Your HVAC system is probably the most used but least understood system in your entire home or business. If you are like most people, the only thing you know about it is how to adjust the thermostat to make yourself comfortable. However, since HVAC systems are such a vital part of our everyday lives, it’s imperative to learn more about them.
For starters, a majority of HVAC issues can be traced to a few common categories. Here are the most popular HVAC problems and what you can do to solve them.
1. A high energy bill.
No one wants to pay more for energy than they have to. Paying close attention to your energy bill and the times when you are spending more is a good place to start in reducing your bill.
Once you have eliminated the usual suspects, like inefficient appliances and not enough insulation in your home, it may be time to look at your heating system. Dirty filters in your furnace or air conditioner, a refrigerant leak or faulty heat pump can all serve to make your system work harder than normal. This also leads to higher than normal energy bills.
To fix this issue, check your filters and change them at least once every few months. They may need to be changed more often during the coldest or warmest months. You should also have your system checked periodically by a professional. Doing so will help you avoid expensive problems and high energy costs.
2. The outdoor unit is making weird noises.
There are several different parts to your outdoor unit, all working together to keep your home comfortable. Sometimes they do make odd noises, often due to reversing valves that switch the flow of refrigerant. It is commonly described as a tinny, buzzing or whooshing sound. This is normal.
What’s not standard is when you hear really loud banging noises or metal against metal. This usually means that the blades are hitting something. If ignored, it could lead to a hole in your unit, where refrigerant can leak out. You should turn it off immediately and have it inspected by a qualified HVAC expert.
3. Your thermostat is not accurate.
Nothing is worse than setting your thermostat at a certain temperature, and then still feeling too cold or too warm. The culprit is usually a thermostat that is not properly calibrated. Sometimes, even after addressing the issue, it quickly loses calibration again. It could also be that the thermostat is not level or that direct sunlight is affecting the readings.
The answer is a digital thermostat. They are exceptionally accurate and never lose calibration. Additionally, the newest varieties have numerous programmable features to help you schedule your energy use and save money.
4. Some rooms are ice cold while others are sweltering hot.
It’s frustrating when the comfort level in your home is lopsided. You may simply need to adjust the airflow and make sure air vents are open. The solution could also lie with a thorough air duct cleaning.
Unfortunately, sometimes this still won’t solve the problem. Rooms that are over a garage or poorly insulated may never be able to keep up with the others, especially in two-story homes.
5. The circuit breaker trips frequently.
Having to continuously reset the circuit breaker can be an annoyance. However, you can’t just keep flipping the switch and then ignoring the problem. This could be a serious hazard that can cause a fire or worse.
It’s crucial to understand that a circuit trips for a reason. Typically, it is protecting the equipment, the electrical system and your entire house.
If it happens after a storm, that’s one thing. Nevertheless, it could also be the result of an electrical short in your system or loose electrical wires. Remember that this involves high voltage and amperage and should only be handled by a professional.
6. The pilot light keeps going out.
This happens occasionally but should not occur more than once in a season. If it does, that’s a sign of a bigger problem. As a homeowner, it’s vital that you know how to relight it. Instructions can normally be found on the equipment itself.
The issue could be merely that you are out of fuel or the gas is turned off. For something more significant, such as a cracked heat exchanger, low gas pressure or a faulty gas valve, call an HVAC expert.
7. Your home is too dry.
If you are getting static shocks or your humidifier is not working, this could leave your household suffering from health and breathing issues, especially in winter. Maintaining the proper level of moisture in the air is vital for eliminating mold and other allergens.
This problem can frequently be treated easily by cleaning the humidifier or making sure the bypass damper is open. You should only need to contact a professional for this problem if the issue is something like a malfunctioning motor or faulty wiring.
8. How much clearance do outdoor units need?
If your unit is too close to your home or trees, this could affect its performance. Walls and fences should be at least 10 inches away. If you have other HVAC units, like on the roof of your commercial building, they should be at least two feet apart. In addition, don’t forget about overhead obstructions. These should be no closer than five feet. It’s also essential to allow for duct service and repair access, which needs approximately three feet of space.
9. Do you have the best HVAC system for your home and lifestyle?
The HVAC system you choose will be a part of your home and life for many years to come. Choose wisely.
You must do your research, know your budget and the size of the system you will need. It’s also very important to select a good quality system. This might require a more expensive upfront cost, but you will end up saving money in the long run from fewer repairs and a longer lifespan for your investment.
10. How to find an HVAC company that is right for you?
Don’t wait until there is an emergency to find qualified HVAC experts. All are not created equal and you won’t want to be stuck with an inferior contractor just because you were in a hurry.
- The lowest bidder is not always the best option
- Ask for written estimates
- Check that they are licensed in your state
- Technology is ever-changing so make sure that your HVAC professional gives you a range of options in order to find the solution that is best for you
- Give Elder Heating and Air a try. We are trained and educated on everything related to installation, maintenance and replacement of heating systems. We work with all the top brands to make your home and family as comfortable as possible.