October 3, 2023

Maintaining your HVAC | Community

3 min read
Maintaining your HVAC | Community

A day outdoors soaking up the sun’s rays is many people’s idea of the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. On such days, a periodic retreat indoors into an air conditioned home can offer some much-needed relief from the heat. HVAC systems are worth their weight in gold during the dog days of summer. Of course, such systems must be replaced from time to time. Learning to recognize the signs of a fading HVAC system can help homeowners replace their units before they cease working, saving everyone the uncomfortable ordeal of being stuck at home without cool air on hot summer days.

Weak air flow

An HVAC unit operating at peak capacity produces a strong flow of air through the vents of a home. The experts at Select Home Warranty note that when the air flow from the vent is weak, this could be a warning sign of a damaged AC compressor or blocked or damaged vents. Damaged vents might be replaceable, but issues with the AC unit might require a replacement. That’s especially so if the unit is old. Repairs might be possible, but it might be more cost-effective to replace an aging unit rather than commit to costly repairs.

“I think finding a HVAC company that does a yearly or bi-yearly inspection and comes out and inspects every thing, I think is well worth it because I central unit is very expensive to replace,” The Athens Handyman owner Mike Littrell said.

Excessive moisture around the unit

Excessive moisture around the unit may indicate that its refrigerant is leaking. In addition, Home Select Warranty notes that large pools of water around the unit could contribute to mold growth and floor damage. Homeowners are urged to contact a qualified HVAC technician immediately if they notice any leakage or moisture issues around their units.

Interior temperature

If your home is not quite the respite from summer heat that it once was, despite the AC being on and running, then this could be indicative of a fading system that may need to be replaced. However, the home warranty firm American Home Shield® notes that hot interior temperatures also may be indicative of clogged ductwork. Qualified HVAC technicians may be able to fix clogged ductwork without replacing the AC unit. If the issue persists even after ducts have been cleaned and unclogged, then a new unit might be homeowners’ best bet.

Changing the air filter monthly is something Littrell urges people to do. “Change it no less than once a month. It is worth investing in a good filter and not one of those cheap ones that fold up. Most of the time, the problem you are going to have with a central unit is due to lack of maintenance, but the filter is the one thing you can do that’s easy and inexpensive to maintain. If I had one thing to say about HVAC, it would be that,” he said.

Foul odor

Sometimes the nose knows best when an AC unit needs to be replaced. Unusual odors emanating from the vents when the AC is on suggest that the unit is distributing mold or mildew throughout the home. The Florida-based heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical experts at Cool Today note that a moldy or mildew-like smell coming from the vents could indicate a host of issues, including a dirty evaporator coil, a clogged drain line or leaky air ducts. Each of these issues can be fixed, but homeowners must weigh the cost of fixing them versus the cost of replacing an aging unit. Come the dog days of summer, homeowners want a reliable AC unit to cool their homes. Recognizing signs of a malfunctioning AC unit is a good first step toward ensuring homes remain cool, relaxing respites from the heat this summer.