Temperatures in San Antonio, TX often reach over 96° in the summer. To keep yourself and your household members comfortable, you’re going to want to make sure that your HVAC system is fully functional. Of course, it can be hard for average homeowners to know when their HVAC systems are not operating at full capacity.
If you want to know more about the signs that indicate an under-functioning or broken AC, read on. This article will go over 8 of these.
1. Your HVAC System Uses Dangerous Refrigerants
Are you an eco-conscious person? If so, you probably want to read this closely. If your HVAC unit is a certain age, it could contain a refrigerant that is not only a danger to the environment but also a danger to you.
A refrigerant is any kind of substance that can move heat from one area to another. As well as being used in HVAC systems, these substances are also often used in freezers and fridges. Unfortunately, the handiness of this substance can come with great prices.
To start with, some popular type of refrigerants all known as Freons (including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) like CFC-12 and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) like HCFC-22) can deplete the ozone layer when it is used.
This is not a good situation, as the ozone layer protects us from ultraviolet radiation. If we’re exposed to too much ultraviolet radiation, we can develop skin cancers and cataracts.
For this reason, no new HVAC units can legally include this refrigerant. However, your HVAC unit may be old enough that it can contain this refrigerant. You can find out which refrigerant your system uses by checking the nameplate.
Luckily, you and the members are in no immediate danger if there are Freon refrigerants in your HVAC. These refrigerants only become dangerous if they start to leak out of your system. Before that happens, you may want to replace your current refrigerant with a safer alternative.
2. Your HVAC Vents Smell Foul
Any bad smells coming from your HVAC vents can indicate a few different problems. A burning smell can mean that there’s a burned-out part in your system or that the filters haven’t been properly replaced. A musty smell can mean that your vents have been contaminated with mold, which could pose a health problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), molds can cause a variety of health effects. People who are sensitive to mold can experience wheezing, a stuffy nose, and/or itchy throat and eyes. In the most severe cases, mold victims can experience fever and shortness of breath.
Thus, it’s not a good idea to let molds fester inside your vents for a long time. You can clean your vents of mold yourself, but it’s better to leave that job to AC repair technicians. They are the most likely to get all mold growth removed from your vents and they also know how to remove mold safely.
One thing that you can easily do is replace your AC filter. If you smell a burning stench, try learning what kind of filter your AC needs and then replace the old one with a new one. Also, in the future, you should do this every one to two months to better the quality of your air and ensure that your HVAC doesn’t catch on fire.
If the burning smell goes away after you do this, you’ve solved the problem that caused it. However, if this smell doesn’t go away, something is broken in your HVAC. An air conditioner repair technician will do the best job of diagnosing the problem and fixing it.
3. Your HVAC Is Producing Strange Sounds
What falls under the category of a strange HVAC sound? Anything that sounds different from the usual functioning sounds of your HVAC unit should be a cause for concern. However, there are specific sounds that you can listen for that indicate particular problems.
For instance, your outdoor unit shouldn’t be clicking, clanging, banging, or screeching. All these sounds can indicate that either there’s an obstruction in your outdoor unit’s fan or there’s something generally wrong with your outdoor unit’s fan. Clicking can also indicate that one or more of the system’s components are experiencing an electrical problem.
Hissing, screaming, bubbling, gurgling, and squealing are also concerning sounds that you need to keep an ear out for. These sounds indicate issues with your compressor, condensate drain line, and fan belt respectively. Each of these can lead to your HVAC either ceasing to function and/or the system presenting a possible danger to you.
The only move that you can make against any of these sounds is to remove obstructions from your outdoor fan (make sure your unit is turned off before you do this, of course). The other problems are highly technical and best handled by an AC and heat professional. Luckily, you may only need to get HVAC unit parts replaced in this case and not the whole system.
4. Your HVAC System Is Blowing Hot Air
An HVAC system can blow hot air when it’s regularly functioning, of course. If it’s blowing hot air when you told it not to via the control panel, your system could likely be experiencing one or several different problems.
HVAC systems usually blow hot air when they shouldn’t when there’s a clogged air filter, a refrigerant leak, an electrical malfunction, and/or a problem with the compressor. As mentioned before, you can replace the air filter and see if that solves the problem.
If it doesn’t, though, you don’t want to try and solve any of the other issues yourself. It’s most likely that you’ll waste a lot of time trying to diagnose the exact problem and/or you’ll end up misdiagnosing the issue and causing an even bigger problem. Then you might need to contact a more expensive emergency AC repair service.
5. Your HVAC Energy Bill Has Mysteriously Gotten Higher
Even with regular maintenance, no HVAC systems last forever. The typical lifespan of any HVAC system is 20 years. As your system reaches that age or goes past that age, you’ll find that its energy efficiency decreases.
Of course, it’s very difficult to see or feel a difference in energy efficiency if your HVAC seems to be functioning normally otherwise. The best indication of a failure in energy efficiency will show up on your energy bill. If your energy bill seems to be creeping up without any indication of inflation or heavier usage, your unit is probably just old.
The best way to save yourself these extra expenses is to invest in a new HVAC installation. This can cost a fair amount at the beginning (around $3,000 to $10,000 to be exact), but this new unit will eventually pay for itself by saving you energy costs.
6. Your HVAC Isn’t Regulating the Humidity
Besides keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, your HVAC also has the job of regulating the humidity level in your home. This is a very important job. Too much humidity in the home can lead to poor home air quality, weakened walls and ceilings, mold and mildew growth, and more.
If your home seems muggier than usual, consider buying a humidity measurement tool. If the humidity seems higher than what is healthy (you can learn about healthy levels of humidity online), consider contacting an AC and heat technician company. Their employees can best determine if your HVAC is the cause of the high humidity and fix the issue.
If your HVAC isn’t the issue, high humidity can also be an indication of plumbing problems and you may need an emergency plumber.
7. Your HVAC Keeps Turning On and Off
A fully functional HVAC unit will turn on, blow some air, and then turn off when the room has reached a satisfactory temperature. It should only do this a few times during the day. If your unit seems to be turning on and off several times during the day, it may have a broken thermostat.
Your HVAC system knows when the room has reached the temperature you set because of its thermostat. If the thermostat breaks, the HVAC will be unable to sense the temperature well and will turn itself on and off repeatedly to keep up with the wildly fluctuating temperatures the thermostat is indicating.
Luckily, replacing a thermostat is an easy and often cheap repair process for an HVAC technician to perform.
8. Your HVAC Unit Is Just Old
If you check your HVAC unit’s age and find that it’s older than 20 years, replacing the whole unit can be a good next step. You’ll likely save yourself from a lot of dangers and expensive repairs in the future.
Of course, you can discuss the matter with an HVAC repair technician and make certain that this is the best route for you.
Hire Us to Handle HVAC, Plumbing, and Water Heater Repair in San Antonio
As you can see, contacting an HVAC repair service is the best way to fix a malfunctioning HVAC. The prices can get high. However, the comfort and safety you provide for yourself and your household members can be well worth it.
Also, if you just typed “HVAC service near me” and are in Texas, consider using our services. We are a family-owned and operated business in San Antonio and the surrounding areas with HVAC, water heater, and plumbing services. Book our services as soon as you notice a problem and we’ll promise to put you first.