Problems with your heating and air conditioning system are sometimes difficult to detect. They can increase the utility bills for your Bath, Pennsylvania, home, damage your system, or cause poor indoor air quality, including mold and pests. If you don’t have HVAC trouble repaired by a professional, you could have an inconvenient breakdown, or you could even need to replace your unit. Here are the top four things that can go wrong with your HVAC unit and how to avoid them.

1. A Dirty Air Conditioning Filter

Your HVAC system’s air filter will eventually become clogged with pollen, dust, dirt, mold, and other pollutants. A clogged filter forces your system to work harder, wasting energy and shortening its life. It can also spread contaminants around your home and the parts of your HVAC system.

Check your filter once per month by holding it up to a light. If the light can’t pass through the filter, you need to change it. You should change your air filter at least every three months to keep your heater and air conditioner working well. Also, make sure all your air registers are open and no furniture, curtains, or other objects are blocking them.

2. Low Refrigerant

HVAC refrigerant absorbs heat from the outside air in winter and gives off heat in summer to warm and cool your home. If your air conditioner isn’t cooling well in summer and your utility bills are increasing, you could have low refrigerant from a leak or poor installation.

Possible signs of a leak are wet areas around hose connections or oily streaks around your compressor. Many older HVAC systems leak a few ounces of refrigerant per year, and replacing this refrigerant every few years is part of regular maintenance. If you need to have your refrigerant recharged once per year or more, a professional should also repair the leak in your system.

3. Thermostat Problems

If your thermostat is on a warm, sunny wall, too close to an air register, near your oven, or next to a drafty door or window, it can’t measure the temperature in your home accurately. Thermostat components could also be dirty from the dust in your home. These problems cause your heater or air conditioner to run too much and waste energy. Your system also might not run enough to keep you comfortable.

If your thermostat isn’t working at all, it could have a wiring problem. A wireless model could also need new batteries. Before you contact a professional, check your thermostat’s batteries, make sure it’s turned on, and set it correctly for the season.   

4. Leaky or Dirty Ductwork

Your air filter catches many contaminants, but dust, dirt, mold, and other contaminants will eventually accumulate inside your ductwork. This lowers your HVAC system’s efficiency. Leaks or gaps in aging or poorly installed ductwork can also waste energy, lower your indoor air quality, and cause warm or drafty areas in your home. Leaks could cause a whistling noise, and many leaks in basement or attic ducts are easy to find. If you notice the sound of flapping wings, buzzing, or scurrying, you could also have pests in your air ducts.

To make sure your ducts are clean, open an air register and touch the side of the duct with a damp cloth. If you can wipe away dirt or you see mold, pest droppings, or cobwebs, you should have your ductwork cleaned by a professional. A HVAC technician can also find all the leaks in your ducts so that your system works at peak efficiency.

Sullivan Oil & Propane has over 20 years of HVAC experience. We can help you repair, install, and maintain your heating and air conditioning. Call us anytime at (610) 810-3992 for excellent service.

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