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10 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your HVAC System

Clock on red background | 10 Signs It's Time To Replace Your Heating & Cooling System

Many homeowners across Hampton Roads wrestle with deciding the right time to replace their heating & cooling system. Here are 10 indicators that point to the fact that your HVAC system is ready for an overhaul.

In most cases, you will find investing in a new, energy-efficient system, will save you money in the end. With a new heating & cooling system, you should not have unexpected repair bills or increased utility costs. If you find yourself checking yes to these ten items, then stop asking “when to replace” and start saying “it’s time!”

1. HVAC Unit Is 10+ Years Old

If your heating and cooling system is older than ten years of age, then chances are, it utilizes freon (or R-22) coolant. Owing to its harm to the environment, the manufacturing of R-22 has been retired across the globe. There are options to convert the coolant chemical to a safer agent. However, you should weigh the costs of this repair in addition to others on the horizon of an aging system. If your HVAC system is 10 years or older, you may be saying, “it’s time.”

2. Blowing Warm Air Or Not Blowing Cool Air

When the temperatures warm up in Hampton Roads, homeowners will be clicking on their air conditioners. Your heating and cooling system has one purpose in life – to keep your home comfortable – cool in the hot summer months and warm in the cold winter months. If you run your air conditioner and find that warm air or no cool air is blowing out, then you know you have a problem.

Your HVAC system may have an issue with the compressor. Another reason could be an issue with refrigerant. Refrigerant may be leaking or low. Depending on the age of your HVAC system, the refrigerant cost may be more expensive than investing in a new cost-efficient system especially if your system uses the now-retired R-22 coolant.

3. Poor Or Weak Air Flow

If you turn your system’s air conditioner on for the first time this spring and notice that the airflow from the AC return vents are barely pushing out cool air, then your system may have a problem. The issue could be as small as a clogged air filter (air filters require regular replacements). Lack of airflow could be an indicator of a broken motor, blower fan, or an even more serious problem. The bottom line, if your HVAC is not performing at its optimum level then greater energy bills are on their way. A cooling system running harder than it should to meet average output will be more taxing on the unit (on a track for greater repair bills) and will cost more in overexerted utility bills.

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4. Loud Or Unusual Noises

It is normal for a heating and cooling unit to make low-level sounds as it starts up and shuts down. However, if you are hearing uncommon noises – loud bangs and thuds, grinding, grating, and whistling – then your HVAC system is not well. If your system makes a buzzing or rattling sound, your heating and cooling system may have a loose part. No matter how you describe the noise, if it is uncommon to your system – then it requires attention. Call in a Smith & Keene expert technician to give your system an evaluation to determine the extent of the repair required.

5. Humidity In The Home

An air conditioning system should be equipped to keep moisture levels under control. If you notice that the inside of your home is just as humid as the weather outdoors, then your system needs a recalibration. HVAC systems should naturally be pulling humidity out of your home. If they are not doing this job, then other issues could be on the horizon.

6. Foul Odors

If you notice foul smells coming from your HVAC system not only is it annoying, it could be an indicator of a greater problem with your unit. Musty smells from your air conditioner vents, could be an indicator of mold or mildew growing in the ventilation ductwork. A professional duct-cleaning could remove the microbials causing the odor. Worse odors, such as burning metal or melting plastic, are signs of a serious HVAC malfunction. These smells could indicate burned-out wire installation or motor. Turn your AC unit off immediately and call for a professional to evaluate the extent of repair required.

7. Leaks

While minor condensation around your cooling system is expected, heavy drainage or leaks are signals of an issue with your HVAC. A drainage tube is the element of your HVAC that draws condensation away from your cooling system and outside of your home. If the condensation drain is clogged, then your system’s condensation drip pan may overflow causing water damage to ceilings or walls (depending on the placement of your AC system). Spotting a leak could also indicate that there is an issue with your refrigerant. Refrigerants are the chemicals used to maintain that your system does not overheat. It also keeps the air in your home cool. If the refrigerant is leaking in your system, then your system will not have sufficient coolant, and overheating could occur.

8. Frequent Or Short Cycling

It is normal for an HVAC system to flip on or off in keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. However, it is not normal for air conditioners to short-cycle. Short-cycling is when your HVAC turns off before a cycle is completed. While one cause of short-cycling could be that your HVAC is too large for your home, another cause will lead you down the road of repairs. Short cycling is an indicator that your system is running harder than it should because of an issue. Whether it is a simple clogged air filter, or refill on your refrigerant, or it could be that your HVAC compressor is failing. Regardless of the cause, short cycling is a reason to call in a heating and cooling expert.

9. High Or Rising Energy Bills

If your utility bill for your HVAC suddenly spikes and is not in line with the temperatures outside, it could be an indicator that your system is working harder than it should. A heating and cooling system that is overworked means it is not running efficiently. The less efficient your HVAC system, the higher the utility bill. Additionally, if your cooling system is constantly running overtime then more repairs could be in the near future. Take steps to have your system evaluated by a professional to determine the cause of your system running above its means. If your system requires hefty repairs you may be saying “it’s time” to invest in a new, more energy-efficient system to lower utility bills.

Man reading bill

10. Frequent Repair Bills

Every family has a tipping point for major repair bills. Whether it is a vehicle, a major appliance, or your heating and cooling system, there comes a time when the cost of a repair outweighs the investment of a replacement.

If you are frequently sinking money repairing an aged HVAC unit, then a new more energy-efficient system could be your best bet. If it’s time for a new unit for your home’s HVAC, contact the experts at Smith & Keene to evaluate your out-of-date system and guide you in the most efficient heating and cooling system for your home.

Call The Experts

If your home’s HVAC has one or more of these indicators, then chances are a new system is in your future. Be proactive! Don’t wait for mounting repair bills or until your unit completely breaks. 

Contact Smith & Keene to schedule one of our expert HVAC technicians to evaluate your existing cooling unit. If repairing your system is the right route, our team can handle it. If it’s time to get a new unit, our team is specially trained to guide you in selecting the ideal HVAC unit for your home. Don’t be afraid to say “It’s Time” and invest in a new heating and cooling system for your family.

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