Monday, December 13, 2010

Is it Time to Replace Your HVAC System?

When extreme weather plays havoc, it's nice to know you can return home and make yourself comfortable with a solid heating or air conditioning to maintain a good room temperature. Unfortunately, while most top HVAC units can last for years, they won't keep you cool or warm forever, and one can only hope the system doesn't crash at an inopportune time when you really need to beat the heat!

Homeowners tend to have their HVAC units serviced just before an anticipated change in weather. As winter approaches, it's natural to make certain the system can hold up when it snows and freezes outside, and in the summer the same system should cool you down on triple-digit days. If you suspect problems, however, it may be time not to just call for repairs, but replace major parts of your HVAC system. Keep an eye - and ear - out for these signs:

1) Noise. This goes without saying. If you hear disconcerting and loud knocks or pings every time you adjust your thermostat, or even when you've left it alone, it's time to look into replacement rather than repair.

2) Time. Furnaces and AC units do have a shelf life. Keep track of when such purchases are made in your home - air conditioning units tend to last about ten years, while a good boiler or furnace around fifteen. You definitely don't want to overwork either of them beyond their capability, as it could lead to greater problems.

3) Bills. If you've run your systems no differently than you have in the past but notice significant increases in your energy bills, it could mean problems with the HVAC. As units age, they tend to work less efficiently and become leaky. This in turn may cause the unit to work harder to maintain temperature, which runs up the bill. Keep an eye on what you spend; when it gets to be too much it's time to invest your money in a new unit.

For a comfortable home, no matter the time of year, it is important to notice changes in the way your HVAC units work. What starts as a small ping could signal a louder groan when you realize you waited too long to make a simple repair.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Newport News HVAC installation and Williamsburg HVAC repair.