What To Do If Your Heating and Air Conditioning Units Break Down?

Closeup shot of male hand adjusting thermostat to 70 degrees

By 2024, the number of sold HVAC units will surpass 151 million. This is only a projection but it is likely to come true because of global warming.

For the HVAC market, this is an exciting statistic. For HVAC unit owners, it could mean needing to learn more information about their systems.

When a heating and air conditioning system breaks down, what do you do? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Check Your Thermostat

When your heating and air conditioning unit is giving you trouble, the first thing you should do is check the thermostat. You might not need the help of HVAC contractors right away.

The unit could simply be malfunctioning or the batteries in the thermostat could be dead. Reset your thermostat to see if the system starts working again.

You can also check the physical unit and turn it on manually. If the unit starts, you know the problem is the thermostat. You can usually replace this on your own.

Check the Circuit Breaker and Power

If you are seeing a surge in electricity usage, you may have problems with the circuit breaker. When this happens, the power will cut off on its own.

If the circuit breaker switch has been flipped, flip it back again. If the air conditioning turns on you are in the clear. If not, call HVAC repair services right away.

Check for Electrical and Water Damage

If there is no issue with the thermostat or circuit breaker, you may have water or electrical damage. You can see leaking or rusted tubes around the unit if this is the case.

There may also be debris or smoke around the unit which is a warning sign of an electrical issue. This is not something you should deal with on your own. You’ll need to bring in the experts for professional repairs.

Check the Air Filters

Clogged and dirty air filters can reduce the efficiency of your unit and cause icing. When this happens, your system won’t cool your home.

An air filter will continue to collect particles, but the loaded-up debris can make its job easier. Yet, it reduces airflow and increases resistance at a certain point.

Once that time comes, changing the filter is essential. This is cheap and easy to do on your own. If you let the particles build up for too long, the evaporator coil will fail.

You can clean the coils of your system if you believe there is a buildup. However, these cannot be cleaned by direct touch. You’ll have to buy your own cleaning spray or reach out to the experts.

Clean coils help condensation for cooling and should not be filled with dust or debris. The lifespan of the filter will depend on how big it is and how dirty it gets.

If you are experiencing uneven cooling, it could be from problems with the ductwork. If you have duct leakage, you could be losing almost half of your energy.

To combat this issue, the outside of ducts should have insulation. You can get a lot more air conditioning capacity when you get even the smallest leaks fixed.

If you can’t figure out what the problem is with your heating and air conditioning system, call an HVAC repair company in your area for an inspection.

Change Some Things in Your Home

There are a few simple changes you can make in your home to increase the efficiency of your system. When you reduce the internally generated loads your unit is dealing with, you reduce pressure on the system entirely.

The best thing you can do to increase the efficiency of your unit is add more insulation in your home. This can be something as easy as shading the windows on a sunny day.

If you happen to be getting a new roof at any point in time, the type of roof you choose can affect your energy. There are cooling roofing options that can save you energy and help your system.

With local exhaust fans, you can remove the humidity and heat in certain rooms in the home. When interior doors are closed, it causes less airflow in the whole house. Keep doors ajar instead.

Buy a New Unit

If your heating and air conditioning system is beyond repair, you’ll have to purchase a new unit. The best repair companies will let you know when your unit is at the end of its life instead of making ineffective repairs.

Before purchasing a unit, there are some considerations to make.


First, think about the climate of your home. If you live in a regularly hot and dry area, you should find a system with a good energy efficiency rating (EER).

These ratings will state how well a system can work in your climate. It’s possible to get a system that dehumidifies too.


A good air conditioner and heating unit will properly ventilate your home. This leads to outside contaminants getting eliminated before getting into the home.

The air inside the home should be exchanged every four hours. Older homes don’t need as much ventilation because they have leakier ducts and walls. New homes without leaks need mechanical ventilation.


Another factor to think about when choosing a new unit is the condenser. This is the piece of equipment set up outside of the home. On every side, there should be at least a foot of clearance.

You don’t want direct sunlight or invasive bushes affecting the air intake of your condenser. Condensers should get installed on the north or east side of the home to avoid direct sunlight.

If you must set up the condense on the south or west side of the house, get a screen to protect it from the sun. This can prevent the efficiency from reducing.


To avoid wasting energy, it is a good idea to install a timer to control your system. If you have a new unit, you probably already have an adjustable, built-in timer.

These programmable thermostats can control temperatures when you are gone. If you don’t already have one, installing them is easy. They are pretty inexpensive at any local home store.

You shouldn’t ever shut off your system completely unless you are leaving town. When you have your system off, it takes a lot out of the air compressor to cool the house down again.

The Consequences of Avoiding Repairs

Not searching for a “repair company near me” when you come across a problem with your unit is risky. There are major consequences to ignoring necessary repairs.


An air conditioner fan and other equipment can cause fires in the home. When you have electrical or mechanical failures and don’t hire professionals right away, your home could go down in flames.

If you are using electric-powered equipment, make sure you are following the manufacturer’s instructions. You should regularly get an air conditioning unit inspection for safety and repair reasons.

Health Problems

Health problems are also a concern if you don’t get the necessary air conditioning repairs.

Outdated and poorly maintained units are the most cause for concern. They can cause poor health conditions and spread diseases. This is why preventative maintenance is essential.

Air duct cleaning can help, especially if you notice visible buildup or mold. During the summer, when the A/C is running more often, mold can start to build up fast because of the increased production of condensation.

If mold is left, it can begin to spread and affect your respiratory system. The spread of mold often comes with a distinctive odor.

Homes that have recently gone through a renovation should follow up on the condition of the HVAC unit. This is especially true if the renovation was to remove lead-based paint or asbestos.

You should have an HVAC professional check your home at least once a year to avoid serious health problems.

Choosing an HVAC Repair Company

When you cannot deal with the HVAC issues in your home on your own, hiring a professional company is the next logical step. A common reason air conditioners fail is poor installation. Choosing an HVAC repair company involves doing some research.

To find the right HVAC installation solutions, follow these tips:

Know the State Requirements

Every state will have specific requirements regarding HVAC contractors and their licensing, insurance, bonding, and continuing education.

A general rule is that a technician should have at least two years of training and pass a written exam. Training can help a contractor understand refrigerant, airflow, ductwork, combustion systems, etc.

Along with training of important pieces, they will cover safety issues and concerns. As technology evolves, most states require technicians to do continuing education courses to keep their licenses.

Know What You Need

By using this guide, you can get to the root of your heating and air conditioning problems. This is key to finding the right HVAC company.

When you know what the issue is that you are dealing with, you can figure out if a company has experience in that specific area. Not every company will offer the services you need.

Get Referrals

You can ask the neighbors and other people you trust in the area for an HVAC provider referral. If you know someone dealing with the same HVAC problems as you, asking them is the perfect place to start.

Look for Reviews

Price and reputation are both factors you can check through online reviews. A contractor should have reviews listed on their website. You can also check reviews through the Better Business Bureau.

A company without a few bad reviews may be an eyebrow-raiser. Avoiding bad reviews is almost impossible for any company.

Check how the company reacts to a bad review. If they kindly addressed the problem and offered a solution, it’s a good sign.

Once you find a few HVAC companies, you can ask them for references. A reputable company will be more than happy to provide you with this information.

You can contact the given references to ask about the performance and satisfaction of the project. Ask them specific questions to ensure you are hiring the right people for the job.

Check for Credentials

A licensed contractor will have their own number that you can verify. The number should be on the company website. If it isn’t, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Through the state board, you can verify that the license provided is accurate and active. You should also verify liability insurance by asking for coverage proof.

The best repair companies will offer up this information without hesitation.

Ask for a Written Proposal

Estimates and proposals should be written out. A specialist will look at the system in your home to determine what needs to get fixed or replaced.

Once this inspection is complete, they should provide you with an estimate in writing. Make sure this is itemized and has all details including the warranty option.

Before any work begins, ask for a written proposal too if one is not provided. This is something you and the contractor will sign as an agreement.

This document will specify the job schedule, specific costs, unit details, payment schedule, warranty information, and more. A written statement like this is made to protect you if a problem occurs.

A company that refuses to provide you a statement should not complete any work on your system.

Have a Heating and Air Conditioning Breakdown? No Problem!

Being a homeowner is not an easy task. You are forced to deal with necessary home improvements that you don’t know much about.

With our guide, you can know what to do when you have a heating and air conditioning unit breakdown. Some problems are simple enough to fix on your own, but hiring an HVAC company is usually the best solution.

When you need minor repairs or a big upgrade, we are here to help. Contact us today for a free estimate!

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