FAQ: What is the best approach to troubleshooting HVACR equipment?


Troubleshoot: The process of observing a system to locate and diagnose faults in equipment by means of systematic checking.


Developing and implementing this systematic method of checking is often what separates the expert HVACR service technician from the average one. Using a common-sense approach while utilizing all of your senses will play a key part in diagnosing and then correcting faults in equipment operation.

  • In troubleshooting, the ratio of time spent is often 90% for locating the malfunction to 10% for correcting it. Accordingly, a system of checkpoints will always prove of value.
  • Be prepared-remember that good troubleshooting requires a thorough understanding of the basics.
  • A large part of troubleshooting is visualizing what is happening throughout a system.
  • In projecting your troubleshooting techniques, make two assumptions:
    • First, that all equipment was checked and found satisfactory at system start-up.
    • Second, that the system has functioned properly for an extended period of time before the occasion for service.


Do you have a “system”? By implementing a proven system of checking, along with knowledge of the basics, a service engineer increases his/her chances of correctly diagnosing the problem(s) and then successfully correcting them.


Excerpt from the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society “Technical Manual” series, available at RSES.org.

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