Your HVAC system is like the circulatory system in your home. It’s the system that controls the climate and air quality in your house, protecting your investment and your health. If any of the three systems falling under the HVAC umbrella (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) become compromised, it can have costly effects.
Unfortunately, not all HVAC issues are easily detectable. Here are nine typical home HVAC issues to watch for and what the signs indicate could be going on.
- 1 9 Common Home HVAC Issues and Solution to Watch For
9 Common Home HVAC Issues and Solution to Watch For
Spiking Energy Bills
One of the most telling signs that something is going wrong with your HVAC system is an inexplicable spike in electricity bills. Older furnaces and heating systems tend to use more energy than modern upgrades. This inefficiency could gradually increase your consumption each year. However, when something goes wrong, you’ll notice a significant jump in your bill.
According to HVAC experts, there are several potential causes for inexplicable energy bill spikes, but scheduling a furnace inspection and repair call is the best way to get ahead of the next bill. Visit Lake Michigan Heating, Cooling, Plumbing’s official website for more details.
Insufficient Heating or Cooling
Another sign that your HVAC system needs attention is if your air conditioner or furnace can no longer reach the desired temperature. This issue is readily apparent, as your furnace will blow cool air, and your air conditioner will blow warm air.
If you notice an issue, it’s important to call for an inspection as soon as possible. When your system works harder than it needs to while producing unsatisfactory results, it uses a lot more energy than a well-functioning system. It’s better to get ahead of the jacked-up power bill and correct the issue before it costs you your savings.
Changes in Humidity Levels
It’s normal to experience mild humidity changes throughout the seasons, especially if you live in a coastal area. However, the humidity levels within your home should remain fairly steady.
If you notice changes in your home’s humidity levels, there’s likely an issue with your ventilation and humidity control. Increased humidity manifests as increased condensation on the windows and is relatively easy to detect.
Decreased humidity can be harder to detect, as it’s more of a feeling. If you notice an increase in chapped lips and dry throats, your humidity is likely too low. You can test the humidity level in your home by placing a few ice cubes in a glass and leaving it for 10-15 minutes. After that period, the glass should have fully-formed water droplets on the outside. If it doesn’t, you likely have low humidity.
Consult an HVAC technician to determine what’s happening with your systems and the best method for correcting the issue.
Rattles and Sounds
Your HVAC system should be relatively quiet, fading into the background as ambient noise. If you start hearing rattles or other strange sounds while your systems are running, it indicates an issue. Whatever belt or bolt is loose may not cause an issue right now, but it could be potentially dangerous if left unchecked. Even a loose belt can put more stress on the system and shorten its lifespan without maintenance.
Rather than taking a DIY approach and tearing everything apart, schedule a simple tune-up. Your furnace should be inspected and adjusted each year before you turn it on for the winter. During this appointment, the technician will replace any damaged parts, tighten loose components, and ensure everything is working efficiently.
Another sign that something is going wrong is temperature inconsistencies throughout the home. If you have an older home, you’ll likely experience inconsistency between floors due to outdated insulation. However, newer HVAC systems should keep the temperature consistent from one room to the next.
If you notice a significant difference between rooms on the same floor, it’s time to call an HVAC specialist to take a look. There are several moving parts from the furnace to your rooms. A specialist can tell you if the issue is with the furnace or air conditioner, your ductwork, or the thermostat.
One of the most common noises that people become aware of when their HVAC starts malfunctioning is the sound of short cycling. Short cycling is when your HVAC system shuts down before it completes a heating or cooling cycle. For example, you might hear your furnace kick in and start to warm up, then stop suddenly. A few minutes later, you’ll hear it start up again and stop before it starts blowing air.
Short cycling could be a simple fix, like replacing a fan or cleaning a filter, or indicative of a bigger issue. The same applies to air conditioning: if you notice the machine start and stop repeatedly, call an expert before you see the issue reflected on your power bill.
Burning or Rotten Smells
New and exciting smells coming from your furnace, air conditioner, or vents are a sign to call an expert immediately. It’s normal to smell a short-lived burning odor when you turn on a heater or air conditioning unit for the first time each season. However, if the smell comes on suddenly or is associated with the scent of rotten eggs (sulfur), you should turn off the system and step out of the house to call for help.
Sometimes these smells indicate a minor mechanical issue. Even so, it’s better to be safe than sorry, as they could also be indicative of a potential fire or gas leak.
Respiratory and Allergy Symptoms
If you notice an uptick in respiratory issues and allergy symptoms, it could be connected to your ventilation. Take some time to check and clean the filters in your home, and give everything a good dusting.
Improper ventilation and humidity control could also lead to the development of mold and mildew, which exacerbates allergy symptoms.
Signs of Mold and Mildew
In addition to more frequent sniffles and colds, mold and mildew are often associated with a musty smell. You may also notice growth in moist areas, like the bathroom or kitchen.
If you suspect mold and mildew growth, check your attic for leaks or moisture. Then, consider reaching out to an HVAC specialist to inspect your ventilation systems.
Keeping a well-maintained HVAC system is imperative for protecting the integrity of your home and your health. If you notice one of the signs or issues listed above, call a reputable HVAC specialist to check it out.