An HVAC system will, on average, last anywhere between 10 and 25 years before it has to be replaced. The actual lifespan of any HVAC Professional system, like any appliance, depends on the amount of maintenance that it receives.
The important thing to keep in mind is the early warning signs of HVAC system failure. If you don’t notice them, you may find yourself without proper climate control in the middle of summer or winter. Not only can it be extremely uncomfortable to be in your home, but the price of replacing a broken unit is usually much higher than doing preventative maintenance.
Keep reading for a list of signs that it’s time for you to call an HVAC professional. This can help you get your issues fixed quickly before they are able to get any worse.
Increased Energy Bills
If your energy bills increase without a proportional change in your energy usage, you should talk to a professional. This is usually the first indicator that something is wrong with your system, but is a general indicator. In order to really find out what’s wrong, a professional inspection is needed.
Be sure to make note of any other warning sign you notice in association with an increase in your energy bills. Let the HVAC professional know what you’ve noticed to help them diagnose the issue.
Arguably the most obvious sign you need to consider calling a pro is if your system is no longer evenly heating or cooling your home. The issue may be a minor one, like clogged ductwork, or a major one, such as damaged machinery and parts within the furnace or air conditioner unit itself.
An HVAC professional should examine your entire system to determine the cause of the problem.
If you notice that your HVAC system has switched on but there is very little airflow throughout your house, your system may need repair. In the best-case scenario, your air filter is clogged and just needs to be replaced or cleaned.
However, before calling a professional, check the various air vents throughout your house. If they all seem to be producing the same amount of airflow, you should check and replace your filter. If some vents have more airflow than others, the issue may actually be with your ductwork.
This is one of those tough problems to fix, but it’s not impossible. It just means that it’s time to clean out your ducts, as dust and other clogs have built up there instead. Ductwork cleaning takes a bit longer than replacing the air filter but will improve the overall air quality in your home as well as your HVAC system’s efficiency.
Another warning sign you are in need of HVAC repair is if your system is running constantly. This can happen because of an issue with the thermostat controlling the unit.
This can occur for a variety of different reasons, from physical damage to simple age. To check the health of your thermostat, hang a thermometer next to it.
Come back after an hour or two to see what the readings are. If they are not identical, you should get in touch with an HVAC professional to replace your thermostat.
However, an HVAC system that is constantly running can also be a product of a general lack of maintenance. Clogged air filters, ductwork, and dirt in the condenser can cause your unit to work harder and longer to produce the same amount of cooling or heating.
The condenser is the part of your AC unit outside your home – you can clean it yourself. You can learn more about how is a condenser made and how to keep it running smoothly here.
Specifically for your air conditioner, this can also point to one of the more serious AC issues, which is a refrigerant leak. A broken tube or hose can cause all of the cases used in the heat exchanger to leak out, turning your AC system into a glorified fan. This requires specialized equipment and experience to fix.
If you notice any noises coming from your HVAC system when turning on or while operating, your units may be about to break down. These sounds are usually representative of damaged parts within the furnace or air conditioner.
However, in some cases, this can simply point to dents or loose screws in the ductwork. While a smaller issue, it is still something you need to address. Gaps in the ductwork can allow air to leak out of your HVAC system, reducing the ability of your system to heat or cool your home and driving your energy bills up.
If you notice any smell in your home that gets much worse when your HVAC system turns on, you should call an HVAC professional straight away and avoid using your system if you can. This will usually indicate that mold or mildew has had the chance to grow in your ductwork.
This is a relatively common occurrence, but still a serious one. Mold spores are a major health hazard and can make you sick with exposure.
Mold will usually grow in ductwork that is not properly insulated, as condensation will collect in the interior of the system. In some serious cases, where you live in a humid climate and rely heavily on your HVAC system, you may want to consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier. This can help reduce the amount of ambient moisture in the air of your home.
Don’t Wait To Contact an HVAC Professional
As soon as you notice any of the above issues, you should call an HVAC professional to look at your system and diagnose the issue. Doing so early can save you money in the long run, and keep your home comfortable to live in.
For more informative articles about HVAC maintenance and repair, check out our other posts on our blog.