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HVAC Symptom Self Check

Here are some things you can check. If you’re still having trouble afterwards, we’d be happy to help.

What to Check:

Is There Power to the Unit?

  • Check fuse or breaker box. Make sure they don’t need to be replaced or reset.
  • Remember, if your electrical power is out or disconnected, your system won’t work unless you have a backup power source like a generator.

What Are Your Thermostat Settings?

  • Is the screen on your thermostat blank? Try changing the batteries. If that doesn’t work, you probably need to give us a call.
  • Is the thermostat set to cool or heat mode and not “off”?
  • Make sure it’s set to the right temperature setting

No Heat / Insufficient Heat

  • If you’ve had major repairs to your home recently? Check to see if gas or electricity has been turned off. Turning it back on may solve the problem.
  • Check your thermostat. Is it set to heat? What temperature is it set for? If your thermostat is turned off or set incorrectly, turn on and/or reset thermostat.
  • Check the circuit and fuse box. If you have an open breaker or blown fuse, switch on the circuit or replace the fuse.
  • Review our list of Heating System Symptoms & Repairs 

No Cooling / Insufficient Cooling

  • Check the doors and windows in your home. Close any open doors or windows as heat and humidity may be getting in through them.
  • Check your thermostat. Is it set to cool? What temperature is it set for? If your thermostat is turned off or set incorrectly, turn on and/or reset thermostat.
  • Check the circuit and fuse box. If you have an open breaker or blown fuse, switch on the circuit or replace the fuse.
  • Check the condenser (outdoor unit). If there are leaves, hedges, children’s toys, etc closely surrounding or sitting on top of it, the unit’s capacity will be significantly reduced. Make sure your outdoor unit has 1′ of clearance all around it.
  • Review our list of Common A/C Compressor Symptoms & Repairs

No Airflow

  • Check the filters in each of your system components (where applicable). If any of your filters are dirty, consult your manual to clean or replace it.
  • Check to see if there is any air coming through your vent. Your indoor blower may not be operating. If this is the case, you should give us a call.
  • Review our list of Air Flow Symptoms

Stale and Stuffy Air

Too Dry or Too Much Moisture in the Air

  • Check to make sure your humidifier is switched on. Many times, homeowners turn off the humidifier at the end of the previous heating season and forget to turn it back on when needed.
  • Make sure your humidifier’s damper or water valve is open. If it’s closed, consult your manual to open or unclog.
  • Check your humidifier setting and adjust the indoor relative humidity settings to bring greater comfort to your home.
  • Review our list of Whole House Humidifier Symptoms

Noisy Air Vents

  • A high pitched or whistling sound often, although not always, indicates a lack of return air. Make sure your return and supply vents are open and free of any blockages including furniture.
  • Other noises (e.g., rattling, humming, thumping or scraping sounds) could be a sign of undersized or flimsy duct work, clogged filter or wear and tear on your system’s internal components. If you hear an unusual sound, give us a call.
  • Review our list of Common AC & Furnace Noises and Smells

Having trouble with your central heating and air? Call (865) 412-4557 or book online.

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Specific items to Check


We all know that furnaces can sometimes break down or stop working properly. But before calling a HVAC technician, checkout our basic troubleshooting guide. You may be able to take care of common furnace issues yourself and save money on a service call.

Heating system symptom checker

  • Thermostat Anytime you have furnace problems, your first step should be to check the thermostat. Ensure it is set higher than room temperature and set at “heat.” Turn the fan switch to on. If the fan doesn’t turn on, it’s possible the furnace isn’t getting power or the motor is broken.
  • Filter A dirty filter can cause your furnace to stop working. How often you change your filter will depend on your furnace, the type of filter and your lifestyle. To change your filter, remove the old, dirty filter and replace with new one. Wait 30 minutes before restarting your furnace or heat pump. Ensure that your furnace door is on properly after changing the filter as this can prevent the furnace from starting.
  • Is the furnace on? Double check that your furnace is turned on. Start by checking the breaker in your electrical panel. If the breaker was tripped, check for loose connections before turning it back on. Also make sure that the furnace switch is turned on. The switch is usually located near the furnace and looks like a light switch.
  • Look for blockage If you’ve checked all of the above, see if any debris – snow, ice, weeds or grass – are blocking your furnace venting.
  • Blower fan Not all furnaces have a power button for the blower fan, but if yours does, check to make sure it’s on.
  • Gas on? Check to see if the gas is turned on at the meter. If not, contact your utility company prior to turning it on.
  • Call Blue Water If you’ve followed our above furnace system checker suggestions and your unit still isn’t working, call Blue Water Climate Control (865) 412-4557 or Book Online.


Your A/C unit’s compressor is responsible for cooling the refrigerant that cools the air in your home. It’s a vital part of your system, so it’s important that you’re able to identify A/C compressor symptoms and take care of issues before they turn into costly repairs.

The air compressor is found on the outside portion of the system—within the large condensing unit. A/C compressors act as the mechanical pump that is responsible for circulating and compressing the refrigerant so that your family stays cool on even the hottest of days. Because it stays outdoors, it can also be outside our frame of mind when things go wrong. However, if you’re experiencing the following four air conditioning symptoms, there may be something going on with your A/C compressor:

  1. Not running – If you can hear your compressor click or hum but it isn’t doing anything, it could be an electrical issue or a problem with the compressor. It’s best to give us a call if this is the case.
  2. Excessively hot – The compressor is the high voltage, high amperage portion of your unit. When malfunctioning, they’ve been known to smoke, melt wires, and even catch fire. You should immediately call 911 if you see a fire. If it is just hot, open the circuit breaker and give us a call.
  3. Tripped circuit
  4. Noisy machine – While most A/C units outdoors make a degree of noise while it’s cooling your home, the noise coming from your unit seems to be a bit excessive. Also, you’re hearing noises you’ve never heard your system make before.

If you’re experiencing any of the above A/C compressor symptoms, you may be experiencing the beginnings of system failure. As always, if you sense that something may not be working properly, call Blue Water Climate Control (865) 412-4557 or Book Online. Professional maintenance and/or repair may be able to prevent those costly repairs down the road.

Air Flow 

Poor airflow is the number one heating and air problem. Improper air flow is a result of any number of issues including:

  • Undersized unit
  • Improperly installed unit
  • Poorly designed and/or installed ductwork
  • Blower fan malfunction
  • Furniture or debris blocking ducts or returns
  • Dirty blower fan or duct work
  • Dirty filters

However, there are plenty of HVAC air handler troubleshooting you can do without calling an HVAC technician.

Perform air handler troubleshooting by checking these components:

  • Ductwork – Try to determine if there are holes or barriers preventing adequate air to move freely within the ductwork. If some rooms seem to heat or cool more readily than others, it may be a sign that previous work had been done on the ducts and air is escaping. Holes or seams should be sealed with duct tape, and barriers in the ductwork should be removed.
  • Air Filter – Be sure to check the air filter and replace if necessary. A dirty air filter can cause your HVAC system to go into overdrive and result in costly energy bills.
  • Registers – Check to make sure registers are open and not covered.

If you believe your unit is running well but isn’t cooling or heating your home, let us recommend our Free Home Comfort Audit. What we’ll check:

  • AC System installed and setup properly
  • Duct system design and installation
  • Return location
  • Thermostat location
  • Humidifiers/dehumidifiers
  • Thermal imaging
  • Humidity
  • Zone systems

Indoor Air Quality 

We all like our homes to be clean and clutter free. But what about the air we breathe inside of our homes? We want that to be clean, too. Indoor air can be 5 times as contaminated with toxins, including dust mites, pollen, mold and other unwanted air pollutants, as the air outdoors. Indoor air quality is now one of the EPA’s top five environmental risks to public health, it’s more important than ever before to ensure the air we breathe indoors and outdoors is safe and healthy.

How You Can Improve Indoor Air Quality

There are plenty of ways to improve indoor air quality. Per the EPA, the top 3 strategies to reduce indoor air pollutants are Remove the Source, Improve Ventilation, and Air Cleaners. Below are a few suggestions to get you thinking about how to improve air quality in your home:

  • Remove the source – This is typically the most difficult. Some of the most significant sources of indoor air pollutants are indoor cooking, building materials, furniture, paint, and cleaning solutions. These are hard to simply get rid of but there are several things you can do to remove the source. Frequent cleaning and dusting, use strong chemicals outdoors, use your exhaust fan above your stove when cooking, change air filters regularly, and take care of water leaks as soon as possible.
  • Increased ventilation – Opening up the windows is a great first step in improving the air quality of your home. During the winter, we often keep all of our windows closed for months on end, but it’s important to remember that while it is cold outside, it’s also important to get the air in our homes circulating. Consider opening up your windows for a couple of minutes a few times a week—while it may drop the temperature in your house, the fresh air will do wonders for the quality of the air in your home. A more energy efficient way to get fresh air into the home is to install a whole-home air ventilator. Ventilators work with your HVAC system and can save energy by retaining the heat of stale air before it is moved out of the house.
  • Air cleaning – Whether it’s common air pollutants, seasonal allergies or dander from our furry friends, air cleaners can dramatically improve the quality of the air in our homes. Blue Water Climate Control’s air cleaners feature filters that are up to 15 times more effective than a standard throw away filter. Plus, because air cleaners work with your HVAC system and not just in one particular room, you can be sure that the air you breathe upstairs is the same as the air you breathe downstairs.

Blue Water Climate Control has a variety of air quality add-on components and products, including air cleaners and air purifiers to help you keep your home cool, comfortable and clean. Blue Water Climate Control can help you keep the air you breathe clean, as well as keep everyone in your family comfortable with ways to improve indoor air quality.


whole-home humidifier is a necessary add-on component for anyone living in a dry climate—especially during the winter months. Too little moisture in the air can cause dry skin, frequent “shocks” and static cling, and respiratory problems. It can also take a toll on your home; dry air is not good for antique furniture, houseplants or wood floors. However, if you already have a whole-home humidifier and you’re still experiencing discomfort, your system may not be working properly.

What to do when your whole house humidifier is not working

Repairs should always be left to professionals, but there are a few things you can do at home to troubleshoot possible problems with your humidifier. If your whole house humidifier is not working as well as it should be, follow these easy steps:

  • Turn off the power and water supply.
  • Loosen the nuts or remove clips on the cover, then remove.
  • Remove drum and check the foam pad for mineral build up from the water being used in your humidifier. If the pad feels hard, either clean or replace the pad.
  • Turn on the water supply again.
  • Allow the reservoir to fill and then reassemble the cover.
  • Turn power supply back on.

After you have performed this maintenance, wait about one hour, check the water supply again and adjust accordingly.

If you regularly check up and clean your humidifier and are still experiencing dryness—or too much humidity—in your home, you may have a furnace humidifier problem that should be handled by a professional. Let us recommend our Free Home Comfort Audit. What we’ll check:

  • AC System installed and setup properly
  • Duct system design and installation
  • Return location
  • Thermostat location
  • Humidifiers/dehumidifiers
  • Thermal imaging
  • Humidity
  • Zone systems

Noises & Smells 

Sometimes unpleasant smells and noises coming from an HVAC unit can indicate a problem with the system that could require maintenance or repair. If you’re experiencing air conditioner noise or if your air conditioner smells a bit funny, there may an issue inside your system. Components that could experience these problems include:

  • Compressor – While compressors are noisy by nature, if your compressor is making loud or unusual noises, it may be worn out.
  • Drive Shaft or Fan Blower Motor – If the drive motor is making loud noises, it may need some lubrication. All motors need to be lubricated at all times, otherwise it will wear out. Loud noises may be either situation.
  • Fan Blade – If one of the fan blades break off, it can start rubbing against the house and cause unwanted noise.

If the air from your system smells musty, it may be due to mold and/or mildew build up in your duct system. One way to get rid of this is to change the filter and clean the drip pan in your HVAC system. Clean using bleach or white vinegar to make sure the area is no longer hospitable to mold growth.

Common furnace noises and their causes

There are several furnace noises listed below, some of which could indicate a problem with the unit. If you’re concerned about a furnace noise contact Blue Water Climate Control to schedule an HVAC check-up:

  • Screech – This could be a problem with your motor or fan belt.
  • Chirp – Chirping sounds are fairly common with furnaces and usually the natural noise of the mechanisms.
  • Rattle – Rattling noises typically happen when the system is cooling down and is not usually cause for alarm.
  • Boom – When the weather outside warms up or cools down, the ductwork in your house expands and contracts. If this happens and your furnace smells like it’s burning, you might have a dirty burner in your furnace or a defective gas valve.
  • Ping – This sound can also be caused by contracting and expanding ducts.
  • Hum – When the furnace burner lights, it may cause a humming sound.
  • Whine – Whining or odd vibrating noise may indicate a problem with your furnace.
  • Crackle
  • Clunk – Clunking or bumping sounds often means you have a cracked belt.

The best way to determine whether your furnace is making an odd sound is to learn what it sounds like during normal operation, and note any changes in the type or volume of sound as the unit ages. If you notice a significant change, call your Blue Water Climate Control to schedule an inspection.

Why Blue Water Climate Control?

Keeping Life More Enjoyable
  • Family Operated
    The heart of our business is more than making a profit. It’s about bringing the standard of care we have for each other to serving you and your family.
  • Veteran Owned
    Approaching your home with respect and accountability is who we are, and we’re proud of our culture that embraces hard work, honesty, and integrity.
  • Knoxville Based
    Don’t waste time with a company that doesn’t know what it means to live in East Tennessee. We’ll bring years of experience serving the Knoxville community to your home.