Heating & Air Conditioning

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common problems

General Tips:

  • Check Thermostat Batteries: If your thermostat uses batteries, replace them if the display is dim or not working.
  • Check Power Supply: Ensure the furnace or AC unit is receiving power. Check the circuit breaker and reset it if necessary.
  • Clear Debris from Outdoor Unit: Remove any debris or vegetation around the outdoor AC unit or the furnace intake and exhaust vents.
  • Replace filters: Check and replace old or dirty intake filters. Clogged filters will restrict airflow and reduce heating or cooling performance.
  • Open all Vents: Heating and air conditioning systems work by recirculating the air in your home and they require both proper air intake through the air filter and air output through the vents. Be sure all vents are open so the furnace or air conditioner can circulate the air properly.

Furnace Issues:

  1. No Heat:
    • Check Thermostat Settings: Ensure the thermostat is set to the desired temperature and the system is set to “Heat.” If using a programmable thermostat, verify the schedule.
    • Replace Air Filter: A clogged filter can restrict airflow. Replace or clean the filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  2. Strange Noises:
    • Listen for Banging or Rattling: If you hear unusual noises, it could indicate loose or broken parts. Turn off the furnace and contact a professional for inspection and repairs.

Air Conditioning Issues:

  1. No Cool Air:
    • Check Thermostat Settings: Ensure the thermostat is set to “Cool” and the temperature is lower than the current room temperature.
    • Clean Air Filter: A dirty filter can reduce cooling efficiency. Replace or clean the filter based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  2. Frozen Evaporator Coils:
    • Turn Off the System: If your air conditioning was working fine but suddenly started blowing warm air, the problem may be that the evaporator coils have frozen up. This is typically caused by insufficient air flow through the air conditioner. The coils get cold and cool the air as it passes over them. If there’s not enough air circulation the coils get too cold and freeze up. Start by turning off the system for a couple of hours to give the coils time to thaw. During that time, check and replace the air filter if it appears old or dirty, and ensure that all vents and registers are fully opened. After a couple of hours, turn the air conditioning back on and see if it’s working properly again.
  3. Uneven Cooling:
    • Check Vents and Registers: Ensure vents and registers are open and unobstructed. Closing too many vents can disrupt airflow and cause uneven cooling or freeze the coils.


furnace & Heating

Furnace & heating


proper use of your home’s furnace or heating system

  • Understand the Furnace System: Familiarize yourself with the type of furnace in your home. It could be a central heating system, a wall-mounted unit, or a baseboard heating system.
  • Check Thermostat Settings: Set the thermostat to your desired temperature. Avoid setting it too high, as it can waste energy. Consider using programmable settings if your thermostat supports them.
  • Keep Vents and Registers Clear: Ensure that vents and registers are not blocked by furniture or other objects. Clear airflow helps the furnace distribute heat evenly throughout the home.
  • Replace Air Filters Regularly: If your home has a forced-air system, replace the air filter regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. A clean filter ensures efficient operation.
  • Ventilation and Fresh Air: Ensure proper ventilation by keeping windows and doors closed when the furnace is running. If you need fresh air, crack a window slightly, but avoid creating drafts that could interfere with the thermostat.
  • Report Issues Promptly: If you notice any unusual sounds, smells, or performance issues with the furnace, report them to your property manager promptly. Early intervention can prevent more significant problems.
  • Safe Use of Space Heaters: If you use additional space heaters, ensure they are safe and compatible with the home’s electrical system. Keep them away from flammable materials, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Understanding Gas Furnaces: If your furnace is gas-powered, familiarize yourself with the location of the gas shut-off valve. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, leave the home immediately and contact emergency services.
  • Use Furnace Responsibly: Avoid using the furnace as a drying rack for clothes or blocking airflow with large furniture. Allow air to circulate freely to maximize heating efficiency.
  • Winterize Windows and Doors: Insulate windows and doors during cold weather to retain heat and reduce the workload on the furnace. Use weather stripping and draft stoppers as needed.
  • Seal Leaks and Gaps: Check for drafts and seal any gaps around windows and doors. This helps maintain a comfortable temperature and reduces the strain on the furnace.
  • Communicate with Property Manager: Keep open communication with your property manager regarding any concerns or issues with the furnace. They can arrange for maintenance or repairs as needed.


Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning

proper use of your home’s air conditioning system

  • Understand the Air Conditioning System: Familiarize yourself with the type of air conditioning system in your home. It could be a central air system, window unit, or a split system. If you have an evaporative cooler (also called a swamp cooler) scroll down to the next section.
  • Set the Thermostat Efficiently: Set the thermostat to a comfortable but energy-efficient temperature. For cooling, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends a setting of 78°F (26°C) when you’re at home and active, and higher when you’re away.
  • Close Doors and Windows: Keep doors and windows closed while the air conditioning is running to prevent cool air from escaping and warm air from entering.
  • Use Fans Strategically: Use ceiling fans or portable fans to circulate cool air more effectively. Fans create a wind-chill effect, allowing you to set the thermostat a bit higher while maintaining comfort.
  • Replace or Clean Air Filters: If your home has a central air system, regularly replace or clean the air filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Clean filters ensure optimal performance and air quality.
  • Close Blinds or Curtains: Close blinds or curtains during the hottest part of the day to block out sunlight and reduce the heat entering your home.
  • Avoid Drastic Temperature Changes: Avoid setting the thermostat to a significantly lower temperature than the outside air. This doesn’t cool the space faster but can lead to energy wastage.
  • Seal Windows and Doors: Check for drafts around windows and doors. Seal any gaps with weather stripping to prevent cool air from escaping and warm air from entering.
  • Use Programmable Thermostats: If your home has a programmable thermostat, use it to create cooling schedules based on your daily routine. This helps save energy when you’re not at home.
  • Limit Use When Away: When leaving your home for an extended period, consider turning the air conditioning system off or setting it to a higher temperature to conserve energy.
  • Report Maintenance Issues: If you notice any unusual sounds, leaks, or performance issues with the air conditioning system, report them to your property manager promptly for maintenance.
  • Keep Outdoor Units Clear: If you have a window or split system, ensure that the outdoor unit is free from obstructions such as plants or debris. Adequate airflow enhances efficiency.
  • Regular Cleaning: Keep the air vents and indoor unit clean from dust and debris. Regular cleaning ensures better air quality and system performance.
  • Communicate with Property Manager: Maintain open communication with your property manager regarding any concerns or issues with the air conditioning system. They can arrange for maintenance or repairs as needed.

Proper use of your home’s evaporative cooling system

  • Understand the Evaporative Cooling System: Familiarize yourself with the evaporative cooling system in your home. This system uses water to increase humidity and cool the air, making it different from traditional air conditioning. 
  • Set the Right Airflow: Ensure that doors and windows are partially open to allow proper air circulation. Evaporative coolers work by drawing in fresh air from outside, so ventilation is crucial for effective cooling.
  • Maintain a Comfortable Humidity Level: Evaporative coolers add moisture to the air. Aim for a humidity level between 40-60% for optimal comfort. If humidity becomes too high, it can impact cooling efficiency.
  • Run the pump for a few minutes before switching to cooling mode: For an evaporative cooler to work, the pads must first be saturated with water. Give your system a few minutes to saturate the cooling pads by running it in “Pump” mode (if available) before turning on the fan to “Cool” mode.
  • Set the Right Cooling Mode: Evaporative coolers often have different modes such as “Cool” and “Vent.” In warm weather, use the “Cool” mode, and switch to “Vent” when you only want air circulation without additional cooling.
  • Use Fans for Circulation: Use ceiling fans or portable fans to improve air circulation within the home. This enhances the cooling effect of the evaporative cooler.
  • Close Windows When Not in Use: When the evaporative cooler is turned off or not in use, close doors and windows to prevent warm air from entering the home.
  • Monitor Outdoor Air Quality: Pay attention to outdoor air quality. If outdoor air is very humid or polluted, it can impact the performance of the evaporative cooler.
  • Report Maintenance Issues: If you notice any unusual sounds, leaks, or performance issues with the evaporative cooling system, report them to your property manager promptly for maintenance.
  • Emergency Shut-Off: Familiarize yourself with the emergency shut-off procedures for the evaporative cooler. If you encounter a problem, contact your property manager or maintenance team promptly.
  • Communicate with Property Manager: Maintain open communication with your property manager regarding any concerns or issues with the evaporative cooling system. They can arrange for maintenance or repairs as needed.




A quick guide to thermostats

General information:

The temperature you set on a thermostat is the temperature the heating or air conditioning system will attempt to maintain. Setting a very high or very low temperature on your thermostat will not heat or cool your home faster. For example, if it’s cold inside and you want it to be 72 degrees, setting your thermostat to 80 degrees will not heat it up faster than if you simply set it to 72 degrees (but it will continue heating past 72 degrees until it reaches 80 degrees inside). Set the temperature you want your thermostat to maintain in your home and give the system time to heat or cool to that temperature.

Table of Contents

  1. Using a programmable thermostat
  2. Troubleshooting a programmable thermostat
  3. Using a manual thermostat
  4. Troubleshooting a manual thermostat

1. using a programmable/Digital thermostat

Step 1: Understand Your Thermostat:

  • Familiarize yourself with the thermostat’s display, buttons, and settings. Most programmable thermostats have a screen that shows the current temperature and various buttons for programming.

Step 2: Set the Time and Date:

  • Adjust the thermostat’s clock to match the current time and date. This is crucial for accurate programming and energy efficiency.

Step 3: Choose the Right Mode:

  • Identify the thermostat modes:
    • Heat (H): For heating your home.
    • Cool (C): For cooling your home.
    • Auto (Auto): Automatically switches between heating and cooling based on the temperature setting.

Step 4: Program Your Schedule:

  • Access the programming menu to set temperature schedules for different times of the day and days of the week. This helps optimize energy usage.
    • Weekday/Weekend Settings: Adjust temperatures for when you’re at home, away, or sleeping.
    • Vacation Mode: Set energy-saving temperatures when you’re away for an extended period.

Step 5: Adjust Temperatures Manually:

  • Override programmed settings when needed:
    • Temporary Override: Change the temperature temporarily without altering the programmed schedule.
    • Permanent Override: Adjust the temperature until the next programmed schedule change.

Step 6: Use the Hold Feature:

  • Some thermostats have a “Hold” feature that maintains a constant temperature until you manually change it. This is useful for special occasions or when you’re working from home.

Step 7: Take Advantage of Smart Features:

  • If your thermostat is a smart or Wi-Fi-enabled model, connect it to your home network and explore additional features:
    • Remote Control: Adjust settings from your smartphone.
    • Learning Mode: Some smart thermostats learn your preferences over time.

Step 8: Monitor Energy Usage:

  • If your thermostat provides energy usage data, review it regularly to identify patterns and optimize your heating and cooling habits.

Step 9: Replace Batteries as Needed:

  • If your thermostat uses batteries, replace them promptly when low-battery indicators appear. This ensures consistent performance.

Step 10: Regularly Update Programming:

  • Adjust your temperature schedules seasonally or as your habits change. Regularly updating your programming helps maintain energy efficiency.

2. Troubleshooting a programmable/digital thermostat

Issue: Thermostat Display is Blank

  • Check Power Source:
    • Ensure the thermostat has power. Check for a battery compartment or power source and replace or recharge as needed.
  • Inspect Circuit Breaker:
    • Confirm that the circuit breaker connected to the thermostat is not tripped. Reset it if necessary.
  • Verify Wiring Connections:
    • Check the wiring connections behind the thermostat. Loose or disconnected wires may cause a blank display.

Issue: Incorrect Temperature Reading

  • Calibrate the Thermostat:
    • Refer to the thermostat manual to calibrate the temperature reading if it consistently shows inaccuracies.
  • Check Sensor Placement:
    • Ensure the thermostat’s temperature sensor is not obstructed or affected by external heat sources. Adjust its placement if needed.
  • Verify Compatibility:
    • Confirm that your HVAC system is compatible with your thermostat model. Incompatibility can lead to temperature discrepancies.

Issue: Programmable Settings Not Working

  • Check Programmed Schedule:
    • Review the programmed schedule to ensure it aligns with your preferences. Adjust settings if needed.
  • Verify Time and Date:
    • Confirm that the thermostat’s time and date are accurate, as this affects programmed schedules.
  • Reset to Default Settings:
    • Consider resetting the thermostat to its default settings and reprogramming it. Refer to the manual for instructions.

Issue: HVAC System Not Responding

  • Check System Switch:
    • Ensure the thermostat is set to the correct mode (Heat, Cool, Auto). Verify that the system switch is on.
  • Inspect Circuit Breaker:
    • Check the circuit breaker for the HVAC system. Reset it if tripped.
  • Replace Air Filter:
    • A clogged air filter can affect system performance. Replace the filter according to manufacturer recommendations.

Issue: Thermostat Not Connecting to Wi-Fi (Smart Thermostats)

  • Check Wi-Fi Settings:
    • Confirm that the thermostat is within range of the Wi-Fi network and that the network settings are correct.
  • Restart the Router:
    • If other devices connect to the Wi-Fi but not the thermostat, restart your router.
  • Reconnect to Wi-Fi:
    • Follow the thermostat’s manual to reconnect it to the Wi-Fi network.

Issue: Continuous Running of HVAC System

  • Adjust Temperature Settings:
    • Ensure the programmed temperatures are appropriate for the season and your comfort. Adjust as needed.
  • Check Fan Settings:
    • Confirm that the fan setting is on “Auto” rather than “On” to prevent continuous operation.


3: Using a manual/analog Thermostat

Step 1. Set the Desired Temperature:

  • Rotate the temperature control lever or turn the dial to set your preferred temperature. The numbers or markers on the thermostat indicate the temperature settings.

Step 2. Choose the Heating or Cooling Mode:

  • If your thermostat controls both heating and cooling, choose the appropriate mode by flipping the switch or pressing the selector button. Some thermostats have separate switches for heating and cooling.

Step 3. Fan Operation:

  • If your thermostat controls the fan, choose between “On” and “Auto.” “On” keeps the fan running continuously, while “Auto” makes the fan operate only when the heating or cooling system is actively running.

Step 4. Give it Time to Warm Up or Cool Down:

  • Keep in mind that manual thermostats do not have programmable schedules. Adjust the temperature manually when you want the heating or cooling system to activate.

Step 5. Winter/Summer Adjustments:

  • In colder months, set the thermostat to a lower temperature when you’re away or asleep. In warmer months, raise the temperature when you don’t need cooling.

Step 6. Check for Energy-Saving Features:

  • Some manual thermostats have energy-saving features like a “Hold” or “Override” button. Use these to temporarily adjust the temperature without changing the set schedule.

Step 7. Monitor the Temperature:

  • Regularly check the thermostat to ensure it reflects your desired comfort level. Adjust as needed based on changing weather conditions.

Step 8. Consider a Thermometer:

  • Place a thermometer in a central location to monitor the actual temperature in your home. This helps you make accurate adjustments to the thermostat.

Step 9. Adjusting for Vacations:

  • When going on vacation, manually set the thermostat to a temperature that conserves energy without risking damage to plants, pets, or belongings.

4. Troubleshooting a manual/analog thermostat

Issue: Temperature Not Adjusting Correctly

  1. Check Calibration:
    • Use a separate thermometer to verify the actual room temperature. If there’s a discrepancy, the thermostat may need recalibration.
  2. Clean the Thermostat:
    • Dust or debris on the thermostat can affect its accuracy. Gently clean the device with a soft brush or compressed air.

Issue: Thermostat Not Turning On

  1. Verify Power Source:
    • Ensure the thermostat is receiving power. Check it for dead batteries or tripped circuit breakers in your electrical panel.
  2. Inspect Heating or Cooling System:
    • Confirm that the heating or cooling system is turned on by checking that the pilot light is lit (for gas systems) or confirming the circuit breaker is switched on for the electrical heating and cooling units unit.

Issue: Thermostat Turning On/Off Frequently

  1. Adjust Temperature Differential:
    • Some thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature differential, controlling how much the temperature can vary before the system turns on or off.
  2. Clean or Replace the Thermostat:
    • Dust and dirt can interfere with thermostat operation. Clean the unit using a duster and compressed air and if the issue persists.

Issue: Thermostat Feels Warm to the Touch

  1. Avoid Direct Sunlight:
    • If the thermostat is exposed to direct sunlight, it may give inaccurate readings. Consider shading it or moving it to a cooler location.
  2. Check for Nearby Heat Sources:
    • Ensure the thermostat is not placed near heat-producing appliances, lamps, or electronic devices that can affect its temperature readings.

Issue: Thermostat Not Responding to Manual Adjustments

  1. Inspect Control Lever or Dial:
    • Verify that the control lever or dial is securely attached to the thermostat. If loose or damaged, it may need repair or replacement.
  2. Check for Obstructions:
    • Ensure there are no physical obstructions preventing the control lever or dial from moving freely.

Issue: Thermostat Feels Unresponsive

  1. Replace Batteries:
    • If your thermostat uses batteries, replace them with fresh ones. Weak or dead batteries can cause unresponsiveness.

Issue: Heating or Cooling Not Turning Off

  1. Check Fan Setting:
    • If the thermostat controls the fan, ensure it is set to “Auto” rather than “On” to prevent continuous operation.