Home Troubleshooting Guide
Have a home problem? Take a look at the resources below.
Have You Tried?
- Electrical issues caused by incorrect installation are NOT COVERED UNDER YOUR WARRANTY.
- Check the type of bulbs that you have, as it may be the reason your lights flicker. Fluorescent bulbs sometimes flicker and can be caused everyday factors, including cold temperatures, the bulb burning out while in the socket (tip: replace the tubes to stop this from happening). For LED bulbs, dimmer switches are the most common cause of flickering. Before swapping out your light bulbs, make sure the new light bulbs are compatible.
- Check the wattage of your bulbs. Higher wattage bulbs can cause lights to flicker. Habitat normally installs 60 watt LED light bulbs
- Recessed lights have the same problems found in ordinary ceiling light fixtures (see above). Sometimes recessed light may mysteriously go on and off by itself. This is because recessed lights turn off automatically if the heat reaches an unsafe level. Make sure there is enough air circulation, which will keep the fixture from overheating.
- Circuit breakers can trip for any number of reasons including water damage, frayed wiring, worn fittings, bad connections, or an electrical load that is more than the system can manage. If the breaker keeps tripping, you may have an overloaded circuit with too many things plugged in.
- The first step is to turn off all the lights or appliances from the breaker controls. The next step is to call in a professional electrician who can diagnosis the problem. This is not the sort of job that a do-it-yourselfer can perform. You need a trained and qualified professional to handle the issue correctly.
- Know the location of shut-off valves
- Find Out What’s Flushable- Flushing anything except toilet paper leads to nasty clogs. Even “Flushable” baby wipes can back up the system!
- If your washer machine is not draining properly, you may have too many clothes in the wash. (Remove some of the clothes from the washer machine and try restarting).
- No Power- Sometimes, it only takes a flip of a switch to get your HVAC working properly again. It could be that your circuit breaker has tripped due to a power surge and cut off the power supply. Reset the system to get it up and running again. If the appliance doesn’t work, the issue could be with the outlet; if it does, there could be something wrong with the unit itself – possibly a blown fuse or a faulty motor – that requires the attention of an HVAC professional.
- Weak Airflow- Too much dust in the filters stops airflow. You should clean your air filters and replace them every two to three months. Doing so should improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and the air quality in your home.
- Loud Noises- Is your air conditioner making loud noises? Then you should start your troubleshooting with the fan motor, which is responsible for blowing cool air into the ductwork and hot air out of the house.
- Damaged fans can start making a lot of noise that’s very difficult to ignore. But even trapped dust and debris can make fans noisier than usual. If the latter is the issue, giving your unit a good cleaning might help reduce or get rid of the noise. The thing is it’s not always easy to determine where the noises in your unit are coming from or what’s causing them. To ensure that correct repairs are made, and further damage is avoided, ask an HVAC specialist to check and fix the unit.
Contractor Contact List
Bacon Plumbing: (919) 619-7642
Yellow Dot: (919) 754-8686
Larry Grovenstein Electric: (919) 493-5066
Trofatter Electrics: (919) 522-0355
Frank Brandon Electrical: (919) 556-1425 or (919) 422-8380
The Alarm Man: (919) 682-3379
Required information- closing date, serial and model number of appliance
Call for city emergencies, streetlight out, set up trash can, general
9 HVAC Troubleshooting Tips
- Make Sure Your HVAC System Gas Power
Start by checking your breaker and making sure it hasn’t flipped or blown a fuse. Try flipping the breaker and waiting a few seconds before turning it back on.
- Try Resetting Your HVAC System.
Check your owner’s manual on how to reset the system. If you don’t have the manual, you can find them online by searching the model number of the system.
- Make Sure Your Furnace Door is Closed
If the furnace isn’t producing any heat, open the service door and shut it again. Check to make sure that everything is shut tightly and then try to turn the heater on again.
- Check the Thermostat for Issues
One of the first steps is making sure that the thermostat has power. If it is battery-operated, try changing the batteries. If the thermostat is getting power, check and make sure your temperature settings haven’t been changed. Make sure all your settings are right before moving on from your thermostat.
- Install a New Filter in Your Furnace or AC
An HVAC service technician will be able to properly maintain your system and spot potential issues when they change the filter.
- Check all Vents for Obstructions
If certain parts of your home aren’t getting heated or cooled very well, it is important to check your vents. Sometimes, a vent can get shut or covered without you noticing.
- Turn off the AC
In the summer months, if your AC has been on for an extended amount of time. If your AC doesn’t seem to be cooling, turn off the AC and turn on the fan for a while before trying to use it again. If this doesn’t fix it, or the problem occurs frequently, it is time to call in the experts.
- Check Furnace and AC Wires
Sometimes wires get disconnected or damaged. This can be more common for outside AC units, where exposed wires can be damaged by landscaping equipment. If your system won’t start, it can’t hurt to check. Make sure to be careful and don’t handle any potentially damaged or exposed wires, as they could carry the risk of shock.
- Know When to Call in the HVAC Service Experts
Diagnosing problems with your HVAC system can sometimes be simple, but often it is better to leave it up to the professionals. Many problems with furnaces, AC units, and heat pumps require extensive training to fix and trying to do it yourself could lead to damage and even voided warranties.
*Disclaimer*: All plumbing issues are not covered under warranty. Your warranty does not cover costs caused by self-error. You should contact the city if the issues are coming from the from the sidewalk of your home and beyond (i.e., sewer drain issues).
- Know the shut-off valves– Before moving into a new home, note the location of the main shut-off valve and drain (Ex. Sometimes it is located outside the house)
- Don’t puncture pipes– First determine if there are any supply or drainage pipes behind your work area, since you don’t want to accidentally puncture them. You may be able to locate pipes behind walls with an inexpensive stud finder.
- Find Out What’s Flushable– Flushing anything except toilet paper leads to nasty clogs. Even “flushable” baby wipes can back up system.
- Don’t Put Garbage Down the Drain– Never dump coffee grounds, food debris, bacon grease, vegetable peelings, or starchy foods like rice or potatoes down the kitchen drain; they will almost certainly clog your pipes.
- Take the Plunge– Invest in a high-quality plunger to clear clogs in toilets, sinks, and drains. If you’re planning to clean sink traps, use a plunger to push most of the water out before removing the trap.
- Pull Out the Vacuum– When you are trying to dislodge a clog caused by a small, hard object (i.e., toys, toothbrush, or comb) rely on a wet-dry vacuum. It is more effective to suck the object out.
- Don’t Ignore Leaks– A leaky faucet typically wastes up to eight gallons of water per day, while a running toilet can waste 200 gallons per day.
- Never Over-Tighten Fittings– A common DIY plumbing mistake is over-tightening fittings and connections, which leads to broken bolts and stripped screws. “Hand-tight is just right”.
- Make Friends with Plumber’s Tape– Plumber’s tape aka “Teflon tape” is used to seal pipe threads to prevent leaks around joints and fittings. You typically wrap plumber’s tape three times around the pipe threads before sealing.
- Always Check for Leaks– After every plumbing project, check for leaks by running water through the system, then opening and closing all valves and drains. Even pros may miss a small leak and need to reseal a connection.
Can be caused by several issues such as a sloped yard, short downspout, and/or impacted soil.
Solution 1: Extend Your Downspout- If you find that the runoff causing your yard drainage problems is coming from your gutter system, the fix you’re looking for could be as easy as extending the downspout away from the house so that it doesn’t form puddles around your yard. However, if you are diverting the runoff away from your house, make sure you’re sending it into a storm drain or other safe drainage source and not a neighboring property. (Tools you will need: Additional drain spout material, power drill, pliers, screws, washers and bolts.)
Solution 2: Dig a Creek Bed or Swale- If you have a soggy spot in your yard that a downspout extension can’t fix, you may need an artificial creek or drainage swale to draw water away from low spots. These projects usually involve digging the soil into a long, shallow trench and filling it with gravel and decorative rocks. Assuming your yard has the right downward slope, this installation will essentially act as a slide or runoff to escape through. (Tools you will need: Trench-digging tools such as shovels and spades, gravel, rocks and a method for disposing of excess dirt.)
Solution 3: Install a French Drain and/or Dry Well- A French drain normally consists of a long trench filled with gravel or other substrate materials and a drainage pipe running from the house down the length of the drain. A dry well is usually installed at the endpoint of a creek, swale or French drain and is used to collect and disperse water into the surrounding soil instead of redirecting water away from the house.
(Tools you will need: Waterproof plastic pipe, shovel, post digger, drainage cloth and/or metal or concrete dry well sections, topsoil, rocks and/or gravel)
8 Signs of Bad Wiring
- Frequently tripped circuit breakers- Especially if you have an older home, it’s possible that your individual circuits are being overloaded with too many appliances and fixtures. Have a professional inspect the whole electrical system.
- Flickering or dimming lights- There can be a lot of harmless reasons for flickering lights, such as a loose light bulb or an incompatible dimmer switch. Flickering and dimming can also mean bad wiring, like an overloaded circuit or a faulty electrical component.
- Buzzing or crackling sounds- A lot of people can hear electricity, and it’s not a problem. But if you hear significant buzzing or crackling, that’s not normal! Consider an electrical safety test from you preferred electrician.
- Frayed wires- If a single area of your home seems to be having electrical problems, look at the wiring for switches, outlets, and anything with a plug. If any wires are frayed, they should be replaced – and you may want to look for other signs of a rodent problem, including in your air ducts.
- Aluminum or knob-and-tube wiring- These types of wiring are outdated and could be dangerous due to sheer age and inferior design. Better to upgrade than to be sorry later.
- Warm or vibrating spots on outlets or walls- If there are hot spots anywhere, something is wrong, and you should hire an electrician. Get more tips from Rainbow International® for preventing electrical fires.
- Smoke coming from outlets or appliances- Now it’s getting serious! While you could test the electrical components of your appliances to troubleshoot further, it’s safest to get professional appliance repair and electrical services immediately.
- Burning smells or scorch marks on electrical fixtures. Like the previous sign of bad wiring in a house, this one indicates an urgent problem that should be evaluated by an experienced electrician.
*Disclaimer* Fixing, replacing, or altering wiring in the home will void the warranty on the outlet or appliance.
On average 51,000 electrical home structure fires occur each year, claiming almost 500 lives, injuring more than 1,400 people, and causing more than $1.3 billion in property damage.
- Overloaded circuits
- Faulty connections
- Incorrect materials, for e.g., the wrong gauge of wire.
Shocking Mistakes– In severe cases, electrical shock can cause burns, painful muscle contractions, seizures, and loss of consciousness. A simple mistake like touching incorrect wires together or not making sure the current is off before starting to work is all it would take.
Outdoor Outlets– Any outlet that is installed outside needs a ground fault interrupter button. This will trip the outlet if there is water close to the outlet. A common mistake among home DIY-ers is to use a regular outlet. Water and electricity are a lethal combination.
How can you tell if there are problems with your wiring? – If you become aware of your electrical system, it is a clear sign that something is going wrong. Here are some telltale things to watch out for.
- You must rely on extension cords to meet your needs.
- Lights flicker or glow dimly.
- Smell something funky near plug points or appliances? Electrical malfunctions have a peculiar odor that is a clear warning sign.
- When sparks fly, there is trouble.
- If outlets and switch plates are warm or hot.
- Do your fuses blow regularly? Do breakers keep tripping?
- Any buzzing noise should be immediately seen to.
- The kitchen and bathroom outlets should be special shock-resistant ones that look different from those in the rest of the house.
- Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every 30 days. Replace all smoke and CO detectors at least every 10 years or as instructed by the manufacturer.
- Interconnected, hardwired smoke and CO detectors are best.
Maintenance of the heating system is import Maintenance of the heating system is important to keep it working and in good condition all through the winter months.