10 Common HVAC Problems Wisconsin Homeowners Should Be Wary Of

 In Air Conditioning, HVAC

Wisconsin’s varied climate, with its frigid winters and muggy summers, makes home comfort a top priority.

Homeowners often rely on HVAC systems to maintain a comfortable environment, no matter the weather. However, HVAC systems are not immune to issues. In fact, they’re more prone to problems due to constant use and the unpredictable nature of nature itself.

Understanding and being able to address common HVAC issues can save you from discomfort and potentially costly repairs.

Here are ten common HVAC problems that Wisconsin homeowners encounter and how you can address them like a pro.

1. Poor Indoor Air Quality

Air pollution is often thought of as an outdoor issue, but the reality is that the air inside your home can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside. Poor indoor air quality can exacerbate respiratory issues, trigger allergies, and lead to a host of other health problems.

Solution – Improve Ventilation and Maintain Your System

  •     Keep your air filters clean or replace them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  •     Use air purification products to remove dust, pollen, and other airborne particles.
  •     Install an Energy Recovery Ventilator for fresh, clean air
  •     Schedule regular HVAC maintenance to keep your system clean and functioning efficiently.

2. Thermostat Malfunctions

The thermostat serves as the brain of your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system, orchestrating the temperature and ensuring your environment remains comfortable.

If it starts to malfunction, you could notice erratic temperature changes, making your living space too hot or too cold. We often see old, outdated thermostats which may lead to system failure.

Solution – Regular Checking and Upkeep

  •     Ensure your thermostat is securely attached and level.
  •     Change batteries in digital thermostats annually.
  •     Consider an upgrade to a programmable or smart thermostat for better efficiency and control.

3. Air Flow Issues

Restricted airflow in HVAC systems can lead to a variety of issues, significantly impacting efficiency and comfort. These issues range from inadequate cooling or heating performance, making it difficult to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, to more severe problems such as frozen coils. The latter can result in costly repairs and potential damage to the system if not addressed promptly.

Solution – Unblock and Clean Ducts and Registers

  •     Ensure your vents are not blocked by furniture, curtains, or other items.
  •     Leave all supply and return vents open to ensure good airflow.
  •     Clean your vents and ducts periodically to remove any obstructions.
  •     Make sure the outdoor unit is not obstructed by debris or vegetation.

4. Leaky Ducts

Over time, the ductwork in a home or building can develop cracks or leaks due to age, wear and tear, or improper installation. This deterioration results in the loss of conditioned air—either cool or warm—before it can reach the intended living spaces.

Solution – Duct Sealing and Insulation

  •     Inspect your ducts for any visible signs of damage and seal them properly.
  •     Make sure ducts in unconditioned spaces (attics, crawl spaces, etc.) are sealed and insulated.
  •     Hire a professional for a complete ductwork analysis and necessary repairs.

5. Refrigerant Leaks

If your air conditioner is running low on refrigerant, this typically indicates a leak within the system. A leak can significantly impair the efficiency of your air conditioning unit, causing it to work harder to cool your space, or it may prevent the system from functioning altogether.

Solution – Seek Professional Repair

  •     Only licensed professionals should handle refrigerant repairs.
  •     Regularly service your AC system to catch leaks early and prevent damage to other components.
  •     Consider an HVAC service agreement for routine maintenance and early issue detection.

6. Noisy Operation

Unusual sounds emanating from machinery, such as grinding, squealing, or rattling noises, can indicate potential internal damage or a malfunctioning component. These auditory cues should not be ignored as they often signal that something within the system is not operating as it should, possibly leading to more significant issues if left unattended.

Solution – Addressing Specific Sounds

  •     Squealing may indicate a slipped or frayed blower belt or a motor is starting to fail.
  •     Rattling could signify a loose part within the system that requires tightening.
  •     A grinding noise may mean the motor’s bearings are failing and need replacement.

7. Ignition or Pilot Control Problems

If your furnace has trouble starting or staying on, the issue could lie with the ignition or pilot.

Solution – Professional Repair and Maintenance

  •     If you have a newer system, ignition problems often indicate the need for professional maintenance.
  •     Older systems may require pilot light adjustment or replacement of an ignitor or flame sensor.
  •     Keep the area around the furnace and furnace vents clean and free of debris to avoid ignition issues.

8. Electronic Control Failure

Electronic control failure could occur in your air conditioning system due to a variety of reasons, resulting in your system not keeping up or short cycling on and off more often than necessary, which can strain the system.

Solution – Monitor Cycling and Professional Assessment

  •     Regularly inspect and monitor the on-off cycling pattern of your system.
  •     Hire a professional to check the voltage and electrical connections.
  •     Consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model if your current one is particularly old or has frequent issues.

9. Clogged Drain Lines

Your air conditioner’s drain lines may clog with dirt, algae, and other debris, which can lead to a system failure or water damage in your home.

Solution – Regular Maintenance and Clearing Debris

  •     Make sure your drain lines are clean and clear
  •     Add a small amount of bleach or vinegar to the line seasonally to prevent buildup.
  •     Schedule professional maintenance to thoroughly clean and inspect the drain lines.

10. General Wear and Tear

Over time, your HVAC system’s efficiency declines due to natural wear and tear on its components.

Solution – Upkeep and Timely Repair

  •     Stay diligent with cleaning and replacing air filters.
  •     Schedule annual professional maintenance to detect and address wear and tear.
  •     Be aware of your system’s performance over the years to know when replacement may be more cost-effective than repairs.


By being proactive about HVAC maintenance and addressing issues as they arise, you can keep your system running smoothly and efficiently. Remember, when in doubt, it’s always best to seek professional HVAC service in Madison, WI. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Having trouble with your HVAC system?

Don’t wait for a small problem to turn into a home comfort disaster. Contact Pharo Heating & Cooling today to speak with our comfort specialists.  At Pharo Heating & Cooling, we’ve been committed to providing quality, affordable HVAC services since our inception in 1983. Call us any time at (608) 849-5410, and we’ll be there to provide the top-notch service you deserve.

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