Common HVAC Problems


Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, identified as HVAC or H-Vac refers to the mechanical systems that are installed within your home to heat, vent and cool the interior environment.

Anyone who has been in the construction industry for any length of time, remembers the times when the term HVAC was only used in the commercial segment of the industry.  No one in the residential market, had anything but heating within their residential space, if they were lucky, and had no idea what HVAC meant, or why they should even care.

Now,with the economy where it is, and more individuals involved in building, home ownership, and family development, the term has taken on a totally new importance within the residential marketplace.

HVAC or for those really into the “ know “ H-Vac, is very important, and something that we all must be acquainted with.

As with anything in the residential construction industry, the more expensive, and the more complicated becomes the popular “ must have “ , therefore some of the more advanced and complicated HVAC systems are being introduced and used.

Let’s break down each element of this HVAC identification.

H=Heat / this has been an element of all residential structures for all time.  Heat has been the inherent characteristic to any successful and comfortable accommodation.  You need to feel warmth and comfort, therefore heat. Originally this could be accomplished by a wood fire, coal fire, or any other type of fire that produces heat.  Heating has now advanced to the use of various different fuels to make this heat, electricity to create a heated element or even the reverse of a refrigerator, the use of a medium that condenses and liquifies, therefore the heat pump concept.  In all cases, the need for some type of energy will be required to produce the H in HVAC, equaling Heat. In northern climates, heat is the most important element of the HVAC system.

V= ventilation / Originally this was not a very big deal with homeowners.  The ability to vent the interior spaces was not considered a positive element, due to the venting of the all important H= heat. Therefore, ventilation was not deemed important, or even necessary.  However as environmental engineers further evaluated the quality of the interior environment, the need for proper ventilation became important. The need to refresh the atmosphere, air exchanges and proper ventilation to rid the interior of excessive moisture and humidity gained popularity.  

Now everyone is concerned about air exchanges per hour, proper ventilation exchanges as well as the purification of the internal air, via ventilation. Fans and other means of ventilation  is the V in HVAC, equaling Ventilation.

AC=air conditioning / once again, in the old days, this was never even an issue for most normal homeowners.  Air conditioning was something that the rich and famous had, and was not anything that the normal and common folk of the day had to worry about.  As we all understand, current situations are such that the economy as well as the financial status of most individuals has made the importance of the AC element of the HVAC identification, extremely important.  

As with everything within the home, the more sophisticated the assembly, the more issues and or problems could, and will ensue.

What are some of the common issues or potential problems with an HVAC system?

  1. Dirty filters / all HVAC units will have ventilation filters that are installed to remove small particles in the air that cause allergies as well as other health issues.  These filters can range from the very minimal to very expensive, hypoallergenic filters that are specifically designed to eliminate the majority of foreign particles in the air.  No matter what type of filter is involved, they will eventually need maintenance and replacement.
  2. Lack of proper maintenance / like all mechanical systems, there is a minimum of maintenance that is required for the systems to properly function.  Although modern technology has reduced the maintenance needs, all systems should be checked and maintained on a regular basis.  It is our recommendation that you accept a maintenance program that is normally offered by your oil supplier or another mechanical subcontractor.  In this manner, your HVAC system will have a regularly scheduled maintenance program.
  3. Broken belts, or worn bearings / like all mechanical systems that incorporate any type of spinning or moving parts, belts and bearings can become worn and neglected.  This can cause problems by slowing or even stopping the fans and blowers from properly working. Again, a regular maintenance program can minimize this type of issue.
  4. Thermostats that fail to properly control the HVAC mechanical systems. In most situations, there are zones within the home, that are controlled by thermostats located in the home.  These thermostats control the heating, ventilation and cooling of the home, by interacting with your mechanical systems to control the temperature of the environment.  These controls can stop working due to battery life. A simple battery replacement is sometime the issue. In other cases, the thermostat may become faulty and need replacement.
  5. Excessive noise or vibration / due to the spinning parts that are a part of you HVAC system, these mechanical parts can become worn or out of balance.  This could cause excessive noise and or vibration. Correction is normally easily performed by a professional HVAC contractor.
  6. Cooling function does not appear to work / the cooling function of a typical HVAC system uses what is called a condenser to function.  This condenser is located on the exterior of the home and has a fan and liquid that is specially formulated to properly condense within the systems.  This movement of fluid, is what allows the cooling to function. In some cases, if this system is compromised, the fluid could need recharging or replacement.
  7. Heating function does not work / is their oil in the tank?  In most instances, lack of heat means there is no fuel to burn.  Check the level of fuel and ensure that the tank has proper fuel.

These are some of the very elementary issues, that should be noted regarding HVAC systems.

Due to the technology advancements of the last several years, heat pumps, special air and fluid systems, as well as specialized filtering systems have been introduced.

It is our strong recommendation that a professional HVAC contractor be contracted with for a yearly maintenance contract. This will ensure that your system provides years of satisfactory service.