Let’s face it; life can tend to throw things at us at the worst possible times. This can range from minor annoyances to more significant problems, and this is very applicable when it comes to your HVAC system. Most of us take our HVAC systems for granted. We adjust the thermostat and expect everything to work in a flawless fashion. Most of the time, this is true, but if we don’t schedule regular maintenance for our heating and cooling equipment, it will eventually fail. This often occurs when the temperature is hot or cold outside, and we may need to wait for a technician because many other people are in the same boat. But, the good news is that HVAC systems don’t typically stop working without any warning at all, so here are seven signs that there could be something wrong with your system.
- Increased Energy Bills
If you keep a close eye on your energy bills, you will notice that they tend to fluctuate throughout the year. This is natural; the weather changes, and during periods of extreme cold or heat, there will be additional demands on your HVAC system. But, these changes should follow a pattern, and if your bills seem to rise continually throughout the year, this is a warning sign. It’s likely that your HVAC system is steadily losing efficiency, and it requires some professional servicing.
- A Reduction in Airflow
This is often accompanied by a reduction in the indoor air quality (IAQ) in your home. If you have any allergy sufferers or people with pre-existing breathing conditions, they may notice the problem first. Some typical poor IAQ symptoms include eye irritation, sore throat, frequent headaches, coughing, airway infections, and irritation around the nose and mouth. If this situation sounds familiar, contact your local HVAC specialist and ask them to take a look at your system. Regular vacuuming, cleaning, mopping, and other tasks can help to reduce the spread of dust, dirt, and pollen. But, there could be contaminants in your ductwork that are harder to reach without professional cleaning tools.
- Strange Odors
If you can detect any unusual odors, this is a surefire warning that you have an HVAC system problem. The type of odor that you can detect may give you additional clues about the exact cause of the problem. Let’s take a look at some possible odors and their causes:
An Electrical Burning Smell: This is usually caused by an overheating issue that is typically related to the motor or other electrical components. In extreme cases, this can even develop into an electrical fire that is extremely dangerous for everyone in the home. If you detect this type of door, turn the equipment off, get everyone out of the home, and contact your local HVAC specialist immediately.
A “Rotten Egg” Odor: This is caused by a natural gas leak, which is extremely dangerous because it often a precursor to a fire or explosion. This odor is intentionally added to natural gas as a warning for users. If you detect a gas leak, you must evacuate the home and do not return until an HVAC specialist has checked everything out for you.
A Must or Moldy Smell: As you might imagine, the source of this odor is usually caused by the growth of mold in your home. The usual cause is moisture that has escaped into the ducts where it has grown in the warm internal surfaces. Mold spores are extremely bad for your IAQ, and they often exacerbate allergies. The solution is to get the ductwork professionally cleaned and sanitized. After this process, many people are pleasantly surprised by the improvement in their IAQ. The air feels cleaner and fresher, and allergy sufferers find breathing easier.
- Strange Noises
Your HVAC system has a number of mechanical moving parts, including motors and fans that, under normal operating circumstances, make little to no noise. But, if you can hear strange sounds, such as grating, squealing, grinding, and others, it’s a sure sign that there is a problem. Perhaps a part has come loose, or it is out of alignment, and it is interfering with another component? Finding the exact cause is beyond the scope of DIY, and it’s a better idea to contact a local HVAC specialist and ask them to take a look. Don’t wait too long. This type of problem will only get worse over time, and this will lead to a more expensive repair bill.
- Puddles of Water
There should never be puddles of water under or around your HVAC unit. This can cause some serious problems, and it’s important to find the source of the leak and fix it quickly. There is a risk to the HVAC equipment and the water damage that can be caused to your home. Water leaks can cause a great deal of damage in a short period of time, and it can be expensive to fix.
- Uneven Performance Issues
If you notice that you have hot and cold spots or certain rooms are at different temperatures, this means that your HVAC system is not performing at optimal efficiency. This is a common trait in older HVAC systems that have not been maintained for a while. It could also be caused by a poor system installation when the equipment was new. Uneven temperatures can be uncomfortable, but it can cause other problems, and it needs to be addressed.
- The HVAC System Age
An HVAC system is designed to work for 10-15 years before a replacement is required. If you want your equipment to work well towards the upper end of that range, it requires regular annual servicing from a professional HVAC technician. After around ten years of use, even a well maintained system loses some efficiency. According to industry experts, a modern HVAC system is 60% more efficient than a system that was made a decade ago. So, if you want better performance and energy efficiency and your HVAC system is more than ten years old, it may be time to install a new system.
If you want to improve the performance and energy efficiency of your HVAC system, contact your local heating and cooling specialist today.