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Heating and Cooling Guide - Step 1

Heating And Cooling Guide

A lot of questions arise when your air conditioner starts making weird noises or you have a short cycling furnace. What’s the problem? Who am I going to call? How much will this cost? Can I fix it? Do I need a new A/C or furnace installation?

Without knowing these 7 heating and cooling guide/tips, you might find yourself out a couple thousand dollars, frustrated at the heating and cooling service, or realizing it’s something you could’ve fixed on your own (more about that in our article about 10 things to check before calling an HVAC tech).

Let this heating and cooling guide be your ultimate resource for saving money and working with a heating and cooling company (if necessary). Let’s get started.

Heating and Cooling Guide

Step 1: Check The Thermostat

This first step may seem pretty obvious, but surprisingly, it is often overlooked. Double check the standard, programmable, or smart thermostat setting to make sure it’s set correctly and that the heating and cooling switch is set properly.

Thermostat settings heating and cooling

Once that’s been checked off the list of possible issues, now look to see if your desired temperature is selected. Even just a few degrees off can mean the difference between comfort or not. If the screen is dark it might just be time for some new batteries.

So before calling up a heating and cooling company, be sure to check the selections of your thermostat. Read more about thermostat troubleshooting and air conditioner troubleshooting here.

air filter comparison guide heating and cooling guide

Step 2: Check The Air Filter

Always make sure your air filter is clean. It’s very common problem and luckily is quite easy to fix.

And better yet, if the problem was a dirty filter and you clean it yourself, the unit should almost immediately begin to operate normally.

If you’re having difficulty finding the air filter on your particular heating and cooling unit, read these tips:

The air filter is usually located in the return air duct or blower compartment before the return air reaches the air handler.

Common locations for air filters include:

  • For horizontal HVAC units with the return duct attached to the side of the air handler, the filter often fits in a slot on the return air (intake) side of the unit.
  • For vertical air handlers with the return air duct entering on the top of the air handler, the filter often slides into a slot above the HVAC unit.
  • Vertical air handlers with the return air duct entering below the air handler have filters which often fit in a slot located below the HVAC unit.
  • With other HVAC systems, the air filter may be located behind the return air grill on a wall in your home.
  • HVAC systems with a return in each room, there may be an air filter behind each of the return grills.

Step 3: Check Power Supply

This can include a circuit breaker and/or a regular wall switch that is close to the unit.

Sometimes people can mistake these power supply switches for a regular light switch. They are usually marked with red warning letters but sometimes these switch plates get changed out for a regular one for one reason or another. Most outdoor units come with a disconnect switch. the switch is similar to a breaker and is sometimes fused.

These are special fuses, so if you notice a blown fuse you can replace it with a like fuse. Try to get an exact replacement.

Step 4: Possible Gas Service Termination

This issue only pertains to you if you have a gas furnace and are experiencing heating problems.

If that’s the case, be sure to check to see if the gas service has been terminated. If the gas company detects a leak they will sometimes, without notice, turn the gas supply off.

Check the meter for a red tag or a lock on the gas valve leading to the meter. This problem would not require a heating and cooling tech. Read more here for signs that your furnace needs a replacement.

red tag heating and cooling

Step 5: Check Condensation Pump or A/C Drain Line

heating and cooling guide a/c water pan

Most A/C units have a water safety switch to stop them from operating if it’s possible water could leak into your home and cause damage. Check the water pan underneath the a/c unit for any signs of of the drain being clogged.

Simply empty out the pan and flush out the drain line. Here are some air conditioning maintenance tips you should know, and 10 A/C myths that may be costing you money.

We detail more about furnace leaks in our article about 12 reasons why your furnace is leaking.

Step 6: Check For Freezing Or Obstructing Units

If you notice any ice on the units, turn it off. Secondly, check the supply vents to ensure they are open and not obstructed. If you don’t find any visual problems leave the unit off and call a heating and cooling service company.

You might have one of two problems – refrigerant leak or low air flow across the evaporator. Nonetheless, if it turns out to be a leak the repair can possibly be made right away, but it all depends on the severity of the leak.

Read More: Why Your Furnace Needs Regular Tune-Ups

Step 7: Read The Heating And Cooling Company Reviews

Our last step in our heating and cooling guide is to read local HVAC company reviews. This step is very important and can sometimes be skipped. Due to the large amount of HVAC companies in any given area, reviews offer the ability to cut through the clutter and narrow down top picks in your area.

Additionally, heating and cooling company reviews are often longer than other industries or just products. You very commonly get to hear about people’s situations and exactly how the tech was able to help. Be sure to look for keywords like “friendly”, “diligent”, “knowledgeable”. These are all great qualities of a service tech and are good signs of a high quality company.

Quick Recap

7 things you must know before calling your local heating and cooling company.

  1. Check Thermostat. Double check and ensure that your thermostat setting is set correctly.
  2. Clean Air Filter. Always make sure your air filter is clean. Routinely clean your air filter when you notice it becoming dirty.
  3. Check Power Supply. You will need to check either the circuit breaker and/or the wall switch that is close to the unit.
  4. Check Gas Furnace Meter. If you have a gas furnace, you may need to check your gas furnace meter and see if the gas service has been terminated due to a leak.
  5. Condensation Pump Or A/C Drain. If a condensation pump or A/C drain is clogged, be sure to check the water pan underneath the A/C unit. Then, empty out the pan and flush out the drain line.
  6. Frozen Or Obstruction On Unit. If this occurs, you either have a refrigerant leak or low air flow across the evaporator.
  7. Read The Reviews. Finally, if you’ve determined that you need a tech to resolve your issue and it’s something you can’t handle on your own, be sure to check out company reviews left on Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc., to get an idea of other customer’s experiences with a company.

Read More: The Differences Between a Heat Pump and Central A/C

Contact Modern HVAC

Hopefully this heating and cooling guide helped you identify some possible solutions to problems you might currently be having with your A/C unit or furnace. Nevertheless, if problems persist or the issue appears to be more serious, be sure to call us at (920) 733-4713! We offer the highest rated heating and cooling service in the area.

Modern HVAC has proudly served our customers since 1963, and we are looking forward to serving the Fox Valley community for many more years to come! Take a look at our heating and cooling services here.

We offer professional air conditioning troubleshooting, heating and furnace installations and repairs, radiant floor heating, and indoor air quality services to Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Darboy, Kimberly, Greenville, and the greater Fox Valley.


Modern Sheet Metal provides furnace and air conditioner service, repair, replacement and installation throughout Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Darboy, Kimberly, Kaukauna and Greenville. Please call us at 920-733-4713 to discuss your residential or commercial heating & cooling needs!