With the world wide web at our fingertips, many of us are doing more and more home fixes and improvements on our own. One Google search can teach you to bake your own bread, troubleshoot your own computer issues, or how to play piano. Who needs an HVAC professional like the folks at Santa Fe Air when their expertise has been distilled into countless blogs and DIY videos?
The answer? Literally everyone. Baking your own artisanal bread is fine and dandy, because that bread probably isn’t going to electrocute anyone or fill your home’s air with allergens and pollutants. When it comes to servicing your home’s HVAC and electrical, your safest bet is contacting a professional.
There are some things you can do on your own and some troubleshooting steps to take if you are noticing issues, so read on to discover what you can DIY and when to call an HVAC professional in Kansas City.
💡 Note: You should have your home HVAC equipment serviced by a professional at least once a year for maintenance to prevent problems. If you haven’t had an opportunity to get to preventative maintenance for a few years or are starting to notice some issues, here are some things to consider before you pick up the phone.
Replace the filter in your HVAC system
Some filters need to be replaced monthly, others are designed to last you an entire year. You should have information about what type of filter you have in your furnace manual. If you’ve lost your paperwork, just remove the existing filter and find identifying information so you can get a replacement. If, somehow, your furnace doesn’t have a filter in it, Google the brand and model on your furnace and you can likely find the information you need. A furnace without a filter should be fitted with one immediately. A filter protects your home’s air quality as well as the interior of your HVAC system from damage.
Signs your furnace is failing
- Your furnace is blowing air that’s warm, but not warm enough. You can troubleshoot this issue with the following steps:
- First, make sure nothing is blocking the warm air, such as a heavy drape or piece of furniture placed over a vent.
- Make sure the thermostat is set to “HEAT” and that the fan is set to “AUTO.” If there is still no heat, try raising the set temperature by 5 degrees and waiting to see if the system reacts.
- Check to see if your filter is clean, as a dirty filter can reduce the effectiveness of your furnace.
- Your furnace isn’t blowing heat at all. You can troubleshoot this by trying the following:
- Check the thermostat settings to ensure it is set to “HEAT” and turned on.
- Check the circuit breaker to ensure there is power to the furnace. If the circuit has tripped, reset it. If it blows again, there’s probably a short in the electrical. You’ll need to call an electrician.
- Check the furnace’s power switch to ensure it’s on.
- If your furnace motor has a reset button near the blower motor’s housing, you can try pressing it to see if that fixes the issue. Wait about a half hour, then hit the reset button again just in case if nothing happens the first time.
- If you have a gas furnace, check that the pilot light hasn’t gone out.
- Furnaces that cycle on and off too often are generally having issues with the thermostat, rather than the furnace itself.
- If your furnace only runs for a few minutes before shutting off, it might have a faulty flame sensor.
- If your furnace motor is running but no air is blowing, there is probably a broken belt within the furnace.
- Your furnace is pinging, popping, rattling, squealing, or making any other unusual noise; it could be anything from loose panels to slipped belts or stripped motor bearings.
Any of these issues should be addressed by an HVAC professional.
Don’t forget the yearly maintenance
Furnaces are designed to last about 15 years, sometimes longer, but this is only when they’re getting proper maintenance. Once a year you should have a professional inspect your furnace for issues and give it a tune up to ensure it functions beautifully when you need it to. Santa Fe offers a 365 Comfort Club membership, one of the best plans for preventative maintenance in Kansas City!
Before calling a pro, check the thermostat
If you call a professional to assess your system, you want to first look at your thermostat to see if it has power or if it is unresponsive. Most homes today have some kind of a digital thermostat, so it should be easy to tell. This is a quick way to troubleshoot whether the problem is in the furnace itself or just the thermostat.
If the thermostat is not responsive:
Replace the batteries or check for a blown fuse or tripped breaker in your electrical panel if the display is dark. If the display is still dark after this, shut off the power at the breaker and remove the cover of the thermostat. If it’s dirty, use a soft brush or canned air to clean it, as grime could affect functionality. Check for loose terminal screws that can be tightened. Replace the cover and see if it’s working again.
If the wiring beneath the cover is loose or corroded, STOP! When it comes to wiring, that’s the end of the line for DIY. Call a professional.
If the thermostat has power:
If your thermostat display is lit up, you know it has power. Something else is causing the issue, whether it’s the temperature in the room not matching the setting or the system not kicking on at all. Here are some ways to troubleshoot your thermostat:
Is the thermostat on?
No judgement here, sometimes things happen. Maybe you turned it off yourself, maybe it was a family member, roommate, or ghost. Whatever happened, it’s surprisingly easy to overlook something as simple as checking whether it’s powered up since it rarely gets turned off. Still, give it a check before turning to more in-depth investigations.
Switch the fan setting
Turn the fan to “ON” to troubleshoot. You should always have your HVAC fan set to “AUTO” at your thermostat, which means the fan will turn on automatically as needed when the furnace or air conditioner is running. If your system isn’t working, check for issues by flipping the thermostat fan setting to “ON.” When the fan doesn’t kick on, you could have an issue related to the power supply somewhere else in the system.
If the fan doesn’t work, check your circuit breaker. When the circuit breaker controlling the system is “OFF,” something has kicked it. You can reset the switch from there—often it’s enough to fix the problem, but if the circuit switches off again you’ll need to call a professional.
When to call an electrician
While we’re near the subject, if you’re going to be dealing with electricity in any capacity it’s a good idea to have a professional. Our Kansas City electricians have experience with a variety of electrical needs.
Installing, repairing, or replacing anything with wiring
Yes, you can find how-to videos and walkthroughs for installing electrical outlets, ceiling fans, and light fixtures. No, you shouldn’t do it yourself. You didn’t listen to the internet when it told you everyone was eating Tide Pods, did you? Of course not. Frankly, it’s easier than you think to get the wiring wrong on your own. Poor wiring leads to faulty outlets or appliances, shorts in the wiring, and electrical fires.
Electrical panel work
Since we already established you shouldn’t do anything with wiring on your own, it probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t do anything to the electrical panel yourself. The electrical panel is like the brain of your home’s electrical system. It splits circuits throughout your home and routes electricity through breakers. The breakers are designed to cut electrical flow when a short or surge is detected. As the brain, it’s pretty darn important. You wouldn’t want anything other than a professional brain surgeon mucking about in your head, right? To avoid risking damages or a fire, leave any type of electrical panel work to a professional like those at Santa Fe.
Electric car charging station installation
First off, kudos to you for investing in an eco-friendly vehicle! The big downside is it can take half a day to charge an electric car using the manufacturer-provided 120-volt cord. Luckily, we install electric car charging stations that use 240 volt service (available in most newer homes) to cut that charge time down to less than 2 hours. Our technicians will assess your home and vehicle to determine the most efficient and effective car charging station for you. We can install them into homes, parking lots and garages, residential complexes, or at businesses. For homes, we generally install them into the garage. We do, however, carry models that are designed to withstand all types of weather.
Don’t become an electrical fire statistic
When it comes to wiring and electricity, there’s no margin for error. In the United States each year there are about 51,000 home electrical fires, leading to close to 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage. There’s no good reason to take the risk, when our responsive electricians can quickly be anywhere in the Kansas City area.
Call the pros at Santa Fe today
Santa Fe Air has been proudly serving the Kansas City area for more than 30 years. We guarantee great service and no hard selling.