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  • Writer's pictureTy Shane

Common HVAC Problems and How to Troubleshoot Them

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are vital to maintaining comfort in homes and businesses, especially in places like Des Moines, Iowa, where temperatures can vary drastically throughout the year. However, like any complex system, HVAC units can experience issues that disrupt their functionality. Knowing how to identify and troubleshoot these problems can save you time, money, and discomfort. Here are some common HVAC problems and their troubleshooting tips specifically tailored for Des Moines residents:

Air Conditioner Not Cooling

During hot Iowa summers, a malfunctioning air conditioner can be frustrating. If your AC unit is blowing warm air or not cooling sufficiently, here’s what to check:

Thermostat Settings: Ensure the thermostat is set to "Cool" and the temperature setting is lower than the current room temperature.

Air Filter: A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and reduce cooling efficiency. Replace the filter if it's dirty (typically every 1-3 months).

Outdoor Unit: Check if the outdoor unit (condenser) is clear of debris like leaves, branches, or dirt. Clean the area around it and ensure there’s no obstruction to airflow.

Refrigerant Levels: Low refrigerant levels indicate a leak and require professional attention. Contact an HVAC technician for inspection and repair.

Furnace Not Heating

In Des Moines winters, a malfunctioning furnace can lead to discomfort and even safety concerns. If your furnace isn’t heating properly, try these troubleshooting steps:

Thermostat Settings: Ensure the thermostat is set to "Heat" and the temperature setting is higher than the current room temperature.

Air Filter: Like with air conditioners, a dirty filter can impede airflow and reduce heating efficiency. Replace the filter if it’s dirty.

Pilot Light or Ignition: If you have an older furnace with a pilot light, ensure it is lit. For newer models, check if the ignition system is functioning properly.

Circuit Breakers: Check the circuit breaker for the furnace to ensure it hasn’t tripped.

Uneven Heating or Cooling

If some rooms in your home feel significantly warmer or cooler than others, it could be due to several reasons:

Air Ducts: Inspect air ducts for leaks, blockages, or poor insulation. Leaks can cause air loss, while blockages restrict airflow.

Thermostat Placement: Ensure the thermostat is installed in a central location away from heat sources or drafts to accurately gauge room temperature.

Zoning Issues: If you have a zoning system, check if it’s properly configured and balanced.

Strange Noises

Unusual noises coming from your HVAC system can indicate underlying issues:

Rattling or Clanking: Loose parts or debris in the system. Inspect and tighten loose screws or remove debris.

Squealing or Grinding: Belts or bearings may be worn out and need replacement.

Hissing or Bubbling: Indicates a refrigerant leak, which requires professional repair.

System Cycling Frequently

If your HVAC system turns on and off frequently (short cycling), it could be due to:

Dirty Filters: Replace dirty air filters to improve airflow.

Thermostat Issues: Check thermostat settings and ensure it’s functioning correctly.

Blocked Condenser Unit: Ensure the outdoor unit (for AC) or heat pump is clear of debris.

When to Call a Professional

While these troubleshooting tips can resolve many common HVAC issues, some problems require professional expertise. Consider contacting an HVAC technician in Des Moines if:

You suspect a refrigerant leak.

There are electrical issues.

The problem persists after basic troubleshooting.

You are unsure about performing repairs or inspections yourself.


By understanding these common HVAC problems and their troubleshooting steps, you can better maintain the comfort and efficiency of your HVAC system throughout the year in Des Moines, Iowa. Regular maintenance and prompt attention to issues can prolong the life of your HVAC unit and save you from unexpected breakdowns. If you encounter more complex problems or need professional assistance, don't hesitate to contact us today at Advanced Problem Solutions located at 2425 Hubbell Ave Suite 106, Des Moines, IA 50317, United States. Our experienced technicians are ready to help ensure your HVAC system operates smoothly and efficiently.

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