HVAC Troubleshooting Tips That Every Homeowner Should Know

It’s the middle of a hot summer day, and you’re sitting in your living room, trying to enjoy yourself. You’ve got the air conditioning on full blast, but it needs fixing. Before long, your home feels like an oven. If only you could do something about it. Well, there is something you can do: learn how your heating and cooling system works so that you can identify the issue when things go wrong. The next time your air conditioner gives you problems in the middle of summer or your heater fails during a winter night (or both), here are some tips for troubleshooting problems with HVAC systems:

A heating and cooling system isn’t something most of us think about until it stops working.

You need to become more familiar with the workings of your heating and cooling system, or it can be difficult to diagnose problems. But don’t worry—we’ve got some tips for you.

  • Check the thermostat’s settings, ensuring it’s on and set to a comfortable temperature for the time of year. If it is, check all connections from the thermostat to the HVAC unit; make sure nothing is loose or broken.
  • The next step is to inspect filters; if they’re dirty, change them or clean them as per the manufacturer’s instruction
  • You should also check that ductwork isn’t clogged. This will cause reduced airflow through your system, leading to overheating during summer months or freezing temperatures during winter ones—it might just be one problem causing all these issues.

Understanding how your system works will help you understand what’s wrong if it does stop working.

To troubleshoot your HVAC system, you need to know what happens when it’s turned on and off.

When the thermostat is set to heat or cool, it turns on the blower motor so that hot or cold outdoor air can enter the home through ducts. At this point, your cooling or heating components will kick on, which will condition the air and blow that air throughout your home. The blower motor then runs long enough to bring the temperature to the degree that your thermostat is set to before shutting off again.

Learn to listen for clues.

You should listen to the sounds that the unit makes. If it sounds like something is wrong, then there probably is. If you’re not used to hearing this sound, it’s time to investigate further.

A “clanking” sound could be something minor, or it could cost you thousands in repairs.

If your air conditioner makes a “clanking” sound while it’s on, it could be something as simple as debris being struck by the fan or something more serious—and expensive.

If you hear a “clanking” sound from your air conditioning unit when the system is running, the first thing you will want to check is whether the compressor (which sits outside) has any loose parts. If it does, then this may be causing that rattling noise; if so, you’ll need to contact an HVAC technician for service. However, if there appear to be no loose parts and all of them are firmly secured with bolts and screws (and no signs of rust), something else is happening.

Several things can cause poor airflow.

When figuring out why your HVAC system isn’t working correctly, it’s essential first to rule out the most apparent problems. Here is a small list of things that can cause poor airflow:

  • Blocked return vents
  • Dirty filters
  • Blocked air ducts
  • Blocked registers (the part of the HVAC system where the air comes into your home)

Thermostats are more critical than they seem.

The thermostat is a critical component of your heating and cooling system, but it can be challenging to understand how it works and what you should do when problems arise. Here is a small list of tips for getting the most from your home’s heating and cooling system:

  • If you have a programmable or smart thermostat, set a schedule, so you’re comfortable all day long—not just at certain times. Your thermostat should be set to keep your home at an ideal temperature throughout the day and night. 
  • Check for accuracy by comparing data on two days with similar temperatures outside.
  • Troubleshoot common issues like low batteries, dirty sensors, or failed wires by following step-by-step instructions online (or hiring someone).

It may not be the blower motor, after all.

You might think that the blower motor is your problem if your unit isn’t blowing air, but it might not be. Before you replace this part, check to make sure:

  • The blower motor’s power source is working (the circuit breaker has not tripped).
  • The blower motor isn’t damaged (you can test this by wiggling the wires going into it once the power is off, of course). This includes checking for broken or disconnected wires.
  • No foreign objects are blocking airflow in front of the fan blades by getting lodged behind them.

Your outdoor unit needs maintenance too.

As with the indoor unit, this is best done during the spring when there is an upcoming need for air conditioning.

  • Clean the condenser coils and remove any debris from your evaporator coil. This will increase efficiency and prevent damage to your compressor.
  • Inspect and clean the fan blades and interior of the unit, if needed.
  • Check fan blades for cracks or breaks; this is especially important if they spin slowly or seem loose in their shafts—if left unchecked, these issues could lead to significant problems down the line.

Get familiar with your HVAC system to catch problems early on and tackle many common issues yourself.

To keep your heating and air system running properly, you need to understand how it works. If you know what’s wrong when the HVAC system starts acting up, you can help keep things running smoothly.

For example, if your air conditioning or furnace isn’t blowing as strongly as usual, it may be as simple as changing your filter. However, if the fan is not blowing, that may be a flipped breaker.

Thermostats govern all kinds of things within an HVAC system, including temperature settings; humidity control; fan speed control; air conditioning flow rates; dehumidification levels…even whether power gets shut off during peak times of day (which saves money on electricity costs). It is always a good idea to routinely check your thermostat to ensure it is operating correctly.


Hopefully, these tips have helped you to become more comfortable with your HVAC system. If your house has an older heating and cooling system, it’s essential to be aware of what could go wrong and how to repair it before it becomes a significant issue. If you have questions about your system, don’t hesitate to call in an expert, Honest Air!

Experiencing any of these problems or have other questions?

Call us today at 301-943-0833