There is never a good time for your heating or air conditioning to stop working. Murphy's law says that your HVAC system will need replacement on the hottest day, when you've just gotten home from a long day of running the kids between school, practices, and appointments. You could hold your breath and hope your unit makes it through the season without a service call or repair.
Or you could be proactive and aware of these three warning signs that your HVAC system is on the way out.
- Your HVAC Unit Is More Than 10 Years Old
If your heating and cooling system is more than 10 years old, you can stop reading here. The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Star program recommends having a professional replace your air conditioner every 10 years and your furnace every 15 years. Technology moves along quickly today, and the energy use of older systems quickly becomes outpaced by more efficient solutions. High-efficiency Energy Star-rated HVAC systems can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.
- Your Utility Bill Jumps for No Reason
Consider putting an annual reminder on your calendar to compare your bill each summer or winter. If the rate charged by your fuel provider hasn't gone up significantly but your bill has, the HVAC system might be the culprit. Also be on the look out if your energy bill jumps during a season, but there has not been a drastic change in outdoor temperature.
Both of these expensive changes likely mean that your heater or air conditioner is suddenly working less efficiently, which may be a sign that replacement is needed. You're throwing money out the window. Yes, it will cost money upfront for your new system, but you'll recoup that in a few years thanks to your lower bills.
- Your System Does Not Heat or Cool Properly
Image via Flickr by kbowenwriter
Thankfully, an air conditioner or furnace is less complex than a child. If it's not responding when you ask it to do something (like heat or cool a room), there is a professional who can step in quickly to fix the problem or replace the HVAC system.
When an HVAC unit is slow to heat or cool, there could be an issue with any of the core parts, including the air filter, refrigerant, drainage, thermostat, or electric controls for the fan or compressor. Be sure to consult a professional early, when you first notice the problem. The longer the unit struggles, friction or other causes may wear down essential parts, requiring full replacement.
No one loves spending money on a home repair, but it's inevitable if your HVAC unit is more than 10 years old, not heating or cooling properly, or your utility bill suddenly jumps. Making the HVAC repair call sooner rather than later will save you money in the long run. Even the U.S. Department of Energy recommends hiring a certified HVAC professional for most heating and cooling repair or service issues. HVAC systems involve electricity, and no shortcut is worth a life.