5 Signs Of A Failing HVAC System


If you have not replaced your commercial HVAC systems in the last 10 years, there is a high possibility that your heaters, boilers or air conditioners will just stop working. Take a look at your energy bill for the last six months and you might notice an upward trend on cost. Total expenses and the age of your HVAC units are indirectly proportional— as HVAC systems age, efficiency goes down.

You should be aware of common telltale signs of wear and tear so you can act upon the situation without waiting for further damage. The more you wait it out, the higher costs you might incur. It is important that you are able to address the situation at an early stage so you don’t risk any more money, time and stress with these machines.

Below is a list of some of the most common warning signs from an aging or failing HVAC unit.

Weird noises from inside the machine. 

If you start to hear funny noises from your HVAC unit, there is a high chance that some of the parts might have fallen loose or fallen apart altogether. Depending on the extent of the machine damage, you could be hearing a grinding, rattling, hissing or clunking sound from inside the machine.

If you hear a grinding sound from your machine, something is wrong with the bearings on the air handle of the unit. These bearings work to reduce friction inside the motor of the machine, and when these bearings are damaged, the entire motor head may not be able to function efficiently. This is because it will take double the effort for the motor to rotate to provide the correct temperature according to your desired settings.

Another telltale noise you should look out for is squealing or any high-pitched sort of hissing. This sound indicates that the fan belt inside the motor is now faulty and in need of replacement or cleaning.

If you hear any of these sounds coming from your units, it is best that you call a technician to oversee repairs or replacements.

Fluttering or fluctuating power throughout the day.

Another common sign of a failing HVAC system is if your unit randomly turns on and off throughout the day. This indicates that the power supply is not enough at all times to keep the machine running. This is a very dangerous occurrence that could lead to intense damage to your building’s power supply or breakers.

Another possible reason for the short cycling is overheating. When the machine cools down, power supply goes back to normal. However, the tendency is for the machine to heat up again, which creates an endless cycle of power fluctuations. This is a major fire hazard that you should address as soon as possible.

Bad smells coming out of the air vents.

Air coming out of your HVAC unit’s vents should always smell crisp and clean. If it emanates a strange odor, it is a sure sign that something is wrong with the system. Be very vigilant with these funky smells because some chemicals could be toxic. Leakage of these harmful chemicals will endanger the health of everyone in your building.

Inconsistent air distribution throughout your building.

When an HVAC unit is running smoothly, the temperature of the air it produces should be the same throughout all the floors of your building. However, if you notice that some rooms or areas are colder or warmer than others, your machine may be having trouble.

A drastic increase in your power bill.

As previously mentioned, any sudden increase in your electric bill is an indication of machine failure. A smoothly running HVAC system should not cause a spike in energy consumed. Take a look at your bills for the past couple of months and track where the surge began. You should be able to determine a normal or average rate compared to the cost of the surge.

If you notice any of these warning signs from your commercial HVAC units, get in touch with our team at Level One HVAC. We provide a full range of HVAC services, from preventive maintenance, installation, replacement and repair. Call us at 248-486-6500 today!

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