Heating systems will always need maintenance and repair over time, but waiting until winter arrives to take action on any noticeable issues concerning your heating unit can be disastrous. Here are some tips to Chesapeake-area homeowners about signs to look for that indicate a heating system is failing.
There is a tremendous difference in cost between a service call and full HVAC unit replacement. However, when homeowners don't stay on top of routine maintenance and acknowledge any warning signs that their heating unit may be malfunctioning, they may end up spending much more over time in repairs than their aging unit is worth.
Signs that a heating unit may be in need of service or replacement include:
Age of the system. The average lifespan of a heating system is 15-20 years. As a heating unit ages, it falls behind in terms of efficiency. A high-efficiency system uses less energy to run than a system that isn't, which typically means a lower monthly gas or oil bill. Band-Aid repairs on old units can easily waste money.
Strange and unusual noises. Noises, particularly metallic or scraping sounds, can be an indicator that a service call is needed for repair. In the event that the homeowner detects such a sound, the unit needs to be turned off immediately for further inspection to prevent any further damage.
Uneven heating of the home. This can indicate a number of things, some of which can be solved by the homeowner. Furniture blocking vents can obstruct air flow, and dirty filters can restrict flow to the entire home. However, if these are checked and the issue still exists, a service call may be needed to clear obstructed ductwork or repair of the unit. When homeowners have one room that gets too hot while another doesn't heat, there is an unbalanced distribution of heat that could be very costly depending on the location of the thermostat.
Increasing energy bills. Once your energy costs increase without a reasonable explanation, chances are your heating system isn't working as efficiently anymore. This is usually the case with older heating systems, but newer systems can also start to fail and become less efficient.
Increasing runtime. If your heating system runs constantly, beyond adjusting for winter temperatures, it can be an indication of loss of efficiency or a thermostat issue.
Excessive repairs. If repairs are becoming more frequent, expenses are increasing, and the same problems are reoccurring, it is most likely time to replace the entire unit. Replacing the entire unit with a current model will not only cut down on time and money spent on repairs and service calls, but will also help save on monthly energy bills thanks to newer energy-saving standards.
Sometimes a solution can be reached with minimal effort by the homeowner, but sometimes scheduling a professional technician for a service call is necessary.
Turning a heating unit on after the temperature has already dramatically dropped puts a tremendous amount of strain on the unit. It can completely compromise a unit that is already in need of repair or replacement. Taking action to prevent heating system failure will help you stay comfortable during the cold winter months.
For Chesapeake homeowners in need of heating system troubleshooting, service calls, replacement options, or immediate installation, contact Central Plumbing and Heating.