Most people don’t pay much attention to their furnace or AC — until there’s a problem, of course. And, that’s sort of how it should be. Your HVAC system is supposed to keep you comfortable without you worrying about it.
But, when something does go wrong, you need to act fast. Otherwise, you could end up stuck for days with no heat or cooling. You may also end up with a huge, unexpected repair bill. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. If you keep watch for a few indicators that something’s wrong, you can head off all sorts of headaches and extra expenses.
In this article, we’ll explore the six most common warning signs that something may go wrong with your heating and cooling system. Then, we’ll give you five easy ways to prevent these problems from popping up.
And, if you have any concerns about the HVAC system in your South Central Pennsylvania home, call or email us here at Air Comfort Technologies. We’ve served Manchester, York, Camp Hill, and other nearby towns. We’re happy to help!
Six Common HVAC Warning Signs (And What They Mean)
- System Keeps Turning On And Off
- Energy Bills Keep Going Up
- Rooms Are Too Hot Or Cold
- Strange Noises From The System
- Bad Smells And Odd Odors
- HVAC System Is Getting Old
System Keeps Turning On And Off
A furnace or central air should turn on and off three or four times every hour. That’s enough time for enough warm or cool air to get to the temperature you want. Then, it turns off until the temperature drifts a few degrees.
By contrast, short cycling is when the system turns on for a minute or so, turns back off, and turns back on again. If you’ve never noticed this before, then something is blocking the airflow. In particular, warm air is backing up in the furnace. Rather than overheat, the furnace shuts itself off.
If this has been a problem since you bought the house or got a new HVAC system, your furnace and AC are probably oversized. They’re blasting too much air at once and turning right off.
Energy Bills Keep Going Up
As a system gets older, or if something’s wrong with it, you may notice your energy bills going up. That’s your electricity in the summer and your electric or gas in the winter (or you need an extra oil delivery). It happens because your heater or AC needs more energy to keep up with the demand.
More people notice this happening now that they have smart thermostats. Before that, it was difficult to remember exactly how much they paid around the same time the previous year. Now, with alerts and at-a-glance stats, we get more calls from people noticing the increase.
Rooms Are Too Hot Or Cold
Bedrooms too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter are nothing new. Homes built before the 70s weren’t designed with cooling in mind, so the AC never reaches up there. Meanwhile, drafts, poor ductwork design, or damaged ducts can prevent heat from circulating, too.
If it’s a new problem, then something’s preventing airflow. Your air filter could be clogged. A vent might be blocked. Or, something’s broken, and your system isn’t pumping air the way it should.
Strange Noises From The System
Bangs and clangs from an HVAC system usually mean something’s broken or come loose. You may even hear a slapping sound if a belt snapped.
Bad Smells And Odd Odors
Depending on the smell, you could be dealing with an electrical problem, coolant leak, or a dead animal in or near the system. Read more about these various causes in this article.
HVAC System Is Getting Old
Most furnaces last up to 20 years. Central air units last maybe 15. The better you take care of them, the more seasons you’ll get out of them. But, if they’re over ten years old, it’s time to start watching for signs of breakdowns.
Five Ways To Prevent Common Heating And Cooling Problems
Now that we’ve seen what could go wrong with your heating and cooling system, here are five ways to head these problems off before they occur:
- Keep Outdoor Units Clean
- Watch For Leaks
- Change The Filter
- Keep Vents Clear
- Preventative Maintenance
Keep Outdoor Units Clean
Clean around your AC condenser outside before you start using it. You may uncover signs of animal infestation. That could include chewed-up wires. Meanwhile, clearing away leaves prevents bacteria and other contaminants from seeping in through the system.
Watch For Leaks
Keep an eye out near outdoor units and in your basement around the furnace for signs of a leak. You can save a lot of money on repairs if you call your HVAC contractor before a small problem gets worse.
Change The Filter
A clogged air filter causes circulation problems. Those lead to short-cycling and rooms that are too hot or cold. Change the filter every month when your unit is running and every three months otherwise.
Keep Vents Clear
Keep 12 inches of space around every vent. This way, the air coming through can circulate the way it’s supposed to. Otherwise, the room won’t heat up or cool down. And, you can end up with a short-cycling problem.
The best way to head off problems is with two annual tune-ups. Have your trusted HVAC contractor come out in the fall to look over the heater. Then again in the spring to inspect the air conditioner.
They’ll find and fix any minor problems that can result in bigger issues down the line. And, they’ll make sure your system is running in tip=top shape. That means better comfort — and lower energy bills — all season.
You can read more about our tune-ups and maintenance agreements here.
Heating And Cooling Repairs, Service And Installations Near York, PA
Air Comfort Technology has earned an excellent reputation for our heating and cooling repairs, service, and installations in Dover, Hanover, and across central Pennsylvania. Click below or call us today.