4 Things that Can Go Wrong with Your AC
It can be difficult to detect when you are having problems with your heating and air conditioning system (HVAC). Some common problems, if left unattended, can damage your system, increase your utility bills and cause poor indoor air quality. Any time one of the following problem presents itself, make sure to have your HVAC system repaired by a professional, to avoid it breaking down or needing to be replaced.
1. A Dirty AC Filter
The air filter in your HVAC system will eventually become clogged with dirt, dust, mold and other pollutants. When the filter is clogged, your system needs to work harder, expending more energy and reducing its lifespan. A dirty filter also spreads contaminants around your home and the other parts of your HVAC system.
It’s essential to check your filter monthly by holding it up to the light. If no light passes through the filter, it needs to be changed. To keep your HVAC unit working correctly, you must change your air filter every three months and make sure that nothing is blocking your air registers, such as curtains or furniture.
2. Low Refrigerant
The refrigerant in your HVAC unit absorbs outside air heat during the winter, and gives off heat in the summer, warming and cooling your home as needed. If your AC is not cooling your home properly and you notice an increase in your utility bills, the culprit can be low refrigerant caused by poor installation or a leak.
A wet area around the connections of the hose or oily streaks around your compressor are possible signs of a leak. A lot of older HVAC units leak some refrigerant every year, so regularly replacing this refrigerant should be part of its maintenance. If you find that your coolant needs to be recharged more than once per year, an AC technician needs to repair the leak in your unit.
3. Problems With the Thermostat
Your thermostat won’t work properly and get an accurate measure of the temperature of your home if it’s close to your oven, next to a draft or on a warm sunny wall so make sure to avoid these placement areas. The components in your thermostat can also be dirty from dust, causing your AC unit to work overtime and waste energy.
If your thermostat is not working at all, most likely this is due to a wiring issue, or a battery issue if you have a wireless model. Check that your unit is turned on, the batteries are working, and it’s correctly set for the season.
4. Ductwork That’s Leaky or Dirty
Dirt, must, dust and other contaminants will start to accumulate inside your ducts, lowering your HVAC units efficiency. Other things that can lead to lower indoor quality and higher energy bills are gaps, leaks or poorly installed ductwork. Some of the indicators of a leak are whistling, buzzing or flapping wings noises.
To ensure that you have clean ducts, open the air register and wipe the inside with a damp cloth. If any pest droppings, cobwebs, mold or dirt remains in the fabric, then your ductwork needs to be professionally cleaned. An HVAC professional will also register and fix any leaks, so your unit runs at its optimal conditions.