Watch for HVAC System Red Flags
Make sure to watch for some of the common red flags that are often overlooked when it comes to your HVAC unit, especially since we have had not only a long summer, but also the single hottest summer in Arizona ever recorded. With a few more months of heat left, make sure you take care of these potential problems today and eliminate the risk of a bigger, more expensive problem in the future.
The last thing you need to deal with is a heater going haywire and blowing cold air in the winter, or the AC not switching on during the middle of summer. Not only are HVAC problems some of the most expensive home repairs you can make, but you also depend on your system to keep your home habitable! If things go wrong, your home may quickly become too hot, too cold, or uncomfortable. Because of how expensive HVAC replacements can be, it’s always good to know what red flags to look for so you can get things fixed before an entire replacement becomes necessary. Use this list we’ve put together for a better understanding of what to watch out for with your HVAC unit.
Increasing Energy Bills
While natural gas and electricity rates may increase over time, your month to month energy bill should not have a drastic difference between seasons. While you may see a spike in your costs after experiencing more extreme temperatures, you should also be aware of increases in energy cost that have occurred for no reason. If you have not recently changed the thermostat, your service rates have not been raised by your provider, and if you have not had any extreme weather that would change the amount of energy required to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, there is a good chance you have an HVAC problem.
While natural gas does not have a smell on its own, it is common practice for gas companies to add a sulfurous odor that smells like a rotting egg. This addition helps you to identify if a gas leak is occurring in your home, especially near your furnace. If you detect a gas leak, immediately remove everyone from your home and call your gas company’s emergency number. If possible, shut off the gas to your home until help comes.
Apart from natural gas, HVAC units sometimes can have a musty or burning smell, signaling that a repair is needed.
If you find that your AC is not cooling or if your heater is not keeping your home warm, you have a major red flag. If the temperature set on your thermostat is not being reached, even if your system continues to work, it is most likely an HVAC issue. If your HVAC will not kick on at all, you may be experiencing a faulty AC contactor, which is in charge of controlling the electric flow between the parts of your unit.
No AC or heater will be fully silent, but you should not be hearing more than the occasional sound of air coming out of a vent or the hum of a machine functioning if you are close enough to it. If you hear any banging, whistling, squeaking, scraping, rattling, or other harsh noise, you are likely experiencing an HVAC problem such as a broken blower wheel.
Seek immediate help from a professional if you experience loud noises coming from a gas furnace.
Dripping AC Unit
Your AC unit will leak a little water while it is on, but it should never be a large amount, and it should only be noticeable around the AC unit outside, not away from it or inside your home. If you see air ducts dripping water, or if you see traces of condensation around vents, exhaust ports, or around windows, you may have an AC problem. Keep in mind that you should not be running your AC if outdoor temperatures are under 60 degrees Fahrenheit, as this will cause increased leakage. In most cases, leaky AC units are caused by leaving in a clogged and dirty AC filter, however the improper installation of a unit can result in blocked drain pipes or low refrigerant levels.
Old HVAC Unit
Most HVAC systems are designed to live around 15 years, so if yours is approaching or has already passed that age, there is a good chance you’ll soon be in the market for a new unit. When getting an older system replaced, it’s recommended that you change both the AC unit and heater at the same time, this way you are guaranteed to have a compatible system than risk running them against each other.
Nobody wants to deal with a broken HVAC, but by staying vigilant, you can improve the lifespan of your system and likely catch most issues before they cause need for greater concern. Be sure you’re ready to handle the tail-end of the summer heat without any issues and get an inspection today!