The compressor and condenser, the main components of a home’s heating system, are usually located outside the house and when the heating unit develops problems, the owner may have to contend with higher electric bills and a heating system that suddenly shuts down without notice. There are various ways to tell if you need a new heating system.
1. Noise and Odor
Take note of the sound coming out of the unit when it turns on. The sound from the outside unit should indicate smooth running of the compressor fan. Listen carefully to the heating system. If you hear a hissing or knocking sound, then the heating system could be experiencing a refrigerant gas leak or has a faulty compressor motor.
When your heating system starts to produce more noise than usual, this could be a sign of a mechanical problem within the equipment. The noises will usually increase in volume and frequency until the hitch is solved. Common sounds produced by faulty heating systems include clanging, banging, and grinding sounds. The noise may occur at any point during the heating cycle.
If you smell a musty odor, you may have a mold problem. Check the system to determine the source of the smell. If the odor gets worse the closer you are to the air ducts and vents, or if the musty smell is more powerful when the heating system is circulating air, then you know it’s time to replace your system.
2. Low Air Flow
A faulty heating unit will produce little or no air out of your home's vents when the furnace or heat pump is switched on. This could be a sign of a mechanical problem with the heating unit. Your home’s heating system contains an important component called the air filter. You might have to replace your heating unit once the air filter becomes old or worn out.
The main function of the air filter is to protect the air conditioner from dirt and pollutants. A worn out air filter will block airflow causing the heating system to work harder and run longer to heat your home. This will continue until the whole unit breaks down altogether.
Check the compressor fan air. If the air coming from the fan is cool or lukewarm, then the compressor has a problem. The compressor pressurizes the gas inside the unit to create heat, which is expelled by the fan to make sure the unit does not overheat. If the air coming out of your heating system is cool or lukewarm, then the compressor is not compressing the gas.
3. System That Will Not Turn On
When your furnace or heat pump will not even start up, this could be a sign that you need a new heating system. A heating system that cannot switch on could be the result of electrical or mechanical problems or a hitch with the fuel link or power supply. In some cases, a faulty thermostat could be the cause of the heating equipment not turning on.
If there is faulty wiring or breaks in the wiring, the compressor may not be getting an adequate supply of electricity from the power source. The defective wiring can be present anywhere along the power cord, even into the compressor. Manufacturers of heating systems often recommend a certain voltage for the compressor. The power supply should remain within 10 percent of the recommended voltage level.
4. System Warnings
Many modern heating equipment come with system indicators that alert you to the need for service. Alarms coming from your carbon monoxide detector could be a clear indication of a serious problem with your home heating system.
5. Higher Electric Bills
Assess your electric bill. If your electric bill begins to go up yet you have not increased your air conditioner usage, the heating system is likely bad or worn and needs to be replaced. If the heating system components are not working efficiently, then they decrease the efficiency of the unit as a whole; they cause the whole system to run longer and thus will increase the electric bill.
A common cause of higher electric bills is electrical overcharge. An electrical overcharge may be caused by dirty coils or a slow fan. If the run capacitor of the heating system fails, the motor will consume 10 percent more power than it should, resulting in overheating. Overheating is a sign that the heating system needs to be replaced.
By checking for problems in your home heating system, you can resolve the hitch swiftly and successfully with a simple replacement. Call us today, or contact us through email, if you think you need a new heating system and one of our Denver HVAC technicians will visit your home and provide you with an upfront, in writing, estimate on a new residential heating system.