There is nothing more frustrating than a malfunctioning HVAC. Often, it seems like the heating and cooling systems of your house fail out of the blue — and at the exact wrong time of year.
Especially in the warm summer months, getting stranded without cool air is uncomfortable almost everywhere and even potentially deadly in some parts of the country.
The truth is that HVAC systems rarely fail without warning; you just don’t know what to look for and when to schedule maintenance and repairs.
If you live someplace excessively sunny and warm, like Phoenix, HVAC contractors offer springtime system check-ups at a discounted price to make sure your air conditioning is ready for the coming heat.
Moreover, if your HVAC is showing any of the following signs, you should act fast and get your system fixed right away.
When your HVAC is trying to cool your home, your home shouldn’t be hot. If you can feel hot air blowing from the vents, there is a good chance that something is going wrong with your system.
Your first stop should be your thermostat; it’s possible that someone switched it to “heating” by mistake or changed the temperature on “auto” to cause the call for warm air to come through. Even if the settings seem right, set the temperature lower than you usually keep your house.
If the vents still blow warm air, your air conditioner’s compressor might be to blame, which means you need professional help.
Your HVAC will turn on and off throughout the day following a relatively regular pattern.
The hottest days of the summer should see an increase in cycling because the system needs to work harder to keep the house cool. However, if it sounds like your air conditioner is turning on and off with greater frequency than normal — perhaps even running constantly — there could be an issue.
Oftentimes, a simple tune-up will fix the problem, but you won’t know until an expert assesses your unit.
Water is a critical component of your HVAC system; without it, your air conditioner cannot cool your home.
Unfortunately, both refrigerant and water condensation can leak. As you should well know, water damage is something you definitely don’t want, so you should constantly be on the lookout for misplaced moisture due to a leaking HVAC.
Even if you see a single drip, you should call in HVAC pros to check for any problems.
Speaking of moisture, humidity has a significant effect on how your HVAC runs. The Southwest enjoys a gloriously dry heat, but almost everywhere else is hit with humidity come summertime.
Fortunately, air conditioners can remove a bulk of that humidity to keep indoor environments drier — unless they aren’t working right.
While the air in Atlanta will never be as bone-dry as Phoenix, if your home’s interior feels sticky-icky even if the air is comfortably cool, it might be that your unit is too large for your space.
There are several fixes for this issue, but the best one is downsizing your HVAC for increased efficiency.
Your home shouldn’t smell — that should be a given. However, because your HVAC deals with water, it’s easy for it to cultivate bacteria and/or fungi that produce unappealing odors.
You should try to clean your air conditioner at least once per year to remove debris that might decompose and create bad smells. You can also use a UV lamp to kill most bacteria.
However, if the smell continues to linger, you might need a more thorough cleaning or even a replacement.
Your air conditioner has a motor, which means it isn’t going to operate completely silently. Still, the noise should be relatively low-level and only as the system starts up and shuts down. Other sudden, unusual noises can be signs if big problems.
In particular, you should listen for rattling or buzzing, which indicate a loose part or whistling and grinding, which indicates that the machine isn’t functioning properly.
A tune-up should identify and alleviate the source of the noise and potentially prevent more disastrous problems down the line.
High Energy Bills
Unless you work from home or pay particularly close attention to every aspect of your home, you might not notice some of these signs and symptoms of a poorly functioning HVAC.
However, you should be paying attention to your energy bills, which will spike dramatically if your HVAC is having a tough time.
While any time you use your HVAC, your energy bills will be higher, a broken HVAC will have a tremendous effect on your energy bill in one way or the other. So if you are paying more or less than you think you should, call in an HVAC expert to evaluate a repair or if you need a new AC system.