It’s easy to take your heating and air conditioning system for granted. You expect it always to be ready when the weather changes — all you need to do is switch it on and set the thermostat. However, they do break down sometimes. Knowing the symptoms of trouble can help to keep a minor problem from becoming worse in your home.
Poor Cooling or Heating
It’s easy to tell if your air conditioner or heating system stops working entirely. Many times it may just not be doing the job like it used to. If you notice that your HVAC system is running continuously yet the temperature never reaches the setting on your thermostat, it’s time for a checkup.
There are several reasons why the air coming out of your heating or air conditioning vents isn’t as strong as it should be. You may notice that one or more rooms are significantly colder or warmer than the rest of the house. There may be a blockage or tear in the air ducts or flexible hoses that serve air flow in that section. If you notice reduced airflow in every room, it could indicate a problem with one of the HVAC components.
Image via Flickr by Runder
A healthy HVAC system with a clean air filter is supposed to make your home smell better, not worse. If the air that comes from your vents smells musty, there’s a good chance you have mold growing in the air ducts or the unit itself. Your HVAC technician can address this problem. Another common odor is a burning electrical smell, which may indicate a wiring problem or a failing motor. If you smell this, shut off your system immediately and call for repairs.
During regular operation, your HVAC system should be relatively quiet. If you hear unusual noises, such as rattling or banging, they could indicate a loose component in the blower or motor. Squealing or grinding sounds may be caused by a belt that needs replacing or a motor that needs lubrication. If the noises are very loud, shut off the system until it can be repaired.
Increased Energy Bills
Nobody likes spending more than they have to on utility bills. If you’ve done everything possible to reduce it, such as turning out lights in empty rooms or using cold water for your laundry, yet it’s still higher than it used to be, there may be a problem with your HVAC unit. Reduced airflow from a blockage or a dirty air filter could be making your system work harder than it should, using extra power. It could also mean that it’s time to replace the system with a more efficient model.
Being observant to the signs that your HVAC needs a checkup or repair could save you money and prevent your family’s discomfort. Better still, contact your HVAC service company to schedule a tuneup and inspection twice a year. This way, you can extend the life of your unit and have peace of mind that the system will be reliable all year long.