortable temperature. This saves money and extends the life of your system.
  • Install an attic fan to help ventilate some of the hot air out of the attic. Attics can reach temperatures of 140° to 150° and this build of warm air can make the upstairs of a home warmer than it needs to be. This makes the air conditioner work harder to do its job. It will cost you more to cool your home and the life of the system can be decreased.
  • Run a dehumidifier in the basement if the basement is humid. A damp basement can add moisture to the whole house. A dehumidifier in the basement will help to reduce the humidity levels in the home, making it more comfortable throughout the hot summer months.
  • Clear or cut back shrubs and bushes from the outdoor unit. The sides of the unit require at least 12-18 inches of clearance for proper performance.
  • Keep fallen leaves, grass clipps, foliage and other dirt and debris away from your outdoor unit. And, keep the A/C coils clean, following manufacturers' instructions.
  • Don't block vents or ducts inside your home. Keeping vents clear will assure air flow in the home.
  • Caulk and install weather stripping around windows and doors (especially the attic) to close air gaps.
  • Avoid using the oven during the day. Run the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, in the evening when electricity rates may be lower and heat from those appliances won't increase A/C demands.
  • Turn off lamps, televisions, and other appliances when not in use.
  • Consider the installation of a programmable thermostat to automatically increase or decrease temperatures during the day and night to suit your family's lifestyle and reduce energy costs.
  • Use shades, blinds, or curtains to keep sunlight out of the house.
  • Keep windows and doors closed when A/C is on.

Fall and Winter Tips.

  • Have your furnace or boiler tuned up for the season. This will allow your system to run at peak efficiency. Operating at peak efficiency will save you money because the system doesn't have to work as hard to do its job.
  • Replace your furnace filters on a regular basis. Lack of regular filter changes and maintenance is the #1 cause of system breakdowns and costly repair bills.
  • Keep the thermostat constant. Continuously adjusting the thermostat can be very inefficient. You can, however, lower the thermostat 2° to 3° during the day while you're away to save money. For every degree you lower the setting, you can expect to cut energy consumption by up to 3%-5%.
  • Flip the fan switch on your thermostat into the "fan on" mode when heating the house. This process will ensure that air is always being stirred to prevent hot and cold pockets from forming.
  • Set air vents on the second floor to receive approximately 45% of the heated air. This will help even out the temperature from the first to the second floor of your home. Remember, hot air rises.
  • Open the shades and curtains to help produce radiant heat of the sun.
  • Replace older windows with more efficient low-E glass. These windows help to reduce the heat loss of your homes HVAC system. Also, keep storm windows closed. This saves money and extends the life of your heating system.
  • Run humidifiers to help maintain the warm feeling in your home. Proper humidity can make the air feel up to 3° warmer, which means you can turn down your thermostat a couple of degrees and save money on your utility bills and still feel the warmth that we all love on those cold days in winter.
  • If you have an outdoor Heat Pump, clear or cut back shrubs and bushes. The sides of the unit require at least 12-18 inches of clearance for proper performance.
  • Keep fallen leaves, grass clippings, foliage, and other dirt and debris away from your outdoor Heat Pump unit. And, keep the indoor coils clean, following manufacturers' instructions.
  • Don't block vents or ducts inside the house to assure air flow in the home.
  • Caulk and install weather stripping around windows and doors (especially the attic) to close air gaps.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat to automatically increase or decrease during day and night to suit your family's lifestyle and reduce energy cost.
  • Keep windows and doors closed to help with the homes natural heat loss.


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