Does your air conditioning unit sound like a dying cat? Or is your thermostat no longer cooperating? Have you recently noticed your house getting too humid and blamed it on the humidifier everyone seems obsessed with?
Regardless of whatever your housemates may say, these are genuine concerns. You may likely be experiencing HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system malfunctions.
No need to panic now, as we have compiled this guide to help you identify and fix any HVAC problems you may encounter, especially given the drastically changing climate of Long Island.
A properly functioning HVAC system is crucial to maintain indoor comfort levels through the hot and humid summers to cold, snowy, and wet winters of Long Island. The highest temperature in this region in the last five years rose to 99 Fahrenheit in July of 2019. The lowest recorded in the past five years was 2 degrees Fahrenheit in January 2018. It has risen since.
Understanding the HVAC System
HVAC is a climate control system commonly employed in buildings and homes to regulate temperature and air quality inside these structures. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems — or HVAC are responsible for heating indoor spaces in cooler weather, ensuring a constant flow of fresh air via ventilation, and providing air conditioning to maintain comfort levels during scorching heat.
So, a good HVAC will ensure you remain warm in winter and cool in summer with a constant supply of clean, breathable air.
Consult service providers, such as a Long Island home services company, for further details about your home’s HVAC system and its features and effectiveness.
Some commonly used HVAC systems on Long Island include forced-air furnaces, heat pumps, and even boilers for the freezing winters. Others include air conditioning systems, such as central air conditioning units, ductless mini-split systems, and much more.
Identifying and Fixing Common HVAC Problems
Like all hardware components, your HVAC system may occasionally require maintenance and repair. Remember to always treat your HVAC issues as soon as possible. If left unresolved, the tiniest issue could accumulate into a huge crisis.
Read on to find the most common issues in HVAC systems and how to tackle them.
A Full Air Filter
More often than not, the root cause behind most of your HVAC issues is a clogged or full filter. A fully clogged filter drastically decreases efficiency and performance.
The clogged dust does not let hot or cold air through when the fan blows. But despite that, the system is designed to keep working, so it tries its best to keep doing so anyway. As a result, you may see a spike in your HVAC bills, lower cooling or heating, and many more of the issues listed below.
So be vigilant about changing your filters, preferably every 2-3 months.
The Thermostat is Not Set Right
Often, when dealing with such systems, most issues arise simply due to user error. For example, your fan cycles constantly because it is set to “On” rather than “Auto.”
Such user issues are also applicable when using your thermostat. If you are not fully equipped to operate the thermostat, you will likely be causing low efficiency.
Additionally, a faulty thermostat can also lead to temperature inconsistencies, in turn lowering performance. Every so often, check your thermostat settings or consider upgrading to a smart or programmable thermostat to optimize temperature control and save energy costs.
High HVAC Bills
Did you notice any sudden hike in your energy bills this season? If yes, then your HVAC system might just be working too hard. What does that mean?
Your HVAC system undergoes a strain like all other electrical components when its load increases or it encounters some resistance. That might mean the heating or cooling system is running against a higher temperature change than usual. Or your ducts are either clogged, or your fan could use lubrication. The latter two may be more likely.
Now that we have identified the problem, it would be in your best interest to check if your air filter needs changing or have your ducts cleaned out for any possible clog. If this does not work, lubricate your outdoor unit.
If the issue persists, call a professional for a thorough analysis. It is highly likely that something needs to be repaired or replaced.
Strange Noises from the HVAC System
While hearing sounds from your HVAC system may seem like a code-red situation, it isn’t. A malfunctioning system can create quite a ruckus. We have briefly described the commonly occurring sounds and what they mean.
- The heating or cooling unit should maintain a steady hum when operating. In case this sound gets louder, there’s a high chance your components may be worn. Either lubricate affected parts, replace them with newer ones, or call in a professional.
- You may have a loud bang or pop noise when the HVAC starts. When the ducts are not properly installed or insulated, they may get too warm or cold. When the system starts, these ducts must reset themselves. To fix this, contact a professional to reinstall them.
- If somehow debris makes its way into the ducts, you’ll hear a flapping or clanking sound. It starts low but eventually speeds up. To solve it, shut down the system and try to remove as much of the debris as you can.
- Hearing metal grind is code red. If you hear metal parts grating against each other, shut down the system immediately and call a professional. The metal on metal can cause sparks and lead to a fire.
- A squealing or screeching sound on turning on the system is often associated with either an unlubricated fan or a loose component.
Your HAVC system is not supposed to emit any funny smells, so if you ever come across a strange smell, call a professional. It could be mold, burnt-out wiring, or even a dead animal.
Poor Indoor Air Quality
The spring season comes bearing bees, flowers, pollens, and more allergens. Pollen season can be your worst nightmare if your air purifiers or air filters are not working properly.
To maintain healthy indoor air quality, invest in high-quality air filters and consider adding air purifiers around your home.
These can either be due to poor drainage of the condensation – not so harmful, or it may be due to a refrigerant leak – which can be very deadly and hazardous. In case of a refrigerant leak, immediately call an emergency HVAC service.
A functional and healthy HVAC system is crucial to maintain indoor comfort levels, especially in a drastically changing climate such as Long Island. However, we hope you are now well-equipped to identify and contain issues that may arise in your HVAC system.
So, sit back and relax in your perfectly maintained indoor air-quality home.