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Commonly Reported HVAC Problems:

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High Electric Bills:

electric heating elements

Shown above: Supplemental Electric Resistance Heater Package

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Like the previous complaint, if you are experiencing this problem in the cooling mode during the summer, you should probably call for service; assuming you have checked the obvious things - like an open window for example. This is for the most part, a winter-time heating complaint.

Many things can cause high electric bills. This includes a mistake from the electric company, a poorly insulated home, an open window, old, inefficient appliances such as electric water heaters, refrigerators and freezers, and of course, just wasting energy.

Ruling these things out, however, usually leaves just one culprit - the heating system, especially if it is a heat pump. The electric bill will naturally be higher in the coldest months because that is when your heat pump and the supplemental heat (electric resistance heat, also known as the Emergency Heat) runs the most. But if your electric bills are suddenly significantly higher than normal, it is almost always a sign of a problem with the heat pump.

This can range from minor problems like a tripped breaker for the outdoor unit, or a very dirty air filter, to moderate problems like an iced-up outdoor unit, or refrigerant leak, to severe problems like a damaged compressor.

refrigerant leak in outdoor unit

Below is a list of possible causes. Items in red usually require a service call. Items in blue however can be addressed, some even fixed by the homeowner.


Red = Professional fix | Blue = Homeowner fix

  • Outdoor unit not running, using back-up heat
  • Low refrigerant charge
  • Refrigerant flow-related problem - restriction/bad metering device
  • Poor efficiency- needs cleaning and servicing
  • Bad reversing valve
  • Bad compressor valves
  • Compressor not running
  • Running in A/C mode
  • Outdoor unit iced-up because of a malfunction
  • Undersized equipment and/or ductwork
  • Outdoor unit iced-up - weather related
  • Snow drift against outdoor unit
  • Outdoor unit not running - check breaker
  • Extremely dirty air filter
  • Return duct leakage - pulling in cold, unconditioned air
  • Poorly insulated house, air leaks
  • Poorly insulated house, air leaks

Please keep in mind that the information found on our website is provided free of charge and Hannabery HVAC does not assume any liability resulting from the information we provide. We hope this information helps, but please note that these are just rough guidelines, and not all possible situations are covered. Your HVAC system should be inspected and repaired by a trained technician.

Commonly Reported HVAC Problems

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We look forward to having the opportunity to serve you. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.