Most HVAC systems are extremely reliable and require little operating effort. Typically, all you have to do is set the thermostat and walk away. However, the ease of operation can also make it easy to forget that your central air system requires routine maintenance to function at peak efficiency. This is unfortunate because you have a lot of money invested in your comfort, and you want it to last as long as possible.
If your HVAC unit is overdue for maintenance, you may notice one or more of the following signs:
1. Higher Energy Bills
If your energy bills are running higher than usual, this could be because your HVAC's refrigerant level is low. When that is the case, your unit will run longer than usual. Low refrigerant levels are usually the result of a system leak that will need to be repaired by a licensed HVAC service company.
Another cause of energy bills that are higher than normal could be your filter. A dirty air filter restricts the flow of air, which lowers your HVAC's efficiency. Typically, you’ll want to replace your air filter every 30 - 90 days, depending on how heavily you rely on your HVAC system.
2. Strange Odors or Sounds
Strange odors and odd sounds suggest mechanical problems. One possibility is that the bearings in your blower motor have become defective. A slight burning smell may be normal the first time you use your air conditioner this season, but if it’s a continuous smell, you may have a more serious problem. A recurring burning smell may indicate that a foreign object has become too close to your auxiliary heating system. If the scent you smell is more musty--like that of a basement--it could also be that your system isn’t draining properly, and condensation is causing mold and mildew to develop in your duct system.
3. Not Cooling Like it Used To
Inadequate cooling could be the result of a bad thermostat or a defective control board. Your coils could also be dirty or defective. If your coils require any attention, you’ll have to seek professional service from a licensed HVAC technician.
4. Uneven Temperatures
Uneven temperatures could be the result of many different issues. You could have gaps in your ductwork, or a portion of your duct system may be clogged. It is also possible that your HVAC system or your duct system is improperly sized. However, uneven temperatures could also simply be the result of inadequate insulation in your home.
5. Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips
If your circuit breakers trip frequently, the problem could be with your HVAC system or your electrical system. It is possible that your circuit breakers are defective and tripping prematurely. On the other hand, your circuit breakers may be tripping due to overloads. When that is the case, your HVAC system is pulling too much current. This could be due to a defective blower motor or a control board that has an intermittent short circuit.
6. High Humidity
If the humidity level in your home is high, your HVAC system may not be running long enough to remove excess moisture. This could be because your system is oversized. It could also be due to a faulty thermostat. Another reason that your humidity levels may be high is that you have an inadequate ventilation system.
Bottom line: If you notice any of the signs or problems described above, call John Owens Services at (415) 942-6565. If you wait, it is likely that your problems will only become worse and get more expensive. Get your HVAC fixed today!