Furnaces and thermostats are not mix-and-match appliances. Using the wrong type of thermostat with a furnace will cause operating problems and can be dangerous. Although thermostats look similar, they are designed very differently. There are numerous types of heating systems and thermostat systems and they need to be coordinated for safe and proper operation. There are three types of thermostat systems used today: millivoltage, low voltage, and line voltage.
If the condenser coils are clogged, the compressor can overheat and shut down. You’ll experience intermittent periods of minimal cooling, followed by no cooling. Even if you’re “sure” the condenser coils are clean, clean them again. Turn off the power. Flip the air conditioning service and furnace circuit breakers in your main electrical panel to the “Off” position. Next, turn off the power switch right at the furnace or air handler. Then yank the disconnect block (Photo 1) and clean the condenser coils (Photo 2). If the air conditioning service still doesn’t work properly after you’ve cleaned the condenser coils, installed a new filter and opened all the supply vents, proceed with the following repairs.
You turn on your heating system because you have to. Many of our customers find cooling the home to be more natural than heating it. You certainly don’t look forward to that burst of unpleasant odor when you first turn on your heating system. Apart from unpleasant odors, you may also not look forward to the thin, dry, feel of the heated air that makes your nose dry and causes those irritating static shocks. Perhaps the heated air in your home never feels quite right. There’s just a hint of excess heat, but you don’t dare adjust the thermostat because then your home will feel too cold.
A contactor is a $25 mechanical relay that uses low-voltage power from the thermostat to switch 220-volt high-amperage current to the compressor and condenser fan. AC contactors can wear out and are at the top of the list of common air conditioning service failures. Even if your contactor is working, it pays to replace it every five years or so. Unscrew the old contactor before removing the wires. Then move the wires to the new unit (photo 6).