Hints that May be Time to Schedule an HVAC System Evaluation

HVAC system problems range from quick fixes to serious repairs. Even small issues can be harmful to the unit, though, and they can run up your utility bill. To keep your HVAC system in great shape, you should schedule regular maintenance inspections and contact a professional as soon as you notice a problem. By being familiar with the most common indicators of an HVAC malfunction, you can have the problem fixed right away. Here are eight signs that it's time to schedule an HVAC evaluation:

1. Increased Energy Bill

You can expect your energy bill to fluctuate throughout the year, especially living in an area that experiences four distinct seasons. However, unexplained changes are a sign that something is wrong. Your HVAC unit shouldn't suddenly need more energy to do the same job.

If you're unsure of whether or not a change in your bill is reasonable, look back on your statements from previous years. Unless you've upgraded your HVAC system, your bill should be relatively similar for the same months.

Sometimes, a decrease in efficiency is a simple issue, like a dirty filter that blocks airflow. Other times, it's a sign that a bigger repair is needed.

2. Little Airflow

A properly-functioning air conditioning unit should give off plenty of airflow. Debris buildup, dirty filters, a broken fan, and leaky ducts are just a few of the many causes of airflow problems.

You instead may notice that the volume of airflow is normal, but the temperature is warmer than usual. If your AC doesn't blow fully cool air, it's time to schedule an evaluation. When the unit has airflow problems, it's using up a lot of energy, but it isn't delivering adequate results.

3. Loud or Strange Sounds

Typically, an HVAC system should make very little noise. You may hear a calm, quiet white noise when the unit is running, but it shouldn't be so loud that it draws your attention.

Malfunctioning HVAC systems can emit a wide variety of odd noises depending on the problem. A banging or clanking noise is usually caused by a broken or loose part inside the compressor. It could also be caused by bent or unbalanced blades in the outdoor fan or in the indoor blower.

Clicking sounds may be normal as the unit starts up or shuts off, but while the system is in operation, clicking can be a sign of an electrical issue. Buzzing is often caused by loose parts or debris in the unit, and squealing may indicate a problem with the blower or fan.

No matter what type of noise the unit is making, it's most likely a sign that something needs repair. The sooner you can have a technician evaluate the system, the better.

4. Bad Odors

If you've noticed unexplained bad odors in your house, they could be coming from your HVAC system. See if the smells subside when you turn the unit off or get worse when you turn it on.

Odors are often a sign that your HVAC unit is in need of a deep cleaning. Dust, mold, or other harmful particles can build up in the ducts, and the smells can blow into the air when the unit is running. Not only is this unpleasant, but it also can be bad for your home's air quality. If it continues to build up, it could lead to allergy-like symptoms or respiratory problems.

5. Leaks

HVAC leaks have two main sources: condensation and refrigerant. Your HVAC unit produces condensation when it's in operation, but this moisture should not leak into your house. If you see pooled water around your AC, there's probably a leak or a break in the system.

Refrigerant should never leak into your house, either. This substance can be harmful if you're directly exposed to it, especially in large quantities, so it's important to get a leak in the refrigerant line sealed as soon as possible.

6. Moisture or Humidity

Your HVAC unit should regulate the humidity in your home. While the air may get slightly more humid in the summer or drier in the winter, extremes on either end can be a sign that the HVAC system isn't working effectively.

An HVAC professional can tune up the unit so that it has better control over moisture levels. Sometimes, a humidifier or dehumidifier is necessary to get the home to a comfortable level, but your HVAC expert will let you know if that's the right option for your house.

7. Old System

There are a number of factors that determine the lifespan of an HVAC system. The type of model, frequency of use, and preventative maintenance schedule can all affect how long the unit will stay in good condition. The general rule, though, is that your HVAC system may start to decline after about 10 years.

If the unit is more than a decade old, it's wise to schedule regular evaluations and tune-ups to keep it in good working order. Parts may start to break or wear out more often, so staying current on maintenance is important.

8. Long Time Since Last Inspection

Even if nothing appears to be wrong with your HVAC system, it's recommended to have yearly tune-ups from a professional. There may be small problems that don't create any noticeable signs, but they could escalate to major issues if they aren't repaired soon. Staying up-to-date on minor repairs will extend the lifespan of the HVAC unit.

Yearly preventative maintenance can improve the system's efficiency, too. Tasks like cleaning the ducts and straightening bent fan blades keep the unit in optimal working condition, helping it heat and cool your home more effectively. This can reduce your energy bill as well.

If you notice any unusual signs or if it's been a while since the last tune-up, you should contact an HVAC professional right away. The sooner you fix the problem, the easier the repair will be. Then, you can enjoy comfortable temperatures in your home without any strange noises, smells, leaks, or other problems.

The Boiler Shoppe Experts have a proven record of faithful operation and longevity. If you have any questions or concerns about your HVAC system, contact us today.