It’s the day homeowners dread: Their HVAC system calls it quits for good. Maybe the heat just stopped working seemingly without warning, or the air conditioning that had been struggling for several summers finally gave out. Wouldn’t it be nice at least to know when that day is coming so you could plan for it?
Unlike milk cartons, HVAC systems don’t come with expiration labels. While it’s impossible to determine exactly when your system will need to be replaced, there are some indicators to watch. Here are five you can use to help evaluate your heating and cooling system.
How To Tell If Your HVAC System May Be Calling It Quits For Good
- 1. You’re having more frequent repairs
At some point, it’s best to throw in the towel. HVAC systems certainly aren’t maintenance free, of course, but if you find you’re having to fix it every season, or even multiple times in one season, that may be a sign you’d be better off replacing your HVAC. Parts and labor for repairs can add up quickly, and in the end you still may wind up with a heating and cooling system whose days are numbered.
- 2. You hear strange noises or smell odd odors
The modern HVAC system is designed to run quietly and, certainly, smell-free. Squealing, screeching, banging, whirring or grinding noises tell you it’s time to call an HVAC specialist. Same for smells. Turning on the heat for the first time since the previous winter may result in a brief burning smell, which is normal. Beyond that is cause for concern and investigation.
- 3. Utility bills keep climbing
No two winters and no two summers are alike when it comes to temperatures and how often your HVAC system is running. Allowing for temperature differences, however, a system that is performing well should not keep using more and more energy. At some point, you may decide a new, more energy-efficient unit makes sense.
- 4. The HVAC system seems to run constantly.
In really hot or really cold weather, your system is going to run more simply because you’re trying to keep your home comfortable. Allowing for extreme temperatures, however, your HVAC system should turn off in the summer at night when things cool down and during the day in winter. When the system runs constantly, that’s a good indicator it doesn’t have the capacity it used to have, whether due to accumulated dirt or a compressor on the way out.
- 5. Your system is old.
OK, so what’s “old” for a heating and cooling system? And do you know how old yours is? To find out the age, check the tag on the system’s cover; that should tell you. How long an HVAC system lasts is another matter. Some may fail in six years, others may last 15; a good average is 10 or so. A system that has been inspected and serviced each season by a professional technician is likely to last longer.
The folks at Knight’s Mechanical have been in the HVAC business for more than 40 years and would be happy to check out your heating and cooling system, then give you an honest appraisal of its condition.