The short answer is none. There should be no delay before you call a HVAC company, if you’re concerned about the condition of your heating and cooling system. Sadly, many homeowners don’t follow this advice to save money and it ultimately costs them more in the medium to long term. It always makes better sense to contact a HVAC company earlier and that will be the focus of this article.

Adopting a Preventative Mindset

The best way to mitigate the risk of an unexpected HVAC repair bill is to adopt a preventative mindset. As the old adage goes “prevention is better than the cure” and this is very true when it comes to your heating and cooling equipment. It’s a great idea to schedule some essential maintenance ahead of each heating and cooling season. A HVAC technician can check key components, carry out cleaning, find minor issues and fix them earlier. An earlier repair is almost always less expensive than fixing a larger problem later. Well maintained systems tend to run better, they are more energy efficient and this can save you money on your energy bills too.

Early Detection and Repairs Save You Money

Many people believe that their heating and cooling systems fail with no warning and that isn’t true. Every HVAC system is complex, there are mechanical, electrical and electronic components that rely on each other for smooth and efficient operation. When components start to fail, you will get some warning signs and it’s important to take them seriously. Here are four signs that you need to call your local HVAC company today.

1.   Slow Furnace Response Times

When you call for heat in the morning by turning up the thermostat, you should get some heat in around 5 minutes. If you notice that it’s taking longer, it’s probably a sign that your furnace is struggling to ignite. If the furnace isn’t igniting correctly, there are a few possible causes to investigate. There could be a build-up of carbon on the burners that’s preventing the ignition or the ignition sensor may be starting to fail. These minor issues are pretty easy to fix, but there could be a more extensive problem. The furnace could be failing or there may be a connection failure between the furnace and your gas line. Attempting a DIY repair on your furnace is not recommended because it’s easy to make the problem worse and cause a serious accident. Contact your local heating and cooling specialist and they can identify and fix the problem safely.

2.   The Furnace Will Not Turn On

As you can imagine, this is simply unacceptable when the weather turns colder outdoors. If you’re lucky, this may be a very simple fix, sometimes the thermostat batteries run out of juice and they need replacing. Remember that the thermostat is the “brain” of your entire HVAC system and if it’s not working it’s unlikely that you will get adequate performance. Another simple problem is a tripped fuse on the circuit that supplies power to your furnace. If you check both of these potential problems and you can’t find anything wrong, it’s a sign that you have a major problem. Contact your local certified HVAC specialist and they can inspect your furnace to find the cause. There may be malfunctioning components or overheating problems that are preventing your furnace from working correctly. This is a time sensitive repair because the longer you leave it, the colder your home will become.

3.   Strange Noises

Under normal operating conditions, you may hear some noises from your HVAC system. The rush of air through an open vent or the click of the furnace ignition will all make a sound that you may hear. Over time, you will become used to these faint sounds and they will become familiar. But, if you start to hear unusual noises, this is a sure sign that there is some kind of problem. Let’s take a look at the three most common warning noises in a little more detail, they are: squealing, booming, and grinding.

Squealing: This is often caused by a problem with a blower motor belt that’s slipping or wearing out. Another cause could be the blower motor bearings which are failing. Both of these problems will cause a failure and they can even shorten the useful lifespan of your furnace.

Booming: The most common cause of a loud booming noise is a burner assembly that’s clogged with a buildup of carbon. A thorough cleaning can remove the carbon particles and get the furnace working again. A more serious problem is an ignition issue that’s caused a buildup of unburned gas inside the combustion chamber. This can be dangerous and it’s important to get the furnace checked out by an HVAC professional immediately.

Grinding: This is probably the cage blower wheel, it may be loose and moving around. This component can cause further damage to other parts of your HVAC system and fixing it must be a priority.

If you hear any of these unusual noises it’s important to turn the furnace off and contact your local certified heating and cooling specialist.

4.   Cold Air Only

If you can only feel cold air at the vent, the first thing to check is the thermostat to make sure it’s set to the “Heat” setting. This may seem silly, but many homeowners forget to change the setting when the season changes and this is a common mistake. Another possible cause is a clogged furnace filter that needs to be changed. When the airflow is compromised, the furnace will be less efficient and this can lead to a lack of heating. Changing the air filter is easy and full instructions are in the owner’s manual for your HVAC system. There are four other things to check, they are: the pilot light went out (if you have one), an ignition problem, leaky ductwork, and a defective or dirty flame sensor.

If you’re experiencing problems with your heating and cooling system, contact your local certified HVAC specialist today.