Here are five common issues to check if you suspect your HVAC system is not working properly:
- Is air flow unrestricted?
- If you see enough dirt and debris on the air filter to fill a moon crater, you need to replace it. Or clean it if it is the washable kind. Filters should be replaced about once a month, depending on the system you have. If you don’t you’re making your system work harder than necessary. Also, check the heat exchanger and coils for any dirt.
- Does it pass the noise test?
- If your AC or furnace runs so loudly you need noise cancelling headphones just to get some sleep, it could indicate an issue. You should hear only airflow and the smooth hum of the system. Anything such as rattling, thumping, loud clicks or squealing points to a problem.
- Are your bills rising?
- Utility rates adjust often. If rates have remained steady while your bill has increased, you may have an issue that needs to be addressed. For AC systems, the federal government increased minimum efficiency ratings in 2006. If your system is older than that, it may be another reason for your higher energy bills.
- Is the thermostat working properly?
- The HVAC system may be working fine, but the thermostat could be the issue. Perhaps it is failing to kick off the AC or heat when reaching the desired temperature, or it may be allowing the fan to blow when it should not be.
- Is the area around your system wet?
- On hot days when the AC runs continuously, a little extra condensation is normal. However, it may be another indication of a clogged filter. It could also result from a clogged line that drains the condensation.
There could be other problem indicators as well. Semi-annual maintenance by a trained HVAC technician can help identify issues before they turn into expensive problems.