What Causes HVAC to Fail?

If you’re experiencing any HVAC problems, it’s important to address them right away. By taking care of your equipment with regular maintenance, you’ll help ensure that it lasts longer and works efficiently throughout the year.

One of the most common HVAC issues is capacitor failure. Capacitors are like rechargeable batteries that store energy for the compressor and fan motors.

Poor Installation

We don’t realize it, but our lives in the Boston area wouldn’t be as comfortable without the amazing air conditioning and warm, cozy heating that our HVAC system provides. But, just like any other technology, our HVAC equipment is not failsafe and can be subject to dangerous problems. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye out for warning signs of HVAC issues that shouldn’t be ignored and to have them addressed immediately by an experienced HVAC installation technician.

Inaccurate or incomplete installation is one of the most common reasons that new systems don’t deliver as much cooling and energy savings as expected. This can result in a number of serious issues, including leaky ductwork, low refrigerant levels, and restricted airflow.

You notice that you are getting a lot of dust in your house, or you put your hand over your vents and feel only a trickle of cool air flowing through them. This is a sign that your airflow is hindered by dirty filters, ductwork blockages, or furniture obstructing the vents.

An improperly secured outdoor unit will jar the equipment, leading to noises that will get louder and louder each time it goes through a cycle. Luckily, this is an easy fix: just make sure that the outdoor unit sits on a pad designed for its size, and don’t place it near any objects that may interfere with its operation. Also, don’t use duct tape to seal cracks or gaps in the ductwork! This will only cause the problem to recur. Leakage in the ductwork or condensation that drips or pools around the equipment can also lead to poor air quality and a breeding ground for harmful mold.

Leaking Ductwork

Your HVAC system isn’t just an outdoor and indoor unit – it also relies on a network of ducts to deliver heated or cooled air to different areas and rooms throughout the home. When ducts leak, your system must work harder to maintain its set temperature, and that can lead to expensive HVAC repair bills over time.

Leaking ducts usually occur at the joints where sections of ducts meet each other. These joints are naturally weak points because they have to stretch and bend as the ducts move around your home’s structure. This can cause the ducts to lose their seal, leading to air leakage. You can check for duct leaks by turning on your HVAC system and running your hands along the ducts. If you feel air escaping from the seams, a professional should be called to address the problem.

There are three types of duct leaks: supply, return, and equipment. Supply leaks are the most common and occur when a duct seal degrades, or the airflow from the equipment to the living spaces decreases. Return leaks happen when unconditioned air from places like attics and wall cavities gets sucked into the ventilation system and transported back to the equipment. This puts a heavier load on the system and prevents it from reconditioning air that’s already inside your house.

Fortunately, most duct leaks are preventable with regular maintenance and repairs. Keeping your ducts clean, properly insulated, and sealed will help them last longer and provide better service for the life of your HVAC system. It’s a good idea to schedule routine maintenance appointments with an HVAC company to keep your ductwork in top condition.

Dirty Filters

When your filter is dirty, the airflow is restricted, and many contaminants are allowed to pass through it into the ductwork and your home. These include dust, dirt, and allergens which can cause headaches, fatigue, and breathing problems, especially for asthma sufferers. In addition, the excess debris can create a mold problem in your home that can cause respiratory issues.

Dirty filters also put undue strain on the blower fan. Because the system relies on constant air recirculation, the blower fan has to work harder than usual to keep your home at its preferred temperature. This can cause your energy bills to rise and eventually wear down the fan motor, leading to system failure.

Lastly, dirty filters allow dirt to build up on other components of your system, such as the cooling coils and fan blades. This can result in a number of different issues, including frozen coils, which will prevent your system from maintaining indoor climate control and could lead to a system failure.

Finally, it’s important to note that your filters should always be properly sized. Always use filters that your system manufacturer recommends and ensure proper function and efficiency. If you are unsure what size filter to use, ask your local HVAC service professional to walk you through the process. It is also important to remember that changing your filter regularly can significantly reduce the amount of dirt in your ductwork. This can save you money on duct cleaning and help your HVAC system last longer. Don’t forget that a $7 filter is a small price to pay to extend the life of one of your largest financial investments.

Thermostat Issues

Over 76 million Americans use HVAC systems to help with the heating and cooling of their homes. These are complex pieces of machinery that require a lot of work to keep them running efficiently. But, like any other piece of equipment, they can experience issues that cause them to fail. Often, these issues can be easily fixed by following some basic troubleshooting tips.

The first thing you should do when your thermostat isn’t working properly is replace the batteries. It’s also a good idea to check the circuit breaker to make sure it didn’t trip. Another thing to look for is if the air filter is dirty. If it is, it will prevent the air from passing through and the system from operating.

Another common issue is that the thermostat may be set to the wrong settings. This could be due to a programmed schedule that has been forgotten, the incorrect unit type, or just a mistake that was made when setting it up. A professional can fix this by reprogramming the thermostat so that it works properly.

Lastly, the capacitors on the HVAC coils can fail due to a number of issues. They are responsible for providing energy to the compressor and fan motors. They store electricity like a rechargeable battery and then supply it in short bursts when the units need it. If the capacitors get too hot, they will stop functioning. The capacitors can be damaged by power surges as well.

Fortunately, this is unlikely to happen if you have a good capacitor protector. However, if it does, you should have it replaced immediately to avoid any further problems with your AC.

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues are common HVAC problems that can cause your system to fail. These issues range from a simple loose wire to an overheating compressor or aging capacitors. Often, these issues can be prevented with routine maintenance from an experienced professional technician.

Electrical problems in your HVAC system can be difficult to diagnose and fix on your own because of the high voltage electricity and refrigerant involved. However, if you notice your AC making unusual noises or constantly tripping the circuit breaker, these are likely signs of an electrical issue that needs to be addressed.

Loose or burned-out wiring can be a dangerous problem and lead to a fire in your home. If your fuses or breakers are frequently blowing, it’s time to call an electrician for a full inspection and repairs.

Capacitors are a key part of your air conditioning, as they store energy and send jolts to the fan and compressor. When they start to fail, the AC will shut down, as it won’t be able to start without these jolts of power. When these components are swollen, which is caused by the conductive electrolyte breaking down, it’s a sign that they need to be replaced.

Clogged or dirty filters restrict airflow, causing your HVAC system to work harder and increase your utility bills. Changing your filter monthly is the best way to prevent this issue. Dirty filters also cause the evaporator coil to freeze up, which causes your system to stop working. A clogged or dirty filter is the most common HVAC problem and can easily be avoided with routine maintenance.

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