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Red Flags Indicating Issues in Your HVAC System

While homeowners must generally accept the fact that their HVAC system will likely have some minor issues and concerns over a period of years, there's a sliver lining here: It usually leaves some pretty solid evidence. There are typically some easily noticeable signs that your HVAC system is having issues, the kind that you'll usually pick up as a diligent homeowner, allowing you to contact HVAC specialists and remedy the concerns before they grow.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we're here to help. We offer a wide variety of furnace and air conditioning repair and installation services, plus assistance with themes like smart thermostat installation, home humidifiers and many other modern additions. As a homeowner, what are some of the key signs you might spot that indicate a heating and air issue somewhere in the home, and what are these red flags pointing you toward? Here's a primer on several of the most common warning signs of an HVAC issue.

red flags issues HVAC system

Rising Bill

One of the broadest possible signs of an HVAC issue, and also one of the simplest to spot, is a rising energy bill that has no other basic explanation. You may have noticed that your bill is much higher than the previous month, for instance – or more commonly, you'll compare your bill from a given month to that same month from the prior year and notice that it's much higher despite your HVAC needs staying the same.

If this is the case, you should first be checking for other factors that may have caused it. Check on temperature and weather conditions from the time period to see if they might have been at play, for instance. Also look at gas and electricity rates and usage patterns. If none of these have experienced any significant changes during the time period in question, but your bill is rising anyway, there's a good chance there's some kind of issue or inefficiency taking place within the system that needs to be addressed.

At this point, you may look to investigate further yourself. Or if you'd prefer, our team of HVAC technicians will be happy to come out and diagnose the problem.

Strange Sounds or Smells

Have you begun to hear strange sounds coming from an HVAC unit? Especially if this is an older unit, this could be a significant concern. Sounds you may hear include grating, squealing or grinding, but there may be others as well. If you're unable to identify the source of the sound, call our HVAC technicians for assistance.

In other cases, odors might be emanating from the system or one of its components. Here are some of the smells that might indicate a problem:

  • Burning smell: If you smell burning or as if something is overheating, this might be the case. The motor and certain other components of your system may have electrical issues, and these could lead to dangerous electrical fires if they aren't handled. If you smell this odor, turn off the power to the unit (and maybe the entire home) and contact our team immediately.
  • Rotten egg smell: This common smell is usually due to a natural gas leak, another potentially dangerous situation. Leave the home and contact our team right away.
  • Mold or musty smell: This sort of mildew-y smell is usually due to mold growth, often within air ducts. Again, contact us immediately, as mold is a health risk.

Standing Water

If your HVAC AC unit has any accumulation of standing water, whether it's a tiny leak or a significant puddle, this is definitely a concern. For one, it's possibly a sign of an internal issue. For another, it tends to create more serious issues for other components connected to this unit, problems that worsen over time. If you cannot locate the leak yourself, call our HVAC professionals for assistance.

Air Flow and Air Quality

Have you begun to notice recently that certain vents, or even most or all vents, are not shooting out adequate quantities of air? This could indicate some kind of blockage or clog in the duct system, or could be due to issues with your HVAC filter or other components.

In other cases, you may have begun to notice your air quality has dropped, whether due to changes in smell, increases in allergy symptoms or some other cause. If you want a full diagnosis of air quality, plus solutions for improving it, contact our HVAC technicians.

Uneven Heating or Cooling

Many of us have been in this situation before: You've spent a while in one room of the home, but then walk into a different room or area – and suddenly it's 10 degrees cooler or warmer for no particular reason. This sort of uneven heating or cooling in the home is almost always a sign that something in your system isn't functioning properly, whether it's a primary component like the AC unit or a secondary one like the duct system or filter. Especially if your system is on the older side or was not installed properly, you may experience these issues.

Simple Age

And finally, even if you aren't seeing direct problems at this moment, knowing the age of your HVAC system and important components is vital. Any system that's over 10 years old could be aging and at-risk of a few potential issues, and may be at the point where you should consider replacing it for optimal performance.

For more on how to spot potential HVAC issues using common red flags, or to learn about any of our plumbing repair or HVAC services, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Plumber today.

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