Your home’s HVAC system (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) is like your house’s circulatory system. It’s what keeps everything running smoothly and ensures that your house feels comfortable and safe.
Unfortunately, like the circulatory system in your body, things can go wrong and sometimes require some care and maintenance. Here are seven signs that your HVAC system needs maintenance.
One of the most telling signs that something is wrong with your HVAC system is an inexplicable spike in your power bill. This spike isn’t to be confused with the natural increase you see when you turn your home heating or cooling system on for the season. Rather, you’ll notice a significant difference in your current power consumption compared to the same time last year. This jump is what leads many homeowners to call Jennings for HVAC and electrical services in Cuyahoga Falls, OH when the season changes.
If you notice an increase, consider any other possible causes — for example, using more power tools or more people being home for vacation. It’s also helpful to compare power bills from previous years to see if the issue is due to a rate increase or a consumption increase. Once you’ve completed those steps and found no alternative cause, call an HVAC specialist as soon as possible.
Your home heating and cooling system should be relatively quiet. You may notice when it kicks in or become aware of the fan’s ambient noise, but there shouldn’t be anything noticeable or jarring. If you start noticing creaks, clanks, bangs and rattles, there’s likely an issue.
In many cases, these issues are caused by a loose bolt or connection bumping around. However, leaving it unaddressed puts unnecessary wear and tear on your systems, resulting in shorter lifespans. Prevent these issues by scheduling an annual tune-up appointment to get your connections tightened, oiled and cleaned.
Another sound you might hear is short-cycling, which is when the system starts to build up then stops suddenly. This issue means your home won’t be heated or cooled sufficiently while the system is drawing more power as it tries to get the job done.
Weird smells are another indication that something’s going wrong. If you notice a burning smell, you should turn off your air conditioner or furnace right away. The exception to this rule is if you’re turning it on for the first time at the start of the winter season, as it may briefly emit a burning odor as dust gets burned off; that scent should subside relatively quickly.
If you smell a rotten egg smell, turn everything off immediately and eliminate any open flames in the house — that smell indicates a gas leak.
If you smell a musty odor or an earthy smell coming from the vents, there’s likely mold present, which could impact your air quality and health. Call an HVAC specialist right away.
If your HVAC system isn’t working properly or needs an adjustment, you may notice excess humidity in the home. This often presents as condensation all over the windows. A bit of steam or fog is normal; drops of water are not.
While this issue may seem minor, it can contribute to mold development and put your home’s value and your health at risk.
Temperature inconsistencies are another sign that something is wrong. If the temperature in the room doesn’t seem to match the thermostat, get a mercury thermometer and check. If your outdated thermometer shows a dramatically different temperature, there’s an issue.
The same applies if you notice warm or cold spots throughout your home. In the movies, a cold spot means you have a ghost in your home, but HVAC experts say that cold spots indicate insufficient airflow. As such, you should probably call a repair person instead of your local Ghostbusters.
If you notice any of these issues, get in touch with an HVAC specialist as soon as possible. Delaying can cost you more money, comfort, and even your health and safety.