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Steps to Take When Your HVAC Is Not Working at All

No one wants to be met with a home that mirrors the scalding or freezing temperatures of the outdoors. It’s true, HVAC problems always seem to happen at the most inconvenient times. So when your HVAC isn’t working at all, it’s good to have a few ideas for how to fix it.

If your HVAC is suffering from major problems, you could always call an HVAC specialist like the professionals at Entek. But the reason your HVAC isn’t working might be basic. You might even be able to fix it with just a few simple steps. Most HVACs are built to last anywhere between 10 to 20 years, so if it’s well before that time, there’s a pretty good chance the problem isn’t as big as it seems.

If you’re dealing with an HVAC that simply refuses to work, try taking these steps. Doing simple things like checking the electrical aspects or making sure the filter is clean and clear of debris can be all it takes to get your HVAC working again.

Perform a Few Fundamental Electrical Checks

The first thing you’ll want to do when your HVAC isn’t working at all is to perform an electrical check on the fundamental things that make your HVAC run.

First, you’ll want to make sure your HVAC is turned on. It seems almost too simple, which is why so many people overlook it while trying to figure out what the problem may be. That’s why we encourage people to start by checking that the unit is on. If your unit has an on/off button, go to that first. Make sure that it is fully set to on and see if anything happens. If it still isn’t working, at least you can confidently rule that option out.

The next electrical check you’ll want to do is with the circuit breaker. Sometimes, in an effort to prevent an issue with the electrical system, a circuit breaker will trip, which then causes your HVAC to stop working. Reset the breaker and see if that fixes the problem. But keep in mind that if the breaker trips again, you may have a bigger problem to deal with that calls for an electrician to take a look at things.

Lastly, if you’re attempting to turn on the HVAC during the day, you’re going to want to make sure you have power in your house. It’s possible you haven’t noticed because of the sunlight, so you’ll want to rule this out during this first electrical check phase. The HVAC could just be the first thing you notice before realizing that the rest of the house is without power. When this happens, it has nothing to do with the HVAC, and your HVAC should start working again as soon as power is restored.

Check the Thermostat

Once you’ve checked all the possible electrical issues, you’ll want to give your thermostat a look. The thermostat controls the temperature for your HVAC unit, and an issue with it could be the reason why your HVAC isn’t working.

When you reach your thermostat, make sure it’s set to the correct setting. Sometimes thermostats are sensitive and can be switched from heating to cooling accidentally. If you’re waiting for it to cool off in your house and your thermostat is set to heat, it may feel like your HVAC isn’t working. Double-check this setting to be sure that’s not the case.

You’ll also want to see if your thermostat is battery powered. Your batteries may have died, causing your entire thermostat to shut down. If the thermostat isn’t showing any signs of being on, try changing the battery.

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Check Your Filter

Your filter is the next place you should look after checking the thermostat and the electrical aspects of your HVAC. An HVAC filter is responsible for keeping the air clean in your home, but without the proper maintenance, it’s capable of causing issues that lead to your HVAC not working as expected.

Unclean filters prevent air from flowing properly through them, making your HVAC work harder to try to keep the temperature at the correct setting while also recirculating unclean air throughout your home. Take a look at your air filters, and if they’re dirty, clean them. Reusable filters need to be cleaned often and should be completely dry before you place them back into your unit. And if you aren’t using reusable filters, you should replace an old or dirty one as soon as you notice it.

Check the Drain Pan

Your HVAC may have a drain pan located under it to collect any of the condensation that your unit isn’t able to drain out. If you look at your drain pan and it’s filled with water, that may lead you to the reason why the unit stopped working altogether.

When your drain pan is full, that means there may be an issue with the pan’s drain. It could have become clogged, which will ultimately turn off your unit. It turns the unit off in efforts of preventing any water damage from occurring in your home. Without that, the drain pan will overflow, and the blocked drain could cause severe water damage in places like your ceilings and floors. Flush out the drain, empty the drain pan, and see if your unit turns back on.

Call an HVAC Specialist

If you’ve tried all these possible solutions and are still having an issue, you may have to call a professional. There might be a bigger problem with your HVAC than you can correct on your own, and a professional eye will be your best solution.

Sometimes, all it takes is the right kind of help to fix your problems. An HVAC specialist has the tools and expert knowledge to find an underlying issue with your HVAC if there is one. Entek has been serving the Portland and Vancouver area for over 70 years, inspecting, repairing, and performing maintenance on HVAC units.

Remember that your HVAC is similar to a car in that it needs to be professionally maintained from time to time. Occasional maintenance on your HVAC could prevent any large problems from happening in the future. Look into our planned maintenance programs to get your HVAC on a maintenance schedule.


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