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5 Essential HVAC Troubleshooting Tips Every Homeowner Needs to Know

There is no good time for your HVAC system to fail, especially in the cold, winter months. But even the best-maintained system can encounter a glitch every once in a while. Fortunately, not every problem is a major one. In fact, a large number of heating problems have simple solutions. If you have an issue with your HVAC, try these troubleshooting tips from the pros at Main Stream Mechanical.



1. Check for power.

If your system isn’t turning on, check the emergency switch (usually located at the top of your basement stairs) to make sure it wasn’t accidentally shut off. Then inspect your breaker box to make sure your house has power or that the breakers haven’t been flipped or blown a fuse. Reset the breaker by turning the switch off, waiting a few seconds, and turning it back on.

2. Inspect your thermostat for issues.

Your thermostat can be the culprit of many HVAC problems, such as causing your system to turn on at the wrong time or not turn on at all. Start by making sure your temperature settings haven’t been accidentally changed. Next, set the temperature where you want it, to see if the unit responds accordingly. If the thermostat doesn’t adjust to your setting, it may need new batteries. Still having issues? You might need a new thermostat or a professional consultation.

3. Clear debris from exterior vents.

Leaves, snow, and ice can accumulate around outdoor vents, preventing your equipment from getting the air it needs to operate properly. Use a broom to clear away all debris in and around the intake and exhaust vents to prevent the motor from overheating. Prune or remove any vegetation around the outdoor unit and inspect the vents throughout the year to be sure they are clear and well-ventilated for maximum efficiency.

4. Install a new furnace filter.

If the air coming from your vents seems dusty or your HVAC system hasn’t been working well, check the furnace’s filter. A dirty, clogged, or old filter forces your system to work harder, causing unnecessary wear and tear on your unit. A new, clean filter will allow air to easily pass through it, boosting efficiency and indoor air quality, and filling your home with warmth and comfort.

5. Check room vents for obstructions.

Sometimes, a vent can get shut or covered without you noticing, preventing air from circulating properly. Check the vents in your home to be sure they are free from dirt or dust, and clear furniture or other objects, that could obstruct the air flow.

Know when to call in the HVAC experts

Troubleshooting HVAC issues can be simple, but there are situations when you should contact a professional. Concerning problems include:

  • Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including stuffy nose, headaches, coughing, and sore throat.

  • Unusual odors in your home, including rotten egg, a burnt odor, or a mold or musty scent.

  • Strange noises coming from your heating unit, such as grinding or squealing.

  • A water leak or puddle around your furnace or boiler.

HVAC Installation, Maintenance, Service and Repair

If your HVAC issue requires an expert touch, contact our home comfort specialists. From installations and inspections, to service and repairs, our full-service HVAC team is ready to help you have a safe, warm, and cozy winter.

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Main Stream Mechanical

25 Macy Street, Suite C

Amesbury, MA 01913

978-834-0849   |   877-800-HVAC

Mastercard, Visa, and American Express accepted. Third-party financing options are available.

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About Main Stream

Main Stream Mechanical, Inc. is a full-service plumbing, heating, and air conditioning company. We service a large portion of Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.