Tampa HVAC DIY Tips and Tricks

Mon Apr 11, 2011 by +Dave Whittington

Handy? Learn HVAC DIY Tips Here!

So, you’re a “do it yourselfer.” DIY or “Do It Yourself” has become more popular the last few years.

HVAC DIY Tips and Tricks
Air Conditioners and heaters are one of the most important elements to comfortable living. Unfortunately, when our HVAC system is on the fritz we want it back on as soon as possible. Most people are reluctant to try and figure out what’s wrong with their air conditioning unit before calling a professional, but we have a few tips and tricks below that might help out. 

We take no responsibility for the information provided below, and highly recommend calling a professional. But if you would like to read it for entertainment purposes, please read on...


First Step is to diagnose the problem.

Tools you’ll need:

Tools for AC Repair

  1. Flashlight or shop light
  2. Shop vacuum
  3. Swiffer or soft duster brush
  4. Screw driver set
  5. Wrench set
  6. No rinse air condition coil foaming cleanser
  7. Water spray bottle

Common Air Conditioning Problems

Air conditioner will not start

A system that will not come on can range from a faulty thermostat, to an old unit that needs replacing.

Below is a quick step-by-step list to troubleshoot your HVAC system before you can call an air conditioning repair company. If you feel uncomfortable with any of the steps, do not proceed. Call an AC repair technician. They have the license, insurance and most importantly, the expertise necessary to get your house comfortable.

AC Won’t Start Troubleshoot List: 

AC and Heating Thermostat
  1. Check thermostat. Make sure the thermostat is either below the temperature you want to cool, or above the temperature you want to heat.
  2. Check that thermostat wire connected to system.
  3. Check breaker box to see if the HVAC breaker flipped. If so, flip switch to see if system comes on.
  4. Check air filter. If dirty, replace. You should replace your filter every 1to 3 months depending on your filter and whether you have pets in your home.
  5. Check the drain pan (make sure power is off to your unit). If full of condensate (water), you probably have a clogged drainpipe. If you can remove the area of the PVC pipe that is clogged, take it off and rinse it out with a garden hose. Then clean the inside of the pipe with 50/50 water to bleach mix. Reattach pipe and check system.
  6. Check outdoor unit.  Flip the service switch (usually located on adjacent home wall) on and off.
  7. Check air handler. Sometimes there are two switches. One for the furnace, and the other for an air conditioner. Ensure that both are in the on position.
  8. Check evaporator coils. If frozen, unit will not come on. Wait until they thaw, and check if coils need to be cleaned.  Dirty coils can cause them to freeze.

Weak Air Through Vents or Air Too Cold or Air Too Warm:

This could be caused by the Air Conditioner’s Blower fan not cycling enough air. The result is weak air coming through the ducts. A dirty blower unit will spin without creating the necessary airflow to push air through your ducts. If the blower unit is dirty, it can spin without pushing air because the area between the blades on the fan is clogged.

Step 1: Check the Blower Unit

  1. Make sure all power is cut to the system. Now clean in between the fan blades. This will allow for increased airflow. We recommend using an air compressor using a blower nozzle. Make sure you where a mask and goggles because the dust and debris will fly everywhere.

  2. Restore power to your unit and determine if the air is blowing harder. By cleaning out the dirt, grime, and dust between the blades, you blower unit should push more air. But if they weren’t that dirty, this may not be the fix.

Still not fixed?

Step 2: Check Filters and Coils

Dirty AC CoilsDirty filters and iced/frozen coils can cause airflow to weaken the blowing and cooling effect of your unit. A filter that is clogged with dust can inhibit the necessary suction to the system. Exchange the filter if dirty and test your system. This is one ofthe most common air conditioning problems, which is also the easiest to fix. If the air filter is clean,proceed. 

Air conditioner cooling coils,otherwise known as evaporator coils, are vitalto every air conditioning, heating and furnace system. There are three different types depending on your unit:

  1. A-Coil
  2. N-Coil
  3. Slab Coil

Overtime the coils will get dirty, and should be cleaned at least twice a year.

Symptoms related to problematic evaporator coils:

Check and clean the evaporator coils:

  1. Make sure power is off to the unit. Turning off the breaker works best.
  2. Locate evaporator coil box on air handler. It’s usually on the top.
  3. Remove panel/cover. If coils are frozen, let them thaw with system off. Then retest. Do not attempt to clean the evaporator coils when they’re frozen.
  4. Locate and remove/open the access panel. This is at a lower part of the handler. (If you do not have an access panel, we highly recommend calling a professional to make one.)
  5. Take flashlight and look into the return. This will give you a good perspective of how dirty your coils are.
  6. Spray foaming cleanser on the both sides of the coils. Make sure to coat it well. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  7. Spray lightly with water bottle as a final rinse to ensure most debris is removed.
  8. Reattach panels to coil box and return.
  9. Test system.

Still not working properly? Check ductwork for damage such as crimps, punctures, and loose connections.

Common problems when the heating and air conditioning system is on:

AC/Blower fan will not start:Central AC Unit Air Handler

  1. Check that all switches to the air handler are in the on position.
  2. If you have a Reset switch, check to see if the button is lifted or extended. Indicating the system has tripped. Push the button.
  3. Check for tripped breakers and blown fuses.

Blower fan won’t stop

  1. Switch the HVAC breaker to the off position for 2 minutes. Switch to on position. Let system cycle.
  2. Remove the ground wire from the thermostat. Blower fan should stop. Reconnect.
  3. Check the safety switch located on the air handler for proper wire connection. Just switch on and off. When switched off the blower fan should turn off.
  4. Turn power off to the furnace. If the problem seems to persist, the blower fan more than likely has bad wiring, or faulty contacts.

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