No customer wants to spend more time on a service call than is absolutely necessary. Here’s a list of items you need to go through before placing a call with your HVAC contractor of choice.
Check the Thermostat
Before purchasing a new thermostat, consider the following:
- Is your thermostat set to the proper mode (Heat, Cool, or Auto)?
- Is the fan switch set to Auto? Is the fan set for continuous operation?
- Is the temperature setting what you want it to be?
- If it’s a programmable thermostat, is it off? In a setback scheduled period?
A thermostat purchased in a retail store isn’t the same as a professional model. You could wind up buying the wrong thermostat and burning out transformers or blowing fuses! Retail versions have a lesser warranty – and they don’t feature professional advice specific to your system like you’ll get from one of our experienced technicians.
Check the Batteries
Dead thermostat batteries can be overlooked very easily. Typically, thermostats are powered by the HVAC system transformer. Battery backup is in place in case of a power outage. However, some thermostats operate on batteries. If no numbers show on the thermostat screen, change the batteries.
If your thermostat is battery-powered, ask our technician to install a power wire between the thermostat and the AC system.
Check the Condensate Drain
Issues with the condensate drain can be very common, particularly if it runs under the floor. Algae build-up and block the flow. Algae can be cleared by vacuuming out the drain line with a wet/dry shop vacuum.
If your system is equipped with a removable float switch, pour a cup of algaecide in the access point two times per month. Be sure that the algaecide goes down the drain and doesn’t back up into the AC unit. If the problem occurs again, bring us in to help.
Check the Air Filter
If your AC or heating system isn’t operating properly, the problem could be a dirty or clogged air filter. You should check and replace them regularly. High-efficiency filters with dimensions that are too small can lead to air-flow problems. If that’s the case, use a less efficient filter.
When you get your electric bill, check your filters. Change or clean them if they show signs of dirt and/or dust. If you wait another month before checking your filter, it will be twice as dirty.
If you have pets, carpet, or live in a particularly dirty or dusty area, you may want to opt for more aggressive filtration and air quality measures.
Check the Circuit Breakers
Circuit breakers and switches can be turned off accidentally when working in the electric panel. This is easy to miss, too. Even a simple power interruption can trip a breaker. Before booking one of our technicians, check your circuit breakers first.
A circuit breaker may be in the garage, hallway, storage room, or utility closet.
When checking it, push the circuit breaker switch hard to the off position before turning it back on. If it feels spongy or won’t go to the on position, schedule service.
Adjust the Air Vents
Vents are an important part of any cooling and heating system. Check vents, ducts, and grills for blockages that may be causing air-flow issues.
To avoid blocking the airflow, don’t store anything in front of the vents.
Check for Power Outages
If you rely on natural lighting during the day to cut down on energy costs, you may not realize the power is off. Before calling for service, check the electric meter. Most electric meters are digital. If it’s black, the power is out. Check with neighbors – power usually goes out in large areas.
Check the Outside Unit
Airflow to the outside unit is critical. This is where heat exchange occurs. Debris like leaves and branches can be sucked onto the coil surface and suffocate the unit. Clean the unit by removing large debris by hand and using a garden hose to rinse the coil. Do this with the power shut off.
Maintain a three-foot minimum radius free of debris around the unit for good airflow. This can eliminate operational problems, too. Keep shrubs trimmed back. Don’t put in a fence or wall too close to the unit.
Check for Frost or Ice
Check the indoor and outdoor units for ice or frost. This may appear where the pipes enter the unit. Systems working property won’t be iced or frosted. Setting the AC system at a low temperature will also do the job in a charged system.
Turn the unit off at the thermostat, but turn the fan switch on to thaw out the system. It might take two to four hours. DO NOT continue to run your system if freezing continues. The ice can damage the coil and cause leaks. Once thawed out and turned back on, with no air restrictions, it will continue cooling. If it continues to freeze, call us for professional help.
Watch Out for Wires
Lawn equipment and wildlife may be responsible for damaged wiring to your unit. If the fuse or transformer isn’t burned out, and you are good at repairs, turn the power off and splice the wires back together.
Discourage wildlife gathering around your AC equipment or under your house. Install conduit or some other form of protection over the thermostat wire. If you are uncomfortable splicing wires, call us.
Employ Common Sense
On average, there is a 20-degree temperature difference between the inside and the outside of your property. If temperatures are 100 degrees and higher, the unit may struggle to maintain cooler temperatures indoors.
When the weather is extremely hot, keep the curtains and blinds on the west side of the house closed to keep the sun from heating up the rooms. This simple fix can add years to the life and efficiency of your heating and cooling system.
For more information and direct assistance, please contact Charles M. Watts Air Conditioning, Inc and schedule an appointment. Emergency services and financing options are available!