Simple Fixes for 6 Common HVAC Problems

HVAC unitAre you facing issues with your HVAC? Before you throw something at it in frustration, you need to check out these simple fixes!

Top Hint – Clean and replace the air filters regularly. Dirty, clogged or damaged air filters reduce air flow, which makes your HVAC system work harder. They can also allow dirt to enter your system, causing further damage.

Here are six of the most common HVAC complaints, and easy solutions for them:

  1. Abnormally High Energy Bills – If utility bills are through the roof, an inefficient HVAC system could be to blame. Clogged filters cause poor performance, but so do choked condensing coils in outdoor units (cooling fins tend to gather dirt and debris).

Solution – Clean/replace the air filters, consider installing a programmable thermostat to reduce running costs and schedule a professional tune up.

  1. AC or Condenser Doesn’t Kick On – If your unit doesn’t work at all or if the condenser isn’t running then power may not be reaching it. The culprit could be a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, faulty motor or compressor, or even a thermostat that’s incorrectly set.

Solution – Check if the unit is properly plugged in. Inspect the fuses, circuit breakers and thermostat battery, and replace faulty ones. Set the unit to “cool” or “AC”, and try lowering the temperature by 5 degrees to see if it kicks on. If it still doesn’t, call a professional to check the compressor/motor.

  1. Inadequate Cooling – Decrease in cool air can occur due to clogged filters, restricted air flow around outdoor units, improperly-insulated refrigerant lines, dirty condensers/evaporators or improper thermostat performance.

Solution – Check the thermostat and lower it a few degrees. Clean/replace the air filters and clear any debris or plants around the condenser and outdoor unit. Create shade around the outdoor unit if possible. Replace worn out insulation, and consider adding more around refrigerant lines.

  1. Water Drips or Leaks – Most furnaces and ACs generate condensation, which collects in a pan and flows out through a drain, tube or sump basin. If water accumulates in the unit or leaks into the walls/ceiling, the condensate drain line might be restricted or disconnected.

Solution – Check for crimps, clogs and disconnections in the tube, and whether the pump for the sump basin is working. Reconnect or replace the drain line if it’s loose, and clean any blockages.

  1. Strange Noises – Most HVAC systems conduct sound easily, especially noises from heating/cooling units transferred through the metal ductwork. Rattles, buzzes and ticking noises could be caused by loose screws or metal flaps in the ductwork, but could also signal faulty motors or fan blades.

Solution – Check for loose screws and flaps, and lubricate moving parts. Install flexible insulation ductwork to reduce the noise between heating/cooling systems and metal ducts. For damaged motors/fan blades, you’ll need professional repairs.

  1. Unit Cycles On/Off Constantly – This happens due to blockages or dirt/debris in the condenser or a dirty evaporator unit.

Solution – Clean your entire unit and remove any obstructions around the condenser/evaporator. Ideally, you should call qualified HVAC professionals to clean and service your unit on a regular basis.

Your HVAC system requires regular care and attention to work efficiently. Set up a regular maintenance and repair schedule with an air conditioning service company.

The Comerford family has been servicing the heating and air conditioning needs of clients in Northern California for over 40 years. For more information:



  1. I never knew that a high energy bill is usually caused by clogged filters! My bill has been a little higher over the past few months and I haven’t been able to figure out why. I’ll try replacing the filters and see if there is an improvement! Thanks for the tips.

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