Eleven Indicators Your HVAC System is Failing

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC system) unit needs constant maintenance and replacement. Old and inefficient units cause an increase in energy bills. Faulty units result in discomfort and health risks. It would help if you knew when your HVAC is worn out so that you can act in good time. Let us explore some signs of a unit that is going bad.

Poor Air Flow

If your air conditioner is barely pushing out cool air, there may be an underlying problem. The problem may be a broken motor, clogged air filter, or other serious issues. If your heating and air conditioning system is not operating at an ideal energy level, you will have to pay a higher bill. 

Uneven or Uncomfortable Temperatures

If your HVAC unit is not multi-zone, the temperature of the rooms and floors (if you have a story home) should be consistent. If one room is warm while another is cold, your system is experiencing significant problems.

It is vital to check the ductwork as it is a significant factor in temperature control. It carries cool and warm air to different parts of the home. Ensure that it can handle the air requirements of your home.

Another temperature issue indicator is a hotter summer or chiller winter. Your system should keep you cool during the summer and warm during winter. If you notice that it is not doing so, it could be because it is failing.

Rising Energy Bills

A spike in your HVAC utility bill shows that your system is overworking. Consult a professional to determine the cause of the spike. If your unit requires constant repairs, it is time to replace it and learn how to create a more energy-efficient home. The hired professional can guide you in buying the most efficient system.

During summer, it is normal to spend more to cool your home. However, your bill should not be significantly higher than it was during previous summers. 

Water Leaks

Water leaking from your HVAC could indicate various other problems in the unit. Some of the issues are; a leaking refrigerant, damaged condenser unit, breakage or crack in the drain pan, and a sweating duct system. Be careful of leaks as they become hazardous at times.

Advanced Age

Old or aged systems work overtime to offer a comfortable temperature for your home. If it has been functioning for a long time, say ten to fifteen years, you need to install a new one. It would be best to prepare yourself psychologically for replacements every decade or two because the systems do not last for a lifetime.

How long an HVAC unit lasts also depends on how it was installed and how well you maintain it. It is not fitting to spend a lot of money to repair an old system. Some tend to be obsolete even after repair.

Non-stop Running

Your unit should not run indefinitely. It should only do so when there is a need. If it is running all the time, then it means that its performance has dropped, and it needs more time to cover for the poor performance. At times, the change is gradual, so it could be dilapidated if you notice that it remains active for a longer time.

It is essential to note that failing blower motors and bad coils increase the running time and can be replaced. However, before replacing the entire system, check to ensure that the underlying issue is not a single component or two.


A constant smell of a rotten or burnt thing in the air could signify that your unit has problems. Ensure you address any odor that does not dissipate within twenty minutes. The air from the vents should smell clean and crisp. Some chemicals from the odor could be toxic and a health hazard to the residents of your home.

If the air smells burnt, it could be due to the wiring or motor. If it is a moldy smell, it could be that the ducts have molds or mildew. Finally, the smell of sulfur is dangerous as it indicates a natural gas leak. 

High Indoor Humidity

Your HVAC should automatically moderate levels of humidity. If the moisture levels are uncomfortable, you need a change. It could be a recalibration or whole-house dehumidifier. If you ignore signs of dampness, they create a conducive environment for mold or mildew to grow.

Loud or Strange Noises

Heating and cooling systems usually make sounds during startups and shutdowns. If you hear other noises such as squealing, screeching, whistling, grinding, thuds, and grating, then your system needs attention. The loudness of the generated sound is directly proportional to the level of complication.

Strange noises could be due to lack of lubrication, slipped belts, or broken motor bearings. If you notice weird noises, do not let the problem escalate. Instead, contact a professional early. It could be that some parts need tightening or cleaning. You can also DIY but keep in mind that HVAC units are complex, and you need special knowledge and skills to handle it.

Warm Air or Little Air Coming From the System

If your thermostat is set to cooling mode and the warm air is still coming out of your vent, something is wrong with your unit. The underlying problem may range from something small such as restricted airflow, to a more complex issue like a blown compressor. 

If no air is coming from the unit, you need to check your system. First, confirm that the filters are not restricted. You may need new or clean filters to solve the problem. Additionally, check the coils. Dirty coils restrict airflow. They can also cause the compressor to fail. 

Frequent Repairs

It would be best to learn to differentiate occasional repairs from occasional maintenance. Components such as capacitors and switches require basic repairs. However, compressors and coil leaks are significant problems requiring professional attention. 

If you are frequently calling maintenance specialists to service your furnace, air conditioner, boiler, or other HVAC parts, it means the components are wearing out more. Even though the upfront cost of a complete replacement is high, constant repairs are not worth the struggle in the long run.


Check your unit immediately if you notice any of the indicators above. The problem could be small or big, but even minor issues may grow into bigger problems if left unattended. If you cannot check your system, do not take a risk. Instead, consult a professional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *