How Do You Know When Your HVAC Is Going Bad?

Is your furnace not heating your home properly? Is your AC leaving you sweating? Or does something seem a little off with your indoor air quality? Knowing when there’s something wrong with your HVAC can be a challenge because the symptoms aren’t always obvious. This article will review everything that can go wrong with your HVAC systems, how long HVAC systems should last, and what signs to look out for.

How Long Can an HVAC Unit Last?

For many homeowners, their HVAC system probably came with the house. When something seems wrong with your HVAC, the first question on your mind might be, “how do you know when your HVAC is going bad?” The second question is, undoubtedly, “how old is my HVAC?” 

Age plays a key factor in the performance of your HVAC equipment. Most HVAC systems last between 15 and 25 years, depending on upkeep and maintenance. 

Signs HVAC Is Going Bad

If you’re struggling to figure out if your heater is damaged or wonder how to tell if your AC is broken, here are some important signs to look out for: 

Indoor Humidity

For ideal indoor air quality and comfort, humidity levels should never be too high or too low. When humidity is too high, the air becomes damp, facilitating mold growth and making the air warmer than necessary. When humidity is too low, skin dries out, and certain germs and viruses begin to thrive. It’s a careful balance.

If your indoor humidity seems off, there’s a good chance your HVAC is to blame. A quick inspection of your systems will reveal the problem.

Strange Smells

Your HVAC system should never produce unusual smells. Specifically, you want to look out for electrical and burning odors, mold or mildew smells, and rotten egg smells. 

Electrical or burning smells indicate a potential wiring issue that could lead to an electrical fire. Mold and mildew smells might occur if humidity is too high, or if leaks are causing water damage. A rotten egg smell is a sign that you might have a natural gas leak.  

Inaccurate Thermostat

Thermostats are tricky. When they’re off the mark, it’s hard to say whether the thermostat is the problem or your HVAC system is going bad. 

The only thing you know for sure is that it’s not comfortable inside. If your thermostat seems to be malfunctioning, don’t hesitate to call an HVAC technician to take a look. 

Strange Noises

Unusual noises like banging, hissing, or screeching indicate a mechanical issue. A component may be loose or damaged due to wear and tear and simply needs replacing. For furnaces, listen for pops or booms, as well. These are combustion sounds and may indicate a problem with your burner. 

Inconsistent Temperatures

Your HVAC system needs to make your home the right temperature. However, inconsistent temperatures may not be as simple as “my home isn’t the right temperature.” 

If your heater isn’t making your house warm, or your AC isn’t cooling the place down, there’s something wrong. Certain rooms might be warmer or colder than they should be, while the rest of the home seems fine. In any case, if your home isn’t the temperature you’ve set, it’s time to get an inspection or repair.

Drastic Increases in Your Power Bill

Are you still not sure whether you’re having problems with your HVAC system? Check your energy bills.  

If your energy bills suddenly spike one month, it’s because your HVAC system is working a lot harder than it’s supposed to. While a lack of maintenance drives up energy costs over time, a damaged system usually causes a sudden increase in energy usage. If your HVAC systems are using up too much power, something may be broken.

Short Cycling

Short cycling is when your HVAC system is constantly turning on and off. Usually, this happens randomly throughout the day. When your system short cycles, it’s a sign that an electrical issue is interfering with your unit’s power supply. It could also mean the unit is overheating. This is a potential fire hazard and shouldn’t be ignored.

Slow Air Flow

Slow airflow might mean a problem with the blower motor, which pushes air through the system. If air isn’t moving through your ductwork, it won’t reach the rest of your home, and you may as well not have an HVAC system at all. 

System Leaks

Leaks around your unit are never good, even if it’s a small amount of moisture. Leaks can rust or corrode components, cause water damage around the unit, and lead to mold or mildew growth. The problem could be as simple as a clogged air filter or leaking drain pan to as problematic as a broken condensate pump or low refrigerant. 

Old Units

If your unit is 25 years or older, there’s a big chance you’ll notice a significant drop in performance sooner than later. Older HVAC units degrade over time. Eventually, they won’t be able to keep up with demand, and something will break down. Even if you’re lucky, and your unit still works just fine, it most likely doesn’t have the efficiency it used to, causing your energy bills to rise higher and higher. 

Home Air Conditioner Performance Test

If you’re wondering how to tell if your AC is cooling properly, there’s a simple test you can perform. Turn your AC on and let it run for about 15 minutes. Then, find a supply register closest to the unit. Place a thermometer in the register for about five minutes. Then, place the thermometer in a return register for five minutes. The difference between the two should be about 15 degrees. 

How to Tell If AC Compressor Is Bad

When your AC’s compressor is damaged, there will be some obvious signs your air conditioner needs repair. 

No Hot Air Released Outside

If you suspect your AC is broken, one thing you can do is examine the outdoor unit. It should be releasing a substantial amount of heat. This is the heat from inside your home getting pulled out. Simply put your hand over the fan of the unit and feel for warmth. If there’s no heat or the air is lukewarm, gas is most likely not being appropriately compressed. 

Strange Noises

While unusual noises are signs of general issues with HVAC units, they can also indicate a damaged compressor. Have someone start the AC while you stand outside with the outdoor unit. When turned on, you should hear the compressor’s fan working properly. If you start to hear rumbling, vibrating, popping, banging, clicking, or screeching, something is loose or damaged. These noises can also indicate electrical problems with your compressor. 

Tripping Circuit Breaker

When your circuit breaker trips, it’s for good reason. If your circuit breaker is tripping every time you turn on the AC, it could indicate potential wiring issues, overheating, or a failing compressor. 

Compressor Won’t Turn On

If your AC is suddenly not producing cold air, check if the fan is running inside your home. If it is, it’s time to check on the compressor outside. If you don’t hear the compressor’s fan running, something has gone wrong, and your compressor may be damaged or failing.

The Air Is Warm

If your AC seems to be running smoothly, but the air it produces is warm instead of cold, your compressor may be to blame. Warm air can mean a few things. If you’re lucky, it just means your unit is low on refrigerant. Otherwise, warm air can indicate a failing compressor.

Outstanding HVAC Repair in Forney, Texas

If your HVAC system isn’t working exactly as it should, don’t wait it out. Enjoy lasting comfort with a bit of help from Premier HVAC Services. 

Our expert technicians offer HVAC repair, maintenance, and installation services in Forney, Texas, and the surrounding areas. We’ll fix your HVAC quickly and efficiently so you can relax at home once again. Call or contact Premier HVAC Services to schedule service today!