5 Reasons Why a Residential HVAC System Breaks (And How to Prevent That From Happening)

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When purchasing a new home or after living in one for a while, you will almost inevitably end up doing at least a few home renovation projects. Popular choices include kitchen and bathroom remodeling, home offices, and guest rooms.

For some, it also means upgrading to energy-efficient residential HVAC systems or changing types of residential HVAC systems. If you leave the existing HVAC system in place, though, some kind of system breakdown is likely at some point.

Wondering why a residential HVAC system breaks? Keep reading for five of the common reasons.

1. Age

Even the best residential HVAC systems have a limited working life. If you’re lucky, you’ll get 20 or so years out of a furnace and around 15 years out of an AC unit.

At that point, components start breaking down at a rate that makes replacement more practical than repair in most instances.

2. Poor Maintenance

One of the main culprits in premature HVAC system failures is poor maintenance. For example, you must change out the air filters on a regular basis. If you don’t, it taxes the system and reduces efficiency.

If you don’t get annual maintenance done, minor problems can turn into enormous problems that will ruin your wallet’s day. You can avoid most of the problems by adopting and sticking with an HVAC maintenance checklist.

3. Refrigerant Leaks

A primary culprit if your AC stops working correctly is a basic refrigerant leak. As the refrigerant level drops, the system must work overtime to try to keep the air cooled in your home.

That can potentially burn out components on the unit. Replacing the components and topping off the refrigerant will usually solve the problem.

4. Thermostat Problems

One of the simpler reasons for an HVAC system to stop functioning correctly is that the thermostat suffered a failure. Depending on the type of thermostat, it might mean a battery ran out of juice. It can also mean that the thermostat is broken in some more fundamental way.

Either way, make the thermostat one of the first things you check if your HVAC fails.

5. Improper Sizing

An HVAC system produces a certain amount of warm or cool air. The size of the furnace and AC unit depends on the square footage of your home.

The wrong size furnace or AC unit can cause either to fail from inefficient cycling or running for longer than is ideal for your home size.

Managing Your Residential HVAC System

Avoiding failures with your residential HVAC system is mostly about prevention. Get proper annual maintenance done on the system. Don’t let recommended repairs go for too long.

Dealing with repairs and getting the maintenance done will keep your system efficient, expose lingering problems, and extend the life of your furnace and AC unit.

If you notice your system acting up and can’t locate the problem, call an HVAC pro to come in and take a look.

Ready for some more home maintenance and home improvement tips? Check out the posts over in our Home Improvement category.

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