Your HVAC Can Give You the Chills this Halloween
Halloween is just around the corner, and there is so much to experience when it comes to celebrating the scariest season of the year. Spooky ghost stories abound, but with a little assist from our team of expert HVAC technicians at J&A South Park, you should be able to steer clear of the common HVAC problems that can make you think that you’re residing in a haunted house.
Whether you believe a ghost is opening and closing doors, making some rooms cold, causing some unworldly smells, or making strange noises, our team of professionals is here to explain how your HVAC system can give you a scare and what to do about it.
Bumps in the night are often seen and heard in horror movies. Even during the day, unexplained noises such as crashes, screeches, or banging can be quite scary. At first, you might want to consider calling your local branch of the Ghostbusters. However, before you make that call, we believe you should first look at your HVAC system before deciding a ghost is wreaking havoc. It just might be your HVAC unit triggering some of those strange noises.
While it might sound like evil is afoot, the high-pitched wail coming from your furnace is more likely owing to the motor and belts attached to it becoming worn or stiff. This means you might hear a screech when your HVAC unit is making an effort to start up and get all its moving parts shifting in the right direction.
However, you should know that a delayed gas ignition is caused by gas buildup, which can damage the system. So, if you sense that this might be the problem, it’s best to have it checked out as soon as possible.
On the other hand, you might have a situation where the ball bearings have just worn out. If this is the case, you need to shut down your unit and get a service technician out to replace them rather quickly.
As we’ve seen, some of these issues are stress-free, affordable fixes. Others need a professional to find out and fix the problem. Either way, if you’re not an HVAC technician, it might be best to call a service professional to perform the work, no matter the issue.
Is your furnace emitting foul odors?
If your furnace is discharging obnoxious odors, it may be a reason for you to take off running, but not because of any gruesome ghoulies in your home.
For a furnace, the most sinister aroma is sulfur which indicates the hazardous existence of natural gas. If you smell rotten eggs (your gas utility has put this smell into the gas to warn of a leak), turn off your furnace, open the house’s windows and vacate the home. After you’ve moved a safe distance, contact your utility company so they can carry out a thorough inspection of your gas lines and make any essential repairs.
Another foreboding odor is the smell of burning metal, plastic, rubber, or wax. If you happen to whiff one of these, turn off your furnace and call in your technical expert to repair the furnace and replace any damaged or obsolete parts.
One other strange smell that’s not so spooky is burning dust. During the furnace’s off-season, dust, not demons, gather within the unit’s system. When the furnace is turned back on in the Fall, the dust is burned away. The smell should dissipate quickly, but if it lingers – not unlike a bad omen – change the furnace filter.
You might also experience any number of strange odors coming through the ductwork. In many such occurrences, this might be the first signal that moisture has gathered in the system, and mold or mildew is beginning (see below). However, in some instances, it might just reveal that rodents and other types of pests have found their way into your ductwork and are nesting there!
Morbid mildew and mold
If moisture, dirt, dust, and other types of such debris build up in your air ducts, it could also lead to the growth of unwanted mildew and mold. Both substances are particularly risky to the health of your family as well as any pets. Moreover, they have the ability to damage the material in which they flourish.
That’s right, they can actually eat through your ductwork and even adversely affect the structural integrity of your home. So it’s definitely worth an inspection to find out just what’s going on in your air ducts.
Spooky cold spots around your home
You might detect that the rest of your home is the right temperature, but one or more rooms are constantly cold. During winter months, you swear you can even see your breath upon entering that particular room of your house.
Our first thoughts are those that call to mind many haunted house movie scenes. You know, where the room turns ice-cold when a ghost is suddenly present.
Give us a call, however, before you blame ghosts or ghouls for those cold spots. We’ll often discover a blocked air filter that will limit air movement, causing these cold spots to occur. A room with a blocked vent will also put an extra strain on the HVAC system, which expends more energy.
A more severe issue could be an undersized unit. We’ve found some homes are equipped with incorrectly sized HVAC systems, meaning they simply don’t have the power to heal every area of the house and cause those cold spots. You’ll definitely want to have a service technician diagnose the problem and provide a fix.
Drafts and scary closing doors
We’ve all stared in disbelief as doors in a house have closed and opened on their own, leaving us with a rather eerie sensation.
The truth is, when you see doors opening and closing on their own, you should investigate for drafts around those doors and close-by windows that will shut doors without any human assistance.
In some instances, your HVAC system will have the wrong pressure, meaning the first blast of air moving into your home will push doors closed or open them because the system’s pressure is too high. But, again, this is a problem that HVAC technicians can normally solve with ease.
Terrifying twists and kooky kinks
In many instances, ductwork can also become twisted and kinked up over time, limiting the amount of air that is flowing through the system.
If this is the issue, your HVAC system will need to work harder to keep your indoor temperatures just where you like them. Over time, this, too, can become quite costly.
Best to contact your HVAC service technician for an examination of the problem and a repair if necessary.
If you haven’t cleaned the duct system of your HVAC unit in a while, it’s quite likely that dirt, dust, and other types of debris have gathered in the internal regions of your ductwork.
These types of debris will recirculate all through your house when you do turn on your HVAC system. Consequently, the indoor air quality could become up to 100 times worse than that of outdoor air quality.
Exposure to poor indoor air quality exacerbates asthma and allergy symptoms and can even trigger headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. If you change filters regularly and still experience problems, schedule a duct cleaning or an air quality assessment.
If the word “allergens” doesn’t sound scary to you, think of the horrors those things bring with them, such as dust mites.
Yeah, we’re talking about those tiny foul ticks attached to and breed with the dust (are you scratching yourself yet?). While they’re not proven to be parasitic or for biting humans, they shed skin and leave feces that give humans allergies and contribute to respiratory issues.
Frightening HVAC filters
Dirty air filters are the worst. Yuck! The buildup like hair, pollutants, dander, and more hinder the airflow, forcing HVAC systems to work harder and yield less efficient results. They also can result in dirty coils when the filtering simply fails to work anymore.
We’ve said it plenty of times in previous blogs, but we’ll keep repeating it. By simply paying attention to the air filter, and when it’s due for a change, change it! It could save you from spending hundreds of dollars on repairs down the road.
Allowing the thermostat to get too hot can result in all sorts of problems with your HVAC system. Just think, if you’ve positioned your thermostat near a heat-producing appliance or in direct sunlight, it’s read erroneously. This can result in issues with the entire HVAC system.
Thermostats need a precise reading of the air’s temperature in order to make the necessary adjustments. Keeping anything hot away from the thermostat, including lamps, speakers, and electronics, will help prevent your HVAC system from overworking.
There are several HVAC horrors that are way scarier than Halloween. If you actually do read our blogs (and kudos to you if you do), you know we can never emphasize the importance of A/C maintenance and duct cleaning enough.
Did you know there’s a type of pneumonia that spreads through air conditioning units? It’s called Legionnaire’s disease, and it’s rather serious stuff. The Legionnaire bacteria travel through mist. While most persons exposed to it never develop symptoms, those with diminished immune systems, such as the elderly and those with chronic lung disease, can.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are carbon-based chemicals that can trigger problems such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, and even cancer. However, you can simply slash the VOCs in your home by regular maintenance of your HVAC system.
If the HVAC system is not working properly, there are increased chances of indoor air pollution in your home, leading to skin problems like rashes and itchiness, etc.
Having a professional service technician maintaining your HVAC system is the only way to prevent most of these issues.
Deathly energy bills
Nothing is more terrifying than an extra high-energy bill. But you don’t need to enlist the services of a paranormal expert to save money on your heating and cooling costs. A properly maintained HVAC system will go a long way to cutting into those energy costs and still provide you with a comfortable home for you and your family.
Is there other powerful magic? Taking steps to ensure that heat isn’t escaping through windows and doors, adding insulation, and letting in the sunshine. Of course, cuddling up with an affable werewolf couldn’t hurt either.
We get it! There’s a certain appeal in standing over your dead furnace and announcing, “It’s alive. It’s alive!” but, as in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein novel, playing with the natural order of things is unlikely to have a happy conclusion, even with the best of intentions.
DIY furnace repair is often disastrous, resulting in damage to your furnace, a void in warranty, and greater future repair costs. That’s why it’s best to leave the furnace repair to the experts at J&A South Park.