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Common HVAC Issues and How to Fix Them

Your home’s HVAC unit is at the center of the comfort level of your household. Whether you need that cooling AC in the dead of July, or to crank up the heat because of a January cold snap, you rely on your system year-round for proper indoor temperature.

However, an air conditioning or furnace problem can arise that will have a unit struggling to operate. Here are some common HVAC issues that may arise and a few potential ways to troubleshoot the issue.

Faulty Equipment


One of the most common furnace woes is brought on by aging or faulty equipment that will require a technician to come in to inspect and repair. There are two ways that homeowners are tipped off to any breakdown in their equipment: Odor and sound.

If you have a burning smell that strikes everything you turn your HVAC system on, the AC or furnace could be overheating from overuse. This can also be because of dust clogging a heating system, brought on by a dirty filter or broken down blower motor. Perhaps the greatest red flag is a rotten egg smell. The possible cause of this is a gas leak, brought on by a crack in the burner creating a danger for your household.

As for sounds, a clanking or scraping sound could be a disruption for the blower or fans within the HVAC system. You may have also heard a rattling beyond the usual rattling you get when you first turn on your furnace for the winter or your air conditioner for the summer. That rattling can be the result of loose metal ducts or, in some rare cases, the presence of an animal within the system that is leading to a malfunctioning furnace.

Electrical Glitches


Just like any appliance in your household, your HVAC system will deal with normal wear. However, electrical issues are among the common furnace problems even for newer systems. Sometimes a fuse can be blown, halting the use of your furnace. This is luckily a quick fix for homeowners, who can just check their circuit breaker to reset the system. It’s best to look around your household to see what you can unplug, as there’s a good chance that an overload of your household wiring could trip the circuit breaker once more.

There could also be an electrical glitch within your thermostat. Open your thermostat to check for any dust or gunk that has accrued on the wiring that may be causing the malfunction. If it’s a faulty thermostat, consider investing in a programmable thermostat as a replacement. This will afford you the ability to control when your furnace or air conditioner is triggered on, keeping it from running all day long and saving you on your energy costs in the long run.

Ductwork Blockage and Wear


If you’re noticing airflow problems that are keeping heat or air conditioning from properly making it through the vents, the possible cause is something clogging your ductwork. Dust and other allergens can accrue overtime near the end of ducts, and only buildup over time without regular maintenance. It’s recommended to bring in an HVAC technician at least once or twice a year to look through your system to make sure it’s operating at peak performance. This could include cleaning out ducts, as well as switching out dirty filters.

If you notice your household isn’t heating up as well as it used to, the first thing you should do is look for any leaks or cracks in the ductwork. While you can put some metal-sided duct tape on for a quick fix, this is an important repair that’s a good idea to repair as soon as you can. This will put less pressure on your HVAC unit in the long term.