Your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system does more than simply maintain a comfortable temperature. It can have a measurable impact on your health and safety, as well as your energy bills. In most cases, your HVAC system should function properly. However, all types of equipment and machinery require occasional maintenance and repairs. Here are the 5 most common HVAC problems you can expect to encounter.
Inefficient or Inconsistent Operation
A number of different factors can affect the flow of air in your home. If you notice a difference in temperature from one floor to another, it’s probably time to have your HVAC system checked out. Heated or cooled air travels through a series of ducts on its way to the vents in your home. Dampers control the airflow by reducing it along one line while increasing it along another. If these dampers are not properly balanced, temperatures will vary from one room to the next.
Sometimes airflow issues can be caused by something as simple as a dirty air filter. Even the most sophisticated HVAC systems rely on clean air filters to facilitate ease of operation. If your air filter is clogged or dirty, it can force your system to work harder, causing a noticeable impact in its operation and possibly reducing the lifespan of its major components. Changing the air filter on a regular basis ensures optimal performance and better air quality throughout your home
Water or Refrigerant Leaks
Water is an important part of your air conditioning system. Humid air produces condensation on the evaporator coil. This condensation drips into a pan, which then drips out of the system through a drain line. If this line is damaged or becomes clogged, leaks and malfunctions can occur. The best way to prevent water damage or costly repairs to your HVAC system is to check its operation regularly and call a professional as soon as you detect a problem.
Your air conditioning system uses liquid refrigerant to cool and dehumidify the air in your home. If the unit lacks refrigerant, it won’t be able to cool the air sufficiently. Although the most noticeable effect of this is discomfort inside the home, low refrigerant levels can also cause your system to develop major problems. Without refrigerant, the condenser has to work harder, which can lead to its reduced life expectancy and eventual breakdown. If you think your system is cooling as much as it used to, you should have it looked at as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that not all odors produced by your HVAC system are problematic. All systems will produce some type of odor, and the longer you’ve had your system, the more likely you are to recognize when it’s something unusual. One odor you should be concerned about is a rotten egg smell, as it may indicate that you have a gas leak. It’s best to get this problem addressed right away since gas leaks can be easily ignited by stoves and furnaces.
The most common type of odor you’re likely to encounter is mustiness. If your home or vents smell musty, it could indicate that the condensation in your HVAC system is not draining properly. This can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. Aside from having the drain line looked at, it might help to have a dehumidifier incorporated into your system.
Wear and Tear
Your HVAC unit is as susceptible to normal wear and tear as any other piece of machinery. Even with regular maintenance, you’re likely to notice a drop in its performance over a period of years. If you catch this problem early enough, professional technicians may be able to fix the unit or replace certain components before a major malfunction occurs. The more often you perform maintenance checks on the system, the more likely you are to notice changes in its operation.
Not all heating or cooling problems indicate a serious malfunction in your HVAC system. These types of problems can also be caused by something as simple as a faulty thermostat. The thermostat’s job is to help regulate the amount of hot and cold air your system produces, as well as the timing of these cycles. If it were to malfunction, temperatures could fluctuate considerably throughout your home, potentially impacting your energy bills.
The most common HVAC problems are usually the result of neglecting to perform regular system maintenance. Knowing what these issues are and what their most common causes are can help you better determine when it’s necessary to call a professional. Remember that the more you learn about your system needs, the better you’ll get at maintaining a comfortable home, maximizing your system’s efficiency and minimizing energy costs.