Heating & Cooling: Do It Yourself Troubleshooting Tips

When the air conditioner is blowing out warm air or the furnace isn't turning on, how do you know when it is time to call a repair service technician? The following do-it-yourself heating and air conditioning troubleshooting tips can help you make a sound decision.

  • Troubleshoot the Problem. Home equipment may stop working for a variety of reasons, and often the solution can be very simple. First, consult the owner’s manual for the troubleshooting section. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, check the manufacturer’s website or try a website like www.consumerreports.com for a list of manufacturer’s contact information.
  • Follow the Recommendations. If the appliance issue matches the troubleshooting guide, and you are comfortable with the task, follow the recommendations provided.
  • Call a Service Professional. If the recommendation did not correct the issue, or if the task is beyond your comfort level, call a service professional to make the heating or air conditioning repair. A new HVAC system may cost thousands of dollars, so spending around $100 on a service call for a proper diagnosis and accurate estimate may make economic sense.

Cooling System Tips

If your central air conditioning isn’t performing up to par or isn’t performing at all, here are some easy troubleshooting tips that you can do (if you feel comfortable) before contacting BGE HOME for a service call.

Problem: Troubleshooting Tips:
The compressor
doesn’t turn on…
  • Check the thermostat to ensure it is in the “Cool” mode.
  • Check to ensure the outside unit is not covered or blocked.
  • Check the fuse or breaker to ensure it is in the “On” position.
  • Check the outside disconnect switch to ensure it is in the “On” position.
  • Check that the furnace blower motor is running (the furnace blower will run in “Cool” mode). If not, check the on / off switch at the furnace is in the “On” position.
  • Call BGE HOME, it could be a more technical issue.
The air conditioner
runs, but isn’t cool…
  • Clear any obstructions from the vents to maximize circulation.
  • Check the air filter to make sure it is clean; dirty filters will slow air flow.
  • Check the condenser coils. For outside coils, turn the unit off, clear out the leaves or debris, and then spray the coils with water at a low pressure. For inside coils, brush and vacuum the coils until clean.
  • Call BGE HOME, it could be a refrigerant issue.
The air conditioner continuously runs…
  • Move any heat-generating devices away from your thermostat; they may cause your system to cool unnecessarily.

Getting Ready for the Season: Central Air Conditioner Tips

Before turning on your central air conditioning unit every year, below are some basic maintenance tips to ensure your air conditioning season gets off to a good start.

  • Be sure that the condensing unit located outside is not covered up and is clear of brush. The unit needs to draw air into the system to cool inside, but the process is hindered if it cannot pull enough air. Clean obvious obstructions such as newspaper, leaves, etc. from around the exterior of the unit.
  • Turn the air conditioner on for a few minutes now, before you need it. That way if a problem is found, you’ll have enough time to schedule a service call to have a BGE HOME professional come to fix it.
  • Change the filters regularly. Dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing efficiency and worse case, can cause the evaporator to ice up. Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced; electrostatic or electronic filters need to be cleaned according to manufacturer specifications.
  • Be sure all access panels are secure, with all the screws in place.
  • Be sure the thermostat is set in the cooling mode. Just setting the dial below room temperature will not activate the air conditioning if it is set in the heat mode.
  • Schedule a cooling system inspection with BGE HOME. Our comprehensive 15-point cooling system inspection will ensure your air conditioning system is ready for the season.

A thoroughly cleaned air conditioning unit will operate at top efficiency. However, homeowners are strongly encouraged to be extremely cautious when cleaning an outside unit, as the use of a hose and water has the very serious risk of electrical shock and possible shorting of electrical components.

Heating System Tips

If your furnace or boiler isn’t performing up to par or isn’t performing at all, here are some easy troubleshooting tips that you can do (if you feel comfortable) before contacting BGE HOME for a service call.

Problem: Troubleshooting Tips:
The furnace doesn’t
turn on…
  • Check the thermostat to ensure it is in the “Heat” mode.
  • Check the temperature setting is above the current indoor temperature.
  • Check the fuse or breaker to ensure it is in the “On” position.
  • Check the on / off switch at the furnace, or “Emergency” switch, is in the “On” position.
  • Call BGE HOME, it could be a more technical issue.
The furnace runs, but
isn’t warm…
  • Clear any obstructions from the vents to maximize circulation.
  • Check the air filter to make sure it is clean; dirty filters will slow air flow.
  • Call BGE HOME, it could be a more technical issue.
The furnace continuously shuts off…
  • Move any heat-generating devices away from your thermostat; they may cause your system to shut off.

Getting Ready for the Season: Furnace Tips

Before turning on your furnace unit every year, below are some basic maintenance tips to ensure your heating season gets off to a good start.

  • Be sure that the indoor unit is not blocked or obstructed. The unit needs to draw air into the system, so any obstructions could hinder the operation of the unit.
  • Turn the furnace on for a few minutes now, before you need it. That way if a problem is found, you’ll have enough time to schedule a service call to have a BGE HOME professional come to fix it.
  • Change the filters regularly. Dirty filters restrict air flow, reducing efficiency and can cause the system to work harder. Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced; electrostatic or electronic filters need to be cleaned according to manufacturer specifications.
  • Be sure the thermostat is set in the heating mode. Just setting the dial above room temperature will not activate the furnace if it is set in the cool mode.
  • Schedule a heating system inspection with BGE HOME. Our comprehensive 13-point heating system inspection will ensure your heating system is ready for the season.

Heating & Cooling System Accessory Tips

Do It Yourself Air Cleaner Tips:

  • Change the filter/media in your air cleaner at least once per year.
  • Choose an air cleaner that uses a HEPA filter system. HEPA filters remove even extremely small particles from the air you breathe.

Do It Yourself Humidifier Tips:

  • Change the water pads in your humidifier unit at least once per year, either at the beginning or the end of the heating season.
  • Turn your humidifier on in heating season and off during cooling season (if applicable).
  • During extremely cold weather, your home loses humidity and can drop to as low as 5%. Optimal comfort range for humidity levels in your home is 40-55%.
  • If you notice condensation on the inside of your windows, the humidity setting may be too high, turn it down a couple notches.

Do It Yourself Carbon Monoxide Detector Tips:

  • Push the Test button at least once a month on your CO Detector Alarm to ensure it is functioning properly.
  • Manufacturers recommend having the CO Detector checked annually by a professional.

Duct Cleaning Tips:

  • Ducts should be cleaned at least every five years, or as necessary to improve the quality of the air in your home and prolong the life of your heating and air conditioning equipment.
Request an Estimate
Lorem ipsum
quick tools