What Your HVAC May Be Telling You

What Your HVAC May Be Telling You https://learningcentre.statefarm.ca/residence/maintenance/what-your-hvac-may-be-telling-you/ bb3 Jul 19, 2012

By Staff Writer State Farm™ Employee

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Are there rooms in your home that usually feel too warm or too cool? Are your utility bills continuing to increase? It may be time to replace your heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system.

Here are some signs that may indicate it’s time for an upgrade:

  • Age. A well-maintained system can “live” for 15 to 20 years, according to Chris Margaritis, HVAC salesman/gas fitter for The Furnace Company in Edmonton, Alberta. A unit that receives less care typically lives 5 to 10 years. Ask an HVAC contractor to evaluate your system when it turns 10.
  • Noise. “Loud rattling, squealing and grinding noises could mean that your unit has seen better days,” Margaritis says. “Whistling is another cause for concern. It indicates that you have a dirty filter.”
  • Inefficiency. A unit that runs constantly, but doesn’t evenly or effectively heat or cool your home, should be examined.
  • High repair or energy bills. If your system needs frequent repairs or you’ve been surprised by sudden, sky-high energy bills, it may be time to invest in an upgrade.

When you’re shopping for a new HVAC system, look for these features:

  • Energy efficiency. Replace your old furnace and air conditioner with energy-efficient models that’ll keep your home comfortable and hold costs down. ENERGY STAR® qualified furnaces are 15 per cent more efficient than standard models, while ENERGY STAR qualified central air conditioners are 20 per cent more efficient.
  • Size. An oversize unit can overwhelm your space with noise and will typically increase your utility bills. A unit that’s too small, on the other hand, “is just going to run too much and too often, which is stressful on the unit itself because it’s trying to catch up,” Margaritis says. Enlist the help of a qualified HVAC contractor, who will take into account factors such as the size of your home, windows, and ducts, as well as your insulation levels, to recommend the appropriate unit for your home.

Once you’ve had a new HVAC unit installed, you can lengthen its lifespan by keeping it in tip-top shape. A few pointers:

  • Have it serviced yearly or every other year by a HVAC contractor
  • Replace your furnace filter monthly or buy a reusable filter that you can clean

Ensure proper air circulation—keep furniture and rugs away from vents indoors, and dirt and vegetation cleared away from outdoor condenser units.