Knowing when to call for HVAC repair ASAP is vital for any homeowner, as some heating and air conditioning repairs can wait until it’s more convenient to schedule a service call. Some signs of needed repairs, however, should not be ignored! Putting off certain fixes can increase the risk of a full HVAC shutdown while also leading to more extensive and costlier damage.
To ensure you’re always keeping your home’s HVAC system in good working order, note these 6 red flags that it’s time to call HVAC repair ASAP. You can then discuss these warning signs with your heating and cooling repair contractor as needed, and know your home’s interior will always be comfortable and inviting no matter the weather!
As a furnace or air conditioner cycles on, it might make a slight “whooshing” or similar noise, which is simply air being pushed through the home’s ductwork and vents. If you’re sitting near the HVAC system, you might also hear some humming sounds from the blowers as they engage.
However, odd sounds such as thumping, bumping, clanging, grinding, and squealing mean that it’s time to call for HVAC repair service right away! Thumping and other such sounds typically indicate a broken or loose part; grinding might also indicate a loose part or something caught inside the machinery. Broken or worn bearings typically create a high-pitched squeal.
If you do notice any of these odd sounds, it’s vital you switch off the home’s HVAC system and call for repairs right away. A broken or loose part can damage other pieces inside the furnace or air conditioner, as can a foreign object lodged in either appliance. Scheduling an immediate HVAC service call keeps that damage from getting worse and reduces the risk of a full shutdown.
As with odd sounds, unusual smells from a home’s air conditioner or furnace also typically indicate broken parts, or parts struggling to work. As parts grind against each other or against a foreign object caught in the appliance, you might notice a burning smell. Leaking refrigerant might produce a sweet odor.
Using your home’s HVAC system with broken parts often means more extensive and costly damage, as said. Breathing in leaking refrigerant is also hazardous to your health! Also, the more refrigerant that leaks out and needs replacing, the higher those recharging costs. To keep repair costs to a minimum and ensure your own safety, call for HVAC repairs immediately if you notice odd or unpleasant smells.
If you cycle on the home’s air conditioner and notice only warm or lukewarm air coming from the vents, or no air at all, it’s time for AC repairs. Frozen AC coils might keep the appliance from removing heat as it should, so the air is not cooled properly before being circulated back into the home. A clogged furnace filter also traps cooled air before it is sent into the home’s ductwork, so that air then warms up again or doesn’t make it to the home’s ducts and vents at all!
In these cases, repairs are not necessarily urgent but it’s recommended that you don’t use the AC system until a contractor can assess the situation. Trying to push air through a clogged filter means added wear and tear on the appliance, and running the AC when it doesn’t cool the home only wastes electricity! The sooner you call for HVAC repairs, the sooner your unit will be functioning again, but if you can live without the air conditioner for a time, those repairs aren’t necessarily urgent.
If you notice ice forming around the home’s central air conditioner, you might assume that’s a good thing; after all, the AC should be producing cold air! However, ice on the unit typically means that the evaporator or compressor is not removing heat from air as it should. As air cycles around the AC unit, that appliance works by removing heat and venting it through those fins or grilles, so ice should never form around the appliance.
Frozen coils block the flow of cool air so you might then notice a slowdown of cooling. Since the AC cycles on and stays on according to the room’s interior temperature, running the appliance when it’s iced up means added wear and tear on the unit. Chipping away at the ice can also mean damaging the unit and bending or outright breaking its housing.
While it’s best to leave the air conditioner off until that ice melts and call a repair contractor, this is not necessarily an urgent fix. If you can go without your home’s AC for a time, you can simply leave it off and wait for repairs, allowing the ice to melt on its own in the meantime.
As a home’s furnace or air conditioner begins to break down, its parts struggle to function, often drawing more power to force the motor, fan, compressor, and other parts to work. If you notice a sudden spike in your utility costs not due to a rate hike or other reason, it’s time to call an HVAC contractor for a full inspection.
In this case, repairs might not be urgent; your HVAC system might simply need a thorough cleaning and new filter, and other such general maintenance work. However, putting off those repairs can mean added wear and tear and the risk of a broken part, worn bearing, and other such issues. While you might not need urgent HVAC repair in this case, you also don’t want to ignore those higher energy costs as well!
If your home’s air conditioner circulates cool air but leaves behind a damp, clammy feeling, or if the furnace cycles on but you notice overly dry, dusty air, it’s time for HVAC repairs. An air conditioner should remain on long enough to remove humidity as well as heat; if the appliance turns off too quickly, it leaves humidity behind so that air feels cool but clammy. The home’s thermostat might need calibrating or the AC might need new wiring in these cases.
A furnace might have the opposite problem, of cycling on so long that it removes too much moisture from the air and leaves behind an overly dry, dusty environment. This can also indicate a faulty thermostat or HVAC wiring. As air circulates through dirty ductwork, it pulls that dust and debris with it; a good ductwork cleaning can then mean healthy, clean air in wintertime!
Whatever the case for your home’s HVAC system, these repairs are not necessarily urgent. However, damaged wiring can eventually short out so that the system shuts down completely. If the HVAC system is running longer than it should, this also means higher utility costs and wasted electricity!
Cycling on longer than they should and pushing air through dirty ductwork also means added wear and tear on your HVAC system. To protect those appliances from otherwise unnecessary damage and avoid wasting money, schedule repairs as soon as you can rather than ignoring these issues.
To keep your home’s HVAC running optimally and help avoid otherwise unnecessary wear and tear and early breakdown, consider regular HVAC maintenance and service. An HVAC maintenance call typically includes full-scale cleaning, removing dust and debris from both inside and outside the furnace and air conditioner. Bearings are oiled and small parts like belts and hoses are replaced as needed.
Your home’s thermostat is also typically tested and calibrated during a regular HVAC service call, to ensure it’s reading ambient temperatures and communicating with the system accurately. An HVAC technician might also check for needed repairs, such as a clogged drain line, blocked lines in a gas furnace, and worn bearings.
For most homeowners, HVAC service every year is typically sufficient; however, if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions so that your HVAC system cycles on more often than average, you might consider twice-yearly maintenance calls. Having an HVAC technician check your system before the start of the summer and winter seasons ensures it’s functioning optimally and ready to answer those constant demands for heating and cooling.
On average, a residential furnace and air conditioner should last about 15 years, while low-end, off-brand equipment might last some 10 to 12 years. However, neglecting needed maintenance and putting off repairs can shorten an HVAC system’s lifespan by several years, while scheduling repairs ASAP and keeping the furnace filter changed can ensure it performs as expected for as long as possible.
During extreme weather conditions, your home’s furnace or air conditioner might run constantly, even through the night. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as an HVAC system cycling on and off throughout the days puts added stress on the fan and motor. Also, the furnace and air conditioner circulate air through the filter before it’s blown back into your home, so the HVAC system working continuously can mean cleaner air inside the home.
However, running an HVAC system continuously does mean higher energy bills and added wear on the system. Also, if the HVAC system cycles on even in more moderate weather, that can signal a problem. The thermostat might need calibrating or new wiring so that it reads ambient temperatures properly. Your home might also benefit from improved insulation so that your HVAC system doesn’t need to work so hard to keep it heated and cooled as desired!
In some cases, it’s better to invest in a new HVAC system than repairing it; for example, if those appliances are reaching the end of their lifespan, it might be more cost-effective to replace them now rather than repairing a system you’ll need to replace in a few years anyway! New HVAC models are also more energy-efficient and less costly to run than old, outdated models.
Today’s upgraded HVAC systems might also offer features and extras not available a few years ago, such as zone heating and cooling, remote operation so you can turn the system on or off with a smartphone app, and alerts for when the filter needs changing. These new, updated systems might increase home values by up to 10% or more! To find out how a new HVAC might increase your home’s overall values, talk to a real estate agent or property appraiser near you.
Spring HVAC Repair Pros is proud to share this information with our readers. If you’re still wondering when to call for HVAC repairs and if that service is urgent, don’t hesitate to contact us! We also offer high-quality, reliable, affordable HVAC repairs in Spring, Texas, and surrounding areas, with an ironclad guarantee you can trust. Whether it’s a new HVAC installation or everyday repairs you need to have done, call us today.