An HVAC system is no longer a luxury for today’s businesses or homeowners; it’s integral to creating a comfortable, healthy environment for your family or customers. A malfunctioning heating and air conditioning system can cost up to $500 or more to fix and, in the meantime, your comfort is compromised and your utility bill often increases.
You may also face HVAC safety hazards and put others at risk, too. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States, and heating systems are the leading culprit. And according to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, accounting for 15% of all reported fires in 2017. There are also the dangers of electrical shocks, fires, and explosions if the wiring is not up to code or if the system is not properly grounded.
Preventative maintenance and care are critical to prevent these disasters and that begins with regular inspections by professional HVAC technicians. The frequency of HVAC system inspections depends on the type of system you have, the age of the system, and the weather in the area in which you live. For most residential HVAC systems, it is recommended to have your system inspected at least once a year.
In between those professional inspections by an HVAC technician, it is necessary for you to take precautions to cut back on repairs and protect against safety hazards. Here are some safety tips to protect your system.
When your car begins to make unusual noises, like grinding, rattling, or knocking, you know something is wrong. It’s the same with your HVAC system. New noises or smells are two of the primary alerts for danger ahead. If you notice any of the following, it’s time to call a professional to inspect and make any repairs needed.
Unit Won't Switch On
A unit that won’t turn on or keeps turning off prematurely is a red flag for attention. Call a professional HVAC company to determine if a repair is necessary.
If the normal smell of your HVAC unit changes, fuel may be leaking from a gas pipe or there may be a build-up of dust. This is another warning sign that you need services from a professional HVAC tech.
Whistling or squealing sounds that persist can mean a malfunctioning fan or belt, while groaning or banging may come from internal components that have become loose or have broken. Don’t wait; the next event may be a total breakdown of the unit. Get it checked out right away.
Poor Air Quality
HVAC systems circulate the air in our homes and businesses. But if the system isn’t kept clean, it circulates dirt, bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants instead. This can worsen allergies, cause headaches, watery and itchy eyes, and other serious respiratory issues.
Discoloration of the Pilot Light
If your system has a pilot light, make sure the flame is blue. Check it frequently. Yellow means there is abnormal ventilation, which is caused when carbon monoxide gasses don’t evaporate properly in the system. This is extremely dangerous because it can result in an explosion.
Faulty Carbon Monoxide Detector
Furnaces have a monitor for toxic gases. If the sensor begins to show or sound an alert, turn the furnace off immediately. Open all windows to provide ventilation and call for professional assistance right away.
Obviously, if a system isn’t providing the heat you need, it should be serviced as soon as possible.
HVAC Maintenance at Home or Your Business
HVAC systems need professional attention when home or business owners notice signs that things aren’t running properly. But there are many things that can be done to prevent those issues from happening at all. Follow all normal safety procedures and make sure the power is turned off to the system to eliminate any risks before you work on the unit:
Cleaning: Use a can of compressed air to clear out any debris, dust, dead insects, or debris.
Replace air filters: Do this at the beginning of each season, as well as each month for the best air quality possible.
Check the wiring: Look at the wiring connections to make sure that none of the connections are loose or rusty-looking.
Remove clutter & test detectors: Clean out clutter in the area around the heating unit to avoid a potential fire hazard and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Inspect ductwork: Wipe all the vent openings and check for any visible blockage. Check for gaps, holes, or any signs of damage.
Tasks for Professionals
There are certain actions that are best left to a professional HVAC business with the experience and tools, such as:
Testing thermostat parts
Confirming the unit’s settings
Replacing the furnace's water panel
Cleaning the ducts
AccuTemp Heating and Cooling has the experience, safety training, superior customer service, and certification to service all your HVAC needs. Give us a call and we will be more than happy to answer your questions and assist you!