The comfortability of your home largely depends on the condition of your HVAC system. The majority of homeowners put off the idea of having their HVAC systems routinely checked, sometimes due to lack of information, while others pass it over knowingly.
Just as your car, your HVAC system requires routine maintenance checks. A properly-maintained HVAC system is more efficient and will consume less fuel, saving you a lot of money on your monthly utility bills. Additionally, preventative HVAC maintenance will extend your system’s lifespan and minimize the possibility of regular breakdowns that result in costly repairs or replacements in the long run.
Besides saving you some money, a well-maintained unit will ensure that your family lives in a safe and healthy environment. A well-maintained system will also ensure that the air quality in your home is at its best.
When to Service Your HVAC
The most convenient time to plan for your HVAC unit’s maintenance service is just before you need it the most. Therefore, you need to schedule maintenance during the fall season to get the heating system ready for winter. On the other hand, the best time to plan for maintenance on your cooling system would be spring. HVAC companies recommend that you schedule routine maintenance checks on your HVAC system at least once a year. Therefore, if you’ve got a standard furnace or central AC, each of these systems needs annual maintenance.
However, some parts of your HVAC system may require shorter maintenance intervals depending on the prevailing conditions, such as air filters. Ensure that you check your air filters regularly and replace them as required. If your home has a heat pump unit that you use throughout the year, you need to schedule its service every six months. Here are 10 tale-tell signs that indicate that your system needs maintenance.
1. Poor Cooling or Heating
When you get used to a properly functioning HVAC system, you can always tell when the unit’s condition has changed. Whether during the winter or summer, you may realize that you are not as comfortable as usual. Uncomfortable temperatures could indicate that your system is faulty and may need to be checked by your HVAC technician.
2. Increased Energy Bills
Under normal circumstances, your utility bills should maintain some level of consistency throughout a given season. If you haven’t made any energy-consuming additions to your home and you notice an unusual spike in your utility bills, it could be a sign that your HVAC system is having problems and needs maintenance.
3. Heating Unit Blowing Cold Air
There could be many reasons behind your heating system blowing cold air. However, one of the most likely causes is clogged air filters. Dirty filters will block heated air from entering your home. Consequently, the furnace will work much harder trying to heat the house, causing it to overheat and shut down. Since the system fan remains running, it will blow cold air into the house, making you uncomfortable. To solve this problem, ensure that your air filters are in good working order and replaced regularly. Changing your air filters doesn’t require a technician because you can easily do it yourself.
4. Poor Airflow
Insufficient airflow is a sign that your system is not working as efficiently as it should. It could be due to a blocked duct, clogged filters, a malfunctioning motor, or a faulty compressor. You can check the airflow by using your hand to feel the flow from the vents. However, if you can’t identify the cause of the problem, it would be best to call an HVAC expert to have your system checked.
5. Your System Is Running Constantly
An efficient heating and cooling system should not run indefinitely. Since your thermostat controls the heating and cooling systems, the units are only supposed to kick in when needed and go off when the conditions are right. A continuously running system is an indication of inefficiency. An inefficient system will keep running to compensate for the inefficiency, ultimately leading to a breakdown. If you suspect that your system is running continuously, contact your AC professional immediately.
6. Strange Smells
A correctly working HVAC unit should not have any odor or smell coming out of it. Different smells coming from your unit may indicate different issues. For example, a pungent smell could result from a problem with the unit’s electrical connections. In that case, switch off the system and call a technician immediately to be on the safe side. On the other hand, a mildewy smell could be an indication that mold has grown somewhere within your system.
7. Babbling Noises
An HVAC system in the right working condition will make low-level noises during startup and when shutting down. Any loud and unusual noise could be a sign that your system is having mechanical problems. If you experience such issues with your system, call your technician because mechanical problems cannot go away on their own.
8. Frequent Issues and Repairs
It is normal for any home appliance to experience issues once in a while, especially when it has been in service for some time, and this goes for your HVAC unit too. However, frequent breakdowns could indicate a big problem that needs to be looked into by an expert. If your unit has more than 10 years of usage, you need to consider replacing it.
9. Water Leaking From the Air Conditioning Unit
The presence of water around the unit indicates problems within the drain tube or the condenser unit. Additionally, water leaks can also result from a leaking refrigerant, which might pose a severe health risk to your family. Call an expert immediately if you see water around the unit to be on the safe side.
10. The System Continually Goes On and off
A correctly working unit should never run indefinitely. If your unit is continually going on and off, it could be a sign that your thermostat has some problems. Besides the thermostat, other components such as the condenser unit, the evaporation unit, or the fan may need cleaning up.
A working HVAC system is an absolute necessity for every home. Having it in top-notch working condition should be the priority of every homeowner who’s keen on the comfort of their home. That’s especially so in the harsh winter months and super hot summer seasons. The above list includes some of the main signs you should look out for to know when to plan for your HVAC unit’s maintenance check.
However, it would help if you did not have to wait until it is obvious your system has issues. Make plans to have your unit checked every year to avoid uncomfortable temperatures. If you are unsure of when to perform the routine checks, do not worry. Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning is here to help you with all your heating and cooling needs. Our company also specializes in repairing, installing, and maintaining plumbing systems, heating systems, air conditioning, and air quality services.
If you live around Northern Valley, CA, and the greater Sacramental area, feel free to contact us for HVAC maintenance services.