Your HVAC system is an integral part of your house – which means that if something goes wrong, it can affect your home in serious ways, potentially causing lasting damage. Here are several warning signs that your heating and cooling system needs some professional attention – before problems get a lot worse.
Constant Starts and Stops
An HVAC system may turn on and off every half hour to an hour when it cycle mode…but this is as fast as you should notice the shift. If you notice that your furnace or air conditioner are turning on and then off again almost immediately, or turning on and off a few times in the space of several minutes, then something is seriously wrong. These problems usually fall into two categories – either severe issues with ignition and sensors, or problems with sizing an HVAC unit properly. Both need professional examination.
Wet Spots on the Floor
If you see any puddles around your HVAC equipment, keep a close eye on them. If they dry up and don't return, you are doing all right. If they don't go away, you have a problem. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including aged piping, torn insulation, and condensation problems. Whatever the cause, that water can cause moisture damage and mold problems if left unintended. Arrange for an inspection.
A Smell of Gas or Smoke
Generally, any strong smell around your HVAC equipment is a bad sign. Gas and smoke indicate problems with leaks, flame quality, and possibly firebox issues as well. Not only is a house fire one of the dangers to consider here, but there could also be electric damage and other problems. Shut down your system and get it inspected.
Loud Rattles and Bangs
Let's be clear, there's a difference between "rattling because of loose screws" and "that noise did not sound good." If your HVAC system is making odd booming, banging, or shaking noises, then you need to get it checked out. At the best, this may indicate a problem with airflow that should be addressed. At worst, you have a serious and dangerous furnace problem that could lead to worse explosions in the future.
An Old System
It may sound pedantic, but one of the major signs that an HVAC system is experiencing problems is that it is over a decade old and hasn't been properly maintained in a long time. In this case, grime buildup and a lack of efficiency are probably already causing problems and costing money, even if you haven't noticed yet. So if there's no indication that your units have received any attention for several years or more, call for an inspection and some maintenance suggestions.