Have you ever had your air conditioner just quit in the middle of the day during a brutally hot summer? It’s something you don’t forget very quickly. You may call every possible HVAC technician and beg someone, anyone, to come as soon as they can. You need them to do some serious HVAC troubleshooting on your air conditioner. And you swear this will never happen again.
Or maybe it’s the dead of winter. You and your team are working late on a deadline you have to meet. Then… your heater decides to take a break with no end in sight. What do you do? What should you have done before now to prepare for a situation like this? What are some HVAC troubleshooting skills you need to know?
You’ve most likely been in one of these situations, or at least one like it. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know some things to do about it? Every business owner should learn a few basic skills and HVAC troubleshooting ideas regarding their HVAC system and problems that may arise.
When you find your heating or cooling is not working correctly, you may have problems getting a tech out to fix it quickly, depending on how busy they are with other service calls. So let’s look at some things you can try yourself. Maybe, you’ll be able to get your system up and running before you have to call a tech, saving you time, money, and a whole lot of sweating!
Check Age of Equipment
Unfortunately, all HVAC systems only last so long. Sooner or later, parts of your HVAC system will begin to fail. This is why checking on the age of your equipment and keeping track of it is crucial. When you know the age of your equipment, you will see when you need to plan for some extensive replacements, although it can sometimes be a surprise.
Consistently maintaining your commercial HVAC system and keeping up on any repairs that may be needed will keep your system operating the way it should much longer.
Not only will your HVAC unit last longer, but you can avoid more costly repairs with regular maintenance of your equipment. Plus, you’ll have someone to call on with any HVAC troubleshooting questions if the need arises.
Clean the Condenser
The condenser in your air conditioner has one job, to push the hot air that’s taken out of your commercial building to the outside. The condenser is part of the outdoor unit on your system and is susceptible to all kinds of weather, dirt, and more.
When too much dirt and other debris is collected on the condenser coils, the heat isn’t transferred outside as well as it should. As a result, the air will not be near as cold as it should be, and your cooling system will experience more wear and tear than it usually would if it were clean and working correctly.
This can quickly be taken care of by business owners that know what to look for and have some basic HVAC troubleshooting know-how. Buying some condenser cleaner at your local home improvement store and using water from your garden hose will clean it up quickly so that your condenser works appropriately again and continues to cool your place of business once more.
Commercial (and residential) air filters should be changed quite regularly. During the warmer months of the year especially, you can plan on replacing filters monthly. However, depending on what kind of operation your business entails, you may want to keep that schedule up year around.
If you have a dirty filter, the air cannot get through as easily, and eventually, your air conditioning unit and/or furnace will overheat, and you won’t feel that warm or cold air inside like you want. This is probably the most basic HVAC troubleshooting habit to make, but it’s an important one!
Check the Breaker
If a dirty filter or something else is blocking the airflow of your HVAC system, the blower in your unit will have to work harder and longer than usual and eventually end up tripping the circuit breaker.
One of the first HVAC troubleshooting ideas to try when your system doesn’t seem to be working as expected is to check your circuit breaker. If the breaker has been tripped, you know that something needs to be cleaned so you can turn on your system and get that air moving again.
Replace Thermostat Batteries
One of the simple reasons your air conditioner may be having an issue or not turning on at all is your thermostat. It may not be working because it is old and needs to be replaced. Or it could be because the batteries need to be changed.
If you know the batteries are fine, try to set the thermostat as low as it can go to see if it makes your AC turn on. This quick HVAC troubleshooting trick is an easy one! If it doesn’t kick on, you probably need to replace it, especially if it’s an old thermostat.
Most manufacturers recommend changing out the batteries in a commercial thermostat once a year, but if you notice that battery light appearing on your digital display (if you have one), then change it sooner. Make sure to check the thermostat!
Prevention Over Reaction
If you find that your air conditioner isn’t blowing quite as cold as usual or if it starts to make strange noises, trying out your new HVAC troubleshooting skills can come into play. Even better, though, make sure you are preventing problems in the first place by hiring a professional to do regular maintenance on your equipment. If this is done, the chances of something big happening are reduced dramatically. Leaving you to get the work done that you need to in the most optimal environment.