Trouble with your HVAC system isn’t always obvious, and it could become worse and damage your Houston, Texas, home if you don’t fix it immediately. You should have your equipment inspected by a professional at least once per year to prevent expensive breakdowns. Look for these common signs of HVAC trouble so you can have any problems repaired as soon as possible.
The Heat or Air Conditioning Runs Constantly
If your HVAC system runs constantly or cycles on and off every few minutes, you could have a problem that will increase your utility bills and shorten the life of your system by making it work harder. Your thermostat might be in direct sunlight, too close to a register, or near a hot oven or drafty door or window. You could also have poor insulation, leaks in your ductwork, low refrigerant, or other problems.
Check your air filter to make sure that it’s not clogged, which can lead to poor performance. You should check it again at least every three months and change it when it gets dirty. Make sure that the air vents in all your rooms are open and that furniture or other objects don’t block them. If these tips don’t help, consult a professional.
A Strange HVAC Smell
It’s normal to smell a dusty or musty odor when starting your furnace for the first time in winter, but if the smell continues, you should replace your air filter. If you smell something burning, shut the system off and call a professional immediately. If you smell gas, leave and call the fire department.
Mold and mildew can also produce a stale, musty smell that affects your indoor air quality. It can grow wherever humidity is high: in ductwork, drywall, carpeting, insulation, and more. Leaks in roofing, plumbing, or insulation can cause water damage, which also leads to mold growth. Some people are allergic to mold spores, and some molds produce mycotoxins that can cause flu-like symptoms and aggravate asthma.
If your home has a wood, gas, kerosene, coal, or charcoal furnace or appliances, inadequate ventilation or other malfunctions could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, colorless byproduct of combustion that causes flu-like symptoms. When concentrations become higher, people experience severe headaches, drowsiness, disorientation, confusion, and an increased heart rate. Carbon monoxide poisoning can eventually lead to unconsciousness, convulsions, heart failure, coma, and even death.
Everyone with a gas furnace or even a fireplace should have a carbon monoxide detector to catch this problem and have it repaired before it can cause health trouble for you, your pets, or your family. A carbon monoxide detector looks like a smoke alarm, and it starts beeping if it detects a specific level of carbon monoxide. You should have one detector near every living area in your home. They’re most effective when they’re used in combination with preventive maintenance. You should have your HVAC system, appliances, and fireplaces inspected by a professional at least once per year.
Lots of Noises
HVAC systems should stay fairly quiet most of the time, and loud pops, banging, or grinding noises are strong signs of the need for repairs. Your ductwork could be incompatible with your current system. It’s best to get a professional opinion on that. Squealing or screeching with a forced-air furnace could mean that your blower motor is in need of adjustment or repair. You may hear banging or hammering noises from a radiator, but they shouldn’t be too loud as long as it’s working properly. Rattling noises could also be just a loose screw.
Davis Air Conditioning & Heating has over 40 years of experience with repairing your HVAC troubles. We’re an Energy Star contractor, a member of the Building Performance Institute, and a professional Comfort Institute contractor, so we can also maintain your heating and air conditioning and install a new system when you need it. Call us at 888-710-5530 if you live in the greater Houston area or 888-929-0049 if you live in Brazoria County.
Image provided by Shutterstock