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Common Homeowner Problems Everyone Runs Into (and How to Fix Them)

When summertime rolls around, you sure are thankful for the air conditioning and cool water in your home. When winter hits, heat from a furnace and hot water in the shower are necessities. While the amenities of a home provide comfort after a long day at work, sometimes problems can get in your way. Knowing how to assess the problem and fix it can make a world of difference in how quickly you can get back to enjoying a comfortable home. Here are some of the most common household problems that homeowners experience and how to go about fixing them. 

Leaking or Broken Pipes

Every responsible homeowner knows that leaking faucets, sinks, and showers should not be treated lightly. Not only in that dripping sound annoying in the middle of the night while you are trying to sleep, but that water leaking out is raising your water bill and may even be causing damage. The leak may be caused by high water pressure, which is damaging your pipes, rust and corrosion, and even small shifts in the foundation of the home. Get your pipes fixed as soon as possible to avoid mold growth, stained walls, and higher water bills.

The worst thing that could happen if you do not fix a broken pipe is flooding. This is actually very common in basements and crawl spaces where pipes tend to freeze and break or are cracked by tree roots. That’s why it’s important to have a sump pump in your basement or crawlspace which will help prevent major flooding if a pipe bursts. Get in touch with a team of professionals to install a sump pump for you and even perform regular maintenance and repairs to make sure it is always in working condition.

Not Blowing Cold Air Effectively

When your Kansas City air conditioner is not working effectively, it can really put a damper on your comfort level. While you may believe it’s a failure with some part of your cooling system, in most cases, it’s fairly simple to fix. Start by checking the filter for your system. If you can’t see through it, replace it.

Your filter is there to collect loose debris that can be harmful to your lungs. When the filter gets too full of debris, it will be difficult for cool air to pass through. This could cause your air conditioning system to be drawing more energy to try and push the cool air through your dirty filters. Ensure that your filter stays clean so that your system works appropriately and effectively to cool your home. This can do wonders for keeping your energy costs in the summer.

While there are many different types of filters out there for various cooling systems, they all require replacement on a regular basis. You should read through your manufacturer’s recommendations to see how often the filter on your cooling system should be replaced. Most will recommend between 3 and 12 months. Since you’re going to need a specific sized filter for your air conditioning system, it’s a good idea to have at least one extra one laying around the house for when you need it.

While you may be replacing the filter at the recommended intervals, you may notice that your system efficiency starts to decrease before it’s time to replace the filter. It’s important to note that the best time to change your filter is going to depend on more factors than just the manufacturer’s recommendation. If you have pets, then you’ll likely need to change your filter more frequently. If you constantly run your system around the clock, you’re going to need more frequent filter changes. Do yourself a favor and check the filter each month to see when it gets too dirty to put back in. This can help you to determine when the optimal time is for changing your filter.

If you have a wall air conditioner, then you won’t need to stock spare filters. Many of these wall and window units come with permanent filters. You simply need to take out the filter and wash it out on a regular basis. Again, check your manufacturer’s recommendation to determine when the optimal cleaning time is.

Not Cooling Down Your Entire Room

One really annoying problem that you can run into is having an air conditioner that doesn’t cool down an entire room. You may find yourself trying to move closer to the vent or unit to stay cool. When this problem occurs, there are a few reasons why this may be happening.

Start by ensuring that the air conditioner you have has the appropriate BTUs per square foot of your room. The general recommendation is 20 BTUs per square foot of room. Realize your individual needs may vary depending on how much traffic the room gets and other factors. If your unit has BTUs that are less or just at the amount that you need, you should consider upgrading to a unit that produces more BTUs.

If your air conditioner is rated appropriately for your square footage and you’re still having issues with keeping a room cool, start to assess your room. Are there windows where direct sunlight comes in to heat the room? If so, consider adding blinds or curtains to keep the direct sunlight out during the daytime. Do you have the vent or unit placed in a location that is blocked by furniture or other items? If so, do some rearranging to ensure that the unit or the vents for your system are in the open. This way, the cool air can openly flow throughout the room.

Vibrating Air Conditioning Unit

If you’re hanging out in your home and notice a constant vibrating noise coming from your unit, it’s time to assess the problem. In most cases, the unit is simply installed incorrectly. You should grab those instructions and reread them to ensure that you get the right installation. When your air conditioning window unit is installed appropriately it will not vibrate.

The vibration problem typically is a result of the air conditioning unit not sitting securely against the window. If you have trouble getting the unit to sit flat in your window, then utilize items like towels or weatherstripping to pad and secure the unit in your window. This is a quick fix that can save you months of being annoyed by a vibration sound.

If you’ve checked your unit for being properly secured to the window, then you may have another cause of vibration. Another common one is loose screws in the air conditioning unit. Check over the physical unit and identify if any screws turn easily. If so, use a screwdriver to tighten them up. Check to see if that solved the vibration issue.

It’s not uncommon for screws to come loose over time as you continue to use your air conditioner. The regular unit operation can be enough to loosen up even the tightest screws over time. It’s a great idea to consider checking the screws on a regular basis to make sure they’re secure. This takes a couple of seconds to do and can save you a big headache later down the road.

Unit Kicking Off Before Reaching The Set Temperature

Most new air conditioning units come with a programmable thermostat. This allows you to simply set the ideal temperature that you want for a specific room. The air conditioner will automatically kick on and run until the room is cooled to the temperature that you selected.

If you notice that your system fan tends to kick off way before the room has reached the temperature that you want, don’t call for HVAC repair just yet. Take a look at where the thermostat is for your unit. In most newer units, the thermostat is in the remote control. If your remote is in an area that receives direct cooled air from your air conditioner, it’s likely registering to be cooler than the room. Simply move your remote to a location that is out of the direct pathway from the cooled air coming from the air conditioning unit.

In some of the newer units, you can actually program temperatures for set times throughout the day. For example, you can program your system to be at a higher temperature throughout the day while you’re at work. Then, you can have it set to a lower temperature just before you decide to head home for the day. This way, your home can be cooled when you walk in. If you’re having trouble with your unit reaching the right temperature, you may just have the thermostat preset for that hour of the day higher than you thought. Simply adjust it down and you’ll be good to go.

Bad Odors

There’s nothing worse than getting a nasty smell throughout your entire home. If you have an issue with your air conditioning unit dispelling horrible odors, it’s definitely an indication that something is not quite right. Depending on the distinct smell that’s coming from the unit, there are a few different causes and fixes that you need to be aware of.

First, if you notice a burning smell, turn off the unit. You likely have an issue with the furnace blower fan. Once the unit is turned off, you can simply lubricate the fan to see if that helps to decrease the smell. If not, you’re going to need to replace the fan blower motor. Depending on the complexity of the system that you have, you may want to hire a cooling professional to do the job for you.

If the smell you’re getting is that of mold, then it’s likely a problem with your condenser pan. There is a small drain hole that is located at the condenser pan which allows water to flow outside from the system. When this hole gets clogged by various items or simply hard water, it can stop your air conditioner from draining excess liquid. This can result in the mildew smell that you’re getting.

To remedy this problem, you simply need to clean out the drain hole for your condenser pan. The location of this drain hole is going to vary depending on the specific air conditioning unit that you have. You should be able to find it in the instruction manual that came with your unit or simply by looking up a diagram of your exact air conditioning system online.

You’ll need a small brush to clear the hole of any major obstructions. Then, you’ll want to mix up a solution of bleach and water. Run this solution through the hole a few times to help loosen up any stuck-on debris and hard water stains. Once you’ve properly cleaned the drain hole, it’s time to turn your unit back on. If the mildew smell goes away after a while, then you’ve solved the problem.

Loses Power

If you notice that your air conditioning unit keeps losing power at random times, it can be irritating. It’s time to assess where the problem is coming from. This way, you can get your unit fixed and back to producing cool air for as long as you want it to. Here are a few common causes of why your unit may be losing power.

The first is that your circuit blew. If you notice that your unit doesn’t have any power, then you’ll want to go down to the electrical panel in your home. Look for the circuit breaker that is connected to your air conditioning unit. In some units, this breaker may be located outside near the condenser unit. If you’re using a window unit, you’ll have to look for the breaker that goes to the outlet that you have the unit plugged into.

See if the circuit breaker has been tripped. If so, turn the breaker back to the on position. If your air conditioner turns back on and continues to work, you’re good to go. If the circuit breaker instantly trips again, then you have more of an issue. This could indicate that there is a problem with the breaker itself, an electrical component with your unit, or your unit’s compressor. Unless you’re familiar with how to check further into these problems, it’s probably time to call in a professional to assist you with getting your unit back up and running.

Air conditioning seems to be a big necessity for most of us who just can’t stand some of those very hot summer days. Whether you have a central cooling unit or you have a window unit, air conditioning problems can happen. The above six are just some of the most common problems that homeowners tend to experience with their air conditioning units.

By understanding what these problems are, you can better work to assess the individual problem that you may be having. As you have read, many of these common issues can be solved by your own effort without having to pay a dime to a professional. However, sometimes paying a professional may be necessary. At least when you identify the problem, you know exactly what you need to do to get it fixed.

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