Does your home feel too hot or too cold, no matter what you set on the thermostat? Are strange sounds coming from your air vents? Maybe you’ve even had the dreaded AC breakdown on the hottest day of the year.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Even the best HVAC systems will have the occasional problem. The good news is that some of the most common issues can be easy to solve.

Before you start to panic, there are a few simple things you can check yourself. These quick fixes could save you both time and money, getting your home comfortable in no time. We’ll walk you through the steps to figure out what might be wrong, and whether it’s something you can solve or if you should reach out for help.

Of course, some issues are best left to the experts. We’ll also let you know when it’s time to call the trusted experts at HVAC StarPlus. After all, you want your system working in top shape to beat the long Wilmington summers!

Troubleshooting Common HVAC Problems

1. Clogged Air Filters

Think of your HVAC system as the lungs of your home. Just like you need clean air to breathe, your system needs clean air to work well.

Clogged air filters are like trying to breathe through a stuffed-up nose! It makes your HVAC work much harder to pull in air, which can cause parts to wear out faster.

This could even cause your system to stop working unexpectedly. Plus, a clogged filter can’t trap dust and other things floating in your air, making your home less healthy.


Troubleshooting tips:

  • Locate your filter (check the return air duct or near the air handler).
  • Examine the filter for visible dirt and debris.
  • Replace a disposable filter, or clean a reusable one according to instructions.

The Fix:

  • Regular filter replacement is the most important habit for good HVAC health.

2. Thermostat Malfunctions

Your thermostat is the brain of your HVAC system. It tells your AC or heater when to turn on, turn off, and how hard to work. When your thermostat isn’t working right, it’s like giving your system the wrong directions.

Maybe your home is always too hot or cold, even when you change the settings. Or maybe your system runs all the time, wasting energy and driving up your bills. Thermostat problems can even cause your HVAC to break down when you need it most.



  • Check settings: Ensure it’s on “cool” or “heat” depending on the season, and the desired temperature is correct.
  • Replace batteries: Fresh batteries resolve many common issues.
  • Test against a thermometer: Place a regular thermometer next to the thermostat to see if readings match. If not, you may need a new thermostat.

The Fix:

  • If in doubt, reset the thermostat to factory defaults and reprogram. Consult your HVAC company’s resources for model-specific steps.

3. Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant is a special liquid that makes your AC blow cold air. When your system has a refrigerant leak, it’s slowly losing the stuff that keeps you cool. This means your AC has to work much harder to keep your home at the right temperature.

You might notice your home isn’t as cool as it used to be, or that your energy bills are going up. Left alone, a refrigerant leak can cause bigger, more costly problems for your system.



  • Look for ice: Ice buildup on the AC unit’s coils can indicate a leak.
  • Hissing sounds: Leaks may produce a hissing noise.
  • Poor airflow or less cooling: If the refrigerant is low, your system won’t function as well.

The Fix:

Refrigerant leaks require a trained HVAC professional, never attempt a DIY repair.

4. Strange Noises from HVAC

Think of strange noises from your HVAC system as warning signs. Just like your car might squeak or rattle when something’s wrong, those bangs, screeches, or buzzes are your system trying to tell you it needs attention.

A noisy HVAC might mean a small problem, like a loose screw, that’s easy to fix. But, it could also mean something more serious is going on, like parts wearing out or even about to break.

Ignoring strange noises can leave you with a much bigger repair on your hands, and maybe even needing a whole new system!



  • Identify the noise: Is it a clanging, squealing, buzzing, etc.? The type of noise helps pinpoint the issue.
  • Location: Is it coming from the outdoor unit, the indoor unit, or the ductwork? This narrows down the problem area.

The Fix:

  • Many noisy issues require a professional. Some simple fixes include tightening loose screws or clearing debris from the outdoor unit.

5. Tripped Breakers

Circuit breakers are like safety guards for your home’s electrical system. They keep too much power from flowing at once, which could cause wires to get hot and even start a fire.

When your HVAC trips the breaker, it means the system is trying to pull more power than the circuit can handle. This could be a sign your system is working too hard due to a dirty filter or other problems. Or, it could mean there’s a serious electrical fault.

Repeated breaker trips not only leave you without AC, but can also damage your HVAC system in the long run.



  • Check the breaker box: Find the breaker controlling your HVAC and see if it’s flipped.
  • Reset the breaker: Flip it completely off, then back on. If it trips immediately, leave it off.

The Fix:

  • Recurrent breaker trips indicate a bigger issue needing an electrician or HVAC technician.

Bringing it all together

Dealing with HVAC problems can be a real pain, and it’s always tempting to try and fix things yourself. Hopefully, the tips in this post will help you figure out some of the most common issues and get your home comfortable again. Remember, changing your filter often, along with routine professional care, is the best way to keep your system working well and prevent many problems from happening in the first place.

Of course, sometimes an HVAC issue is just too tricky, or you may not have the time or tools to deal with it. Don’t risk making things worse or creating a bigger repair bill! That’s where we come in. The experts at HVAC StarPlus are always here to help when you have questions or need fast, reliable service to get your AC or heater back on track.

Ready to give yourself some peace of mind?


Call HVAC StarPlus at 910-509-7107 or click HERE to message us online to schedule your free inspection and learn how we can keep your HVAC system working its best for years to come!