How to Troubleshoot an HVAC Package Unit Heater


Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) package unit heaters are single packaged air conditioners with heat designed for outdoor installation on a rooftop or on a slab. Package units are completely assembled at the factory and include all the piping, refrigerant charge and electrical wiring. HVAC package units just need connections for the ducts, electric, fuel source and condensate drain at the site. They aren't suitable for use with conventional venting systems. However, many of the same considerations come into play when troubleshooting.

Things You'll Need

  • Filter
  • Gain access to the equipment, which is either on the roof or outside adjacent to the building.

  • Visually check the condition of the equipment. Make sure there is a return air duct coming from the building to the HVAC packaged unit and that it is still attached. It must be sealed too. Make sure there is no loose duct tape flapping around. Check for an air filter. The air filter should have been replaced immediately after installation.

  • Make sure the unit can draw outside air. Package units mustn't be installed inside. If the unit isn't on the roof or outside you will need to move it.

  • Check that the unit looks clean. It should have been cleaned following final construction clean up. You can remove the side panels and look. Change the filters if in any doubt.

  • Make sure there's a functioning thermostat. Make changes to the temperature setting on the thermostat and try to get the package unit to kick-in. Check the power supply if you can't get it to work. Make sure any master switches are on.

  • Check for buildup of snow and leaves if the unit has been in place for a considerable length of time. Clear any leaves and snow. The unit is supposed to be installed away from prevailing winds to avoid ice buildup---but sometimes that's neglected.

  • Make sure the condensate drain is routed to a suitable drain and not blocked.

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