While most people know that central air is great for cooling down a home, most do not realize that this is actually the same unit that provides the heat in a home as well.

Air conditioner repair technician

This kind of air conditioner, known as a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit, or HVAC unit, controls and regulates the interior air quality and temperature. However, with the winter months and the cold approaching these units are under stress from the severe weather. As such, some of these units may fail without proper servicing. If that is the case then owners may experience loss of heat. That does not mean that the home cannot be heated again, only that a different kind of heating is required.

On most thermostats, there is a red button that, when pressed, will turn on the emergency heating unit. If the primary heating unit fails, this backup will serve to heat the home until the HVAC unit can be serviced. Luckily, all homes that are in northern climates, or areas that dip below thirty five degrees, are required to have secondary heating. Under normal conditions, the HVAC unit will use both the primary heating unit and the secondary heating unit for any additional supplementation. When the primary heating unit fails, the secondary heating unit is engaged when the emergency heating button is pressed in order to replace the primary heating unit. While this is an excellent feature for emergencies, the secondary heating unit is not designed to replace the primary heating unit, and should only be used until the HVAC unit can be repaired.

The heat pump, or primary heating unit, is what heats your home during normal function of the HVAC unit. In the winter months, due to the extreme weather conditions, this unit could become damaged as it is often placed outside of the home. Whenever there is any kind of dangerous weather, it is important to check the unit to make sure that there is no visible damage. Snow, ice, and fallen tree limbs could compromise the unit and cause it to fail. The emergency heating unit will bypass the heat pump if it is damaged and still provide heat to the home. However, by bypassing the heat pump, the unit has to work harder and expend more energy, which, if the heat is electric, could wind up costing the owner a large amount of money. So while emergency heating is efficient for short term use, it should never be used to replace the heat pump entirely.

The best way to avoid any failure on the part of the HVAC unit is proper maintenance and servicing throughout the year. Common problems with air conditioners that are older arise from infrequent servicing. These problems include, refrigerant leaks, electric control failure, sensor problems, and drainage problems.

A refrigerant leak in an HVAC unit will result in the unit not supplying the needed cold air at the same efficient rate. The unit will have to work harder to maintain the cold air, costing you money and adding stress to the system. Furthermore, if the unit runs out of refrigerant, no cold air will come out at all no matter how low the thermostat is set. On top of that, if refrigerant is leaking it could damage the environment. If owners experience these problems, an HVAC technician will be able to diagnose and repair the leak.

If a unit is turned on and off frequently, the compressor or the fans could stop working due to corrosion on the electrical contacts or a connection issue. These contacts and connections should be cleaned and checked by a professional regularly.

Thermostats are designed to properly scan and analyze the room temperature and communicate to the HVAC unit to regulate the system. If the unit is moved or damaged however, it may result in improper analysis and erratic HVAC behavior.

Lastly, in humid environments with a high level of condensation, the condensate drain should be checked and unclogged as necessary to ensure that the unit drains properly.

If the recent cold weather in our area has you discovering problems with your heating system contact the HVAC pros at Mahle Cool Air and Heating.