Troubleshooting HVAC Failures

Troubleshooting HVAC Failures

An HVAC system is a vital part of any home or business. But it works best with a supporting cast of a well-programmed thermostat and sealed ductwork.


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A working, efficient HVAC system is the key to a comfortable home. However, like any system it can run into some problems from time to time. One issue homeowners often deal with is hot and cold spots. Luckily, these temperature inconsistencies aren’t always a sign of HVAC failure and can often be resolved with a few simple steps.

The first thing to check is whether or not the air vents are obstructed by items such as long window treatments, furniture, or bunched up area rugs. This can cause a significant reduction in airflow and lead to temperature inconsistencies. A clogged air filter also prevents a system from delivering optimal airflow and should be regularly replaced to maintain high levels of air quality.

Poor ductwork can also contribute to hot and cold spots. Over time, the seals between ductwork segments can wear out and allow air to leak out. This creates imbalanced temperatures that make it harder for the system to reach all areas of the home evenly.

Other factors can influence how well a home is heated or cooled, including its design and the number of floors. Homes with tall ceilings may have trouble keeping the lower rooms cool because heat rises. Likewise, open floor plans with multiple rooms can be difficult to heat and cool evenly.

A faulty thermostat can also trigger temperature inconsistencies. These can be caused by a variety of issues, including inaccurate sensors that cause the system to work harder than needed or simply sending incorrect signals that the house is hotter or colder than it really is.

If you suspect a faulty thermostat is the culprit, a professional will be able to help diagnose and repair the problem. Alternatively, if the system itself is to blame for uneven temperatures, an expert can recommend the best solution for the situation.

A good place to start is by having a professional measure the airflow and insulation levels in a home and then develop a plan to solve the issue. This can range from extending and modifying a home’s ductwork to installing a new HVAC system with a zoning feature that helps to control temperatures by zone.

Leaky Ducts

Duct leaks rob your home of conditioned air and force HVAC equipment to work harder than it should. In addition, a leaky duct system creates dirt and debris in the airflow and expedites normal wear on your heating and cooling equipment.

A visual inspection of your ducts can help you identify problem areas. Look for rust, loose joints, and damaged or dislodged insulation. If you see any of these, mark the area with a grease pencil or some other easy-to-remember marker.

Most duct leaks occur at joints, where the ducts meet or change direction. When these areas aren’t sealed properly or have shifted over time, air can escape. This is especially common in attics and crawlspaces, where ducts are often located. You can also spot a leaking duct by listening for hissing sounds coming from the vents. Leaking ducts can also be spotted by checking your energy bills. If you notice that your summer and winter energy bills are higher than usual, this is a good sign that you have a leaking duct.

Supply ducts usually leak more than return ducts. This is because the conditioned air being delivered to rooms in your home passes through a series of ducts before reaching the living spaces. Any leaking spots in the ductwork, especially at joints or near vents, will result in some of that air being lost to unconditioned spaces.

The most common cause of leaks in the supply ductwork is improper installation and/or damaged or dislodged insulation. This can cause the metal ducting to be punctured or to develop gaps and tears. It’s also common for loose joints, ill-fitting vent covers and insufficiently tightened screws to cause air leakage.

Return duct leaks are caused by a pressure differential between the air inside the ducts and the surrounding air. The resulting negative pressure can cause the ducts to be sucked into a vacuum or for the conditioned air to be dispersed into unconditioned spaces. This strains your HVAC equipment because it’s not reconditioning conditioned air but rather conditioning unconditioned outdoor air. A visual inspection can help you identify a duct leak, but if you suspect that you have more than the recommended 2% leakage, you’ll need to call in a professional. An experienced HVAC technician can use a duct leakage detector or a flow hood to identify leaking ducts beyond what you can see with a visual inspection.

Mold & Mildew Growth

Mold is a common problem found in homes and businesses. It grows best in damp environments where there is plenty of food for it, such as dust or organic debris. Moisture and humidity are also the primary causes of mold in HVAC systems. If there is mold inside your system, the spores can circulate throughout your home or business, spreading the mold to other parts of the building.

Air ducts are one of the most popular places for mold to grow in an HVAC system. The evaporator coil and drain pan are also commonly affected by mold. The spores can then spread to other areas in your home or business through the air vents. If you notice a musty or earthy smell that persists, particularly around your vents and when your HVAC is running, it’s likely a sign of a mold infestation in your air ducts.

There are four things that mold needs to grow: moisture, a food source, oxygen and a suitable temperature range. When your HVAC is running, it often pumps cold air through the air ducts, which may cause condensation in some areas. This condensation can lead to water accumulating in the evaporator coil and drip pan. If you have a dehumidifier and keep the humidity levels in your home or office low, mold growth is less likely to occur in your air conditioning unit.

Leaks are another common reason for HVAC-related mold problems. Small leaks in ductwork or in the system’s air handler and compressor can create the perfect environment for mold to grow. Leaks are more likely to occur in older ductwork, where the seals have deteriorated over time.

If you suspect a leak in your air conditioner, have it checked by a professional immediately. They can inspect and repair the leak, preventing further damage to your unit and preventing mold from growing in your ducts.

Low Airflow

If you’ve changed your AC settings and put your hand in front of your vents but feel weak airflow, it could be an indication that there’s a problem with the airflow through your HVAC system. Weak airflow makes it hard for your system to keep up with the temperature in the room and impedes on its ability to circulate healthy indoor air.

The first step to finding a solution is to make sure your vents and registers aren’t blocked by furniture or drapes. You should also check your return vents to see if they’re open. If they are closed, you should open them to get the airflow flowing again.

Another common cause of low airflow is clogged or dirty evaporator coils, which are the heating and cooling coils in your system. These can be difficult to clean without the proper tools and techniques. However, if they aren’t cleaned regularly, they can restrict airflow and lead to hot or cold spots in the room.

You may also find that your ductwork is either too small or poorly designed. A professional can help you determine if your ducts are the right size for your home, based on a Manual J load calculation and other factors like square footage, ceiling height, insulation type, climate in your area and other factors.

Your thermostat can be a culprit of poor airflow as well. If it’s not calibrated correctly, or if the batteries are low, it can prevent the fan from running when needed. This can also cause the system to short cycle, causing it to overwork and wear out faster.

When a professional examines your airflow, they’ll be able to determine what’s going on and recommend the best solution. For example, if your air conditioner is too large for the size of your house and it’s continually overworking, they can help you install new ductwork and improve airflow to create a more comfortable environment. They can also fix issues with leaking ducts and other underlying problems. For the best results, you should have a professional tune-up done each year to ensure your HVAC system is working properly.

How to Go About HVAC Installation

How to Go About HVAC Installation

Installing an HVAC unit can be disruptive, but HVAC Lexington makes the process go smoothly. Homeowners should lay down drop cloths to protect flooring and move household items near work areas to a safe place.

Poor airflow can lead to heating and cooling problems, so homeowners should consider installing new insulation.


Many factors can affect the cost of a new HVAC system. Some of these include the type of system you choose, installation method, and other upgrades or add-ons. You can save money by getting multiple estimates and asking lots of questions. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t want to just look for the lowest price. You want to find a contractor who will do the best work for the right price.

The size of your home and the energy efficiency of your existing system can also play a role in the cost of HVAC replacement. A larger home will need a more powerful system to keep the air cool and heated. Also, if your home isn’t properly insulated or air sealed, it may need to be re-sealed and insulated in order to run efficiently.

You should also consider whether you need to install ductwork as part of your HVAC replacement project. If you do, the total project costs will be higher than if you don’t. This is because ductwork is expensive to install, and it can be challenging to fit it in certain homes.

Other factors that can impact the cost of your HVAC replacement project are installation labor rates, the brand and model of your new unit, and any special requirements you have for your HVAC system. For example, if you have pets or children who suffer from allergies, you may need to upgrade your filtration systems in order to provide healthier indoor air.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some contractors will charge more for their services than others. This is because some HVAC companies spend a large portion of their budget on marketing and salesperson salaries. This can increase your cost by as much as 30%.

There are also several financing options available for homeowners looking to replace their aging or broken-down HVAC system. One option is a home equity loan, which allows homeowners to borrow against the value of their home. This type of loan typically has low but variable interest rates and is tax-deductible. However, you should be aware that there are fees associated with this type of loan, so be sure to ask about them before you sign a contract.

The energy efficiency of HVAC systems is a major factor in the overall cost of heating and cooling. Ideally, an efficient system will reduce both the utility bill and carbon footprint. It will also increase a home’s value and resale price. The best way to achieve a high level of energy efficiency is through the use of energy-efficient equipment and properly maintaining the system.

The first step in maximizing your HVAC system’s energy efficiency is to choose the right size unit. An oversized unit will waste energy and overheat, while an undersized one will struggle to maintain temperature. A professional will perform a load calculation to determine the exact size needed for your space.

Another way to improve energy efficiency is to install a programmable thermostat. It will allow you to set your desired temperature and the HVAC system will run at a lower speed until it reaches that temperature. In addition, you should ensure that furniture and curtains are not blocking air vents or ductwork.

When purchasing a new HVAC system, look for the highest Energy Star rating possible. This will indicate how much more efficient it is than other models of the same size. The higher the rating, the more money you will save on your utility bills. It’s important to remember that a higher SEER rating doesn’t necessarily mean a more expensive model. The difference in ratings is based on how the system operates, seasonal differences, and other factors.

It is also worth noting that the energy consumption of a HVAC system is largely determined by its installation method and usage. The equipment itself may be rated highly, but if it’s poorly installed or used improperly, then the system will not work efficiently. Moreover, HVAC systems need to be inspected regularly by a qualified technician in order to optimize their performance and energy efficiency.

A well-maintained and conditioned HVAC system can reduce the total energy costs of a building by up to 50%. These savings can be significant and help companies manage their financial and environmental risks. In addition to reducing the operating costs of an HVAC system, regular maintenance can also extend its lifespan and improve its performance.

The HVAC installation process involves several steps, from determining the right size unit to installing ductwork. A licensed professional should be able to answer all your questions and provide a detailed quote before the work begins. They will also inspect the unit after completion and provide a warranty.

During the initial consultation, an HVAC technician will measure your space and determine the best location for the outdoor unit. They will then create an opening, install insulation, and connect refrigerant lines to the indoor unit. Finally, they will test the system and perform a comprehensive inspection.

When hiring a professional, ask about their experience and education. They should be licensed, certified, and have a good reputation for quality workmanship. Also, ask about their billing methods and whether they offer a warranty on their services.

If you’re replacing an old system, a technician will evaluate your space and layout to determine the correct size unit for your home or office. An oversized unit can cause short cycling, which reduces efficiency and leads to energy waste. On the other hand, an undersized unit can struggle to maintain temperature.

Your HVAC technician will also check the evaporator coil, which is usually located above the furnace. If it’s difficult to get to, additional costs may be incurred. In addition, your installer will need to disconnect the service power supply from the existing electrical panel, and mount a new disconnect box.

Before the actual work begins, your contractor will lay drop cloths to protect flooring and other household items from dust and debris. They’ll also move furniture and other large household items to a safe location away from the work area. If you have pets or young children, keep them away from the work area as well.

Ductwork is often installed after electrical components, as this prevents conflicts between the two systems. It’s important to choose a qualified technician who has extensive experience with ductwork and will take care of your property during the installation process.

During the installation, your HVAC technician will place a metering device on the evaporator coil to check its charge level. This will help them ensure the coil is charged correctly, which maximizes energy efficiency and avoids premature failure of the system. They’ll also use a duct blower to verify that the airflow is properly distributed.

Purchasing an HVAC system is a big investment, and you want to be sure that it will last as long as possible. That’s where a warranty comes in. There are two types of warranties available for new systems: a manufacturer’s parts warranty and a contractor’s labor warranty. Each type of warranty has different terms and conditions, so it’s important to understand what each one covers.

Parts warranties typically only cover repairs or replacement of faulty components. The warranty period may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but a common warranty is 10 years. A home warranty is a separate service contract that provides coverage beyond the manufacturer’s parts warranty. It is also worth noting that most manufacturers require proof of maintenance to keep a parts warranty valid, and failing to maintain your equipment could invalidate the warranty.

Many manufacturers also limit their parts warranty coverage to a single repair visit, so you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty to keep your system covered after the initial repairs are completed. Keeping a paper trail of all maintenance visits is crucial to maintaining your warranty, so save all documentation from each service and tune-up.

Some homeowners will conduct do-it-yourself repairs in an effort to save money or to improve their understanding of how their HVAC system works. However, this can be dangerous for several reasons. First, the manufacturer’s warranty is usually voided if you attempt to perform advanced tasks such as replacing or removing parts. Second, some of these DIY jobs can lead to faulty or damaged parts.

The best way to avoid these problems is to work with an HVAC company that offers a labor warranty and is willing to stand by their work. These companies often receive training from the manufacturers of their products and are knowledgeable about all the latest advances in HVAC technology.

You should also make sure that you register your warranty with the manufacturer when it’s installed. This can help speed up the process of getting repairs or replacements. Generally, a registration form will ask for information such as the serial number of the unit and the address of your home.