3 Common HVAC Noises: What They Mean & What You Should Do About Them

Can’t hear the TV because your vents are so loud? While some noises are normal, such as a quiet hum or the sounds of air whooshing through the vents, sometimes HVAC systems make strange noises and can become loud, disruptive annoyances in the home. This doesn’t have to be the case. Check out these common causes of noises in an HVAC system and what you can do about them:

Rattling

Hearing a rattling noise coming from your HVAC system could mean a few things. If it originates from the outdoor unit, chances are you have some kind of debris in the system, such as a twig. While the grate will protect your system from most large debris, it’s still possible for small things to get through.

Turn your system off and cut the power to the unit, then remove the debris. If you see visible damage to the condenser coils, compressor, or fan, call your HVAC technician.

If the rattling seems to be internal, from a furnace or other internal component, turn the system off and call your HVAC technician since removing the obstacle isn’t as simple.

 
Hissing

Hearing a hissing noise most likely means air is escaping from your system. If the noise is coming from the walls, there’s a good chance your ducts are leaking. Not only can this cause noise, it also wastes money because the air that should be circulating throughout your home is leaking into the walls.

Duct repair isn’t really a repair homeowners can do on their own, so if your system is making a loud hissing noise,  call a technician. However, if the hissing is light, it could originate from your air vents. Typically when you hear this noise it is because your filter is not “set” right or you have the wrong size filter which is creating the gap in the seal. If this is the case, the air is squeezing past the filter or around it, instead of being pulled through it. This is a simple fix that starts with ensuring the filter is the right size and is placed correctly, leaving no room for gaps.

 
Clanking

An HVAC system that is running normally will make a humming noise. But if it’s clanking, that’s a sign that something is wrong. It could be loose parts, such as the blower motor fan, loose blades, or loose pipes that are rubbing together.

Clanking noises are a bit more serious because  loose parts, if not addressed, can cause costly damage to your system. Your best bet is to turn the system off and call your technician.

Keep in mind that your HVAC system is exactly that — a system. As it works, it will make noise. Hearing the motor running or humming, as well as the fans blowing or air moving through the vents, is totally normal. However, unnatural sounds like rattling, hissing or clanking, or the sounds becoming loud enough to be disruptive, can be signs of problems. If you have any concerns about your HVAC system, call JMD Corporation/Jackson Heating and Air today.

 

Is Geothermal Home Heating for You?

The initial costs of geothermal home heating may be high, but the system is eco-friendly and reduces heating and cooling bills considerably.

The geothermal heat pump, also known as the geo-exchange heat pump, is among the most reliable, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective home-comfort technologies available. It’s also easily dismissed because of its steep up-front price tag. But with energy costs likely to rise and government incentives now widely available, today’s savvy homeowners are giving this incredibly efficient heating and cooling technology a closer look.

What makes geothermal heat pumps so outstanding is their efficiency. For example, the very best natural-gas furnaces provide about a 95% efficiency rate—meaning that for every dollar you spend on electricity and gas to heat your home, the furnace is able to return about 95 cents worth of heat. A geothermal system will give you more than four times that rate. That efficiency translates in to savings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a geothermal system will save 50% to 70% of home energy usage for heating and cooling.

There’s another reason to consider geothermal heat pumps. Because they require only a trickle of electricity to power the pump and fan, they produce no CO2 emissions and help reduce demand for fossil fuels.

Tips for Hiring the Right HVAC Repair Company

Picture this: on a 99-degree day in the middle of August, your HVAC system suddenly stops working – leaving you, your children, and your pets with no relief from the unrelenting heat of summer.

Pretty horrific scenario, right? Unfortunately, that’s just the type of nightmare that can drive some homeowners to make snap decisions and become more vulnerable to dishonest sales tactics or outright scams – especially since most homeowners aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of their home’s HVAC system, causing them to rely on their service provider’s expertise and honesty.

How to hire the right HVAC repair company:

Angie’s List, a subscription-based, crowd-sourced review website of local businesses, offers the following tips on how to avoid a painful and costly run-in with the wrong HVAC repair company.

1. Check licenses. Many states, and even some cities and municipalities, require HVAC contractors to have specific licenses to operate on HVAC equipment. You can look up your state’s and/or local government’s online database of contractor licensing requirements through  Angie’s List’s License Check.

2. Do your homework. This means checking references (a professional HVAC repair company should have a list of recent customers that you can call), and checking to make sure that the company is bonded and insured in addition to being licensed.

3. Pay attention to detail. When looking at new or replacement heating and cooling equipment, ask prospective companies what specific manufacturers or equipment brands they carry. Unlike other home improvement contractors, HVAC repair companies often carry only a small selection of brands; and it’s important that you limit your hiring choices to companies that specialize in your equipment brand of choice.

4. Ask about payment schedules. On a big job, especially when installing new equipment, you may need to make a deposit and make progress payments or planned payments. If you use a payment plan or apply for financing through the HVAC repair company’s line of credit, make sure you read all the fine print and know what you’ll be financially responsible for.

Summer Vacation Tips

July is the most popular month for summer vacations. If you are planning on traveling this summer, don’t forget the important things, such as putting your lights on a timer, locking doors, and preparing your HVAC system for your absence.

Change the Thermostat Temperature

It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to raise the temperature on the thermostat when they are leaving on vacation. For those with programmable or smart thermostats, you will need to manually override the schedule in order to keep the temperature set while you are away.
It’s important to set the temperature correctly to prevent heat and moisture problems while also saving money and energy. You don’t want to turn the system completely off.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you should set your thermostat to 85-90F degrees when leaving on vacation. But that can be too high a temperature for many homes. We recommend setting your thermostat no higher than 85F degrees to protect furniture, electronics, and other sensitive equipment. If you have wine, expensive art, and other temperature sensitive objects, it’s best to set the temperature to 80F degrees.

Change the Air Filter

Although nobody will be home to experience the air filtration benefits of a new air filter, it’s a good idea to change the air filter anyway. A clean air filter will increase the airflow and efficiency of your HVAC system while also helping to clean the indoor air for your arrival.

Close Doors, Windows, and Shades

Prevent air leaks and energy inefficiencies by remembering to close all of your doors and windows. If you notice any severe air leaks, get them fixed and sealed before you leave. Go around the home and close all, or most, of your interior and exterior window shades. This includes awnings, shutters, blinds, curtains, and window overhangs. By closing your interior and exterior shades you can reduce solar heat gain by around 50% (U.S.Department of Energy).

Now sit back, relax, and have a great vacation!

Today’s high tech air conditioning units will save you money

Today’s high-efficiency systems can cut your HVAC costs up to 107 percent and pay for themselves in lower AC and heating bills within several years. You’ll enjoy greater comfort at home while using less energy. You can also rely on your JMD Corporation/Jackson Heating and Air technician to recommend the right-size air conditioning system for your home and install it correctly.We back our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. No wonder so many customers in the Morgantown area have recommended us for AC repairs and service for 30 plus years! Don’t lose your cool! Call 1-888-365-1171 today.

Air Conditioning Tips for Lower Bills

  • Raise the thermostat about five degrees, because each degree you raise the thermostat will save you a percentage off your cooling energy bill.

  • Don’t obstruct airflow around the air conditioner unit – keep it clear of plants and debris.

  • Clean your air filters. Check them every couple of weeks and change them at least twice in the season, or as directed by the manufacturer.

  • For optimum comfort have your cooling system checked early in the year by a NATE-certified technician.

HVAC Troubleshooting: How to Identify, Eliminate & Control HVAC Odors

The HVAC unit in your home is one of the most-used appliances and it’s uncomfortable when it isn’t working. Fortunately, it’s pretty good about giving signs when it needs servicing. One of the key things that many homeowners notice is bad aromas coming from the unit. An odor problem doesn’t necessarily mean that the repair will be expensive. It could be a dirty air filter or condensation which has created mold in the unit.

When troubleshooting the smell, use your other senses as well. Listen for banging or knocking. Look for excess water on the ground or other liquids which don’t belong. Many times the smells are not dangerous, just indicative that your system needs service. However, some smells like rotten eggs or gas are more serious. If you are experiencing an electrical, burning odor, or gas smell, turn off the unit and call your HVAC technician right away.

Here are 4 common HVAC odors and what they indicate.

  1. Electrical Odors

If your HVAC unit smells like it might be overheating, it very well could be. Turn your unit off before attempting to diagnose the problem. First, check the air filter to see if it is very dirty as this can restrict the air flow and overheat the electric resistance heaters. If it’s not an air filter issue, make sure the electricity is turned off at the master switch. A professional HVAC technician will need to check out the problem and make repairs. An electrical odor typically is a problem within the motor or the wiring. Attempting to fix either of these items can result in severe injuries.

  1. Rotten Egg Smell

Provided there aren’t any rotten eggs in your home, the smell of rotten eggs or sulfur most likely indicates a natural gas leak. Although on its own natural gas is odorless, most utility providers add the aroma to alert people of a leak. Don’t take this lightly. Open the windows to your home, get out of the house immediately, then call the gas company.

  1. Musty or Moldy Smell

A smell like mildew or mold is probably the most common ailment of HVAC systems. When the AC is running, there is a lot of condensation within the unit. When the moisture doesn’t drain properly, it can escape into the ducts and cause mold. Finding where the mold buildup is and getting it cleaned up will solve the problem. An HVAC technician has the knowledge to handle the problem and ensure that it doesn’t recur.

Note:
Mold and mildew smells are not problems with the unit that are serious, but the poor air quality does increase the risk of respiratory infections in both adults and children. Although you can still use the unit while you’re waiting to make repairs, you shouldn’t put off repairs for the sake of your family’s health.

  1. Smell of Oil

The smell of oil comes from one of two things. First, look for an oil leak. If you see oil, you may just need to tighten a fitting in the tank, oil line, or filter.

While this isn’t a dangerous issue, it does need to be taken care of by a qualified repair technician. It should be noted that a new furnace may emit the burning smell for the first 24 hours of operation, but if the smell continues beyond then you need to call the professionals who installed the unit.

If you do not see oil, then the problem most likely is that the oil burner is not working properly. However, there are many things that could be causing the oil burner to malfunction, for example, a clogged burner or a bad fuel pump. Watch for soot and smoke, and listen for unusual sounds. These indicate a more serious problem that should be repaired by a service technician.

It’s not only odors that indicate a problem. Puddles of water near the unit can be just as problematic. If you see water leaking from the indoor unit, see if you can trace the water to its source. It could be a leak within the unit, excess condensation, or a tear in the insulation foam. If you don’t know what’s causing the water pooling, call your technician.

Dealing With HVAC Odor

A common reason that many HVAC units do create more odors is that homes are built very tightly today, often without the necessary ventilation. This causes the unit to run out of air for combustion. This can be the leading cause for foul HVAC odors for many homeowners which raises concerns about indoor air quality.

Another indicator of an indoor air quality problem is the smell of dirty socks. Although this smell may be coming from the air conditioning unit, it is not actually the unit that is the problem. Most likely, organic material has not been heated to a high enough temperature to prevent its growth.

Make sure to replace the air filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Have your system inspected annually by a professional to look for faulty wiring, loose or worn belts, and general wear on the unit. By having a yearly service, you have peace of mind that you’ve done what you can to make sure your HVAC unit is ready for the seasons ahead.

 

Spring Season Means Spring Cleaning

Don’t skip out on your HVAC unit when the time comes for spring cleaning. By removing dust and debris from the interior and exterior of the system, it can run more efficiently. Other things you may look for while spring cleaning are: tighten the electrical connections, clean the different internal components and check the refrigerant levels.

This is clearly quite a bit of work though, so don’t worry! You can always leave that to us with a maintenance check-up. That way, we can make sure all of the parts and pieces are cleaned and restored correctly.

Earth Day Tips for your HVAC system

Happy Earth Day! This year, why not do your part to protect the planet by looking for ways to save energy in your HVAC system? Heating and cooling account for the single largest energy input in the average family’s home, so it’s the area in which cutting back can have the biggest impact. Check out these tips to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels:

Earth Day tips for your HVAC system:

  • Get that AC Tuned up: The summer heat is almost here so it’s time to have your air conditioning unit serviced so you know that it’s working at peak efficiency and not wasting precious energy due to malfunction, obstruction or a dirty filter.

  • Moderate Your Climate Control: Speaking of air conditioning, try to raise the thermostat if you can. No one wants to sweat away the summer, but if you can live with an indoor temperature of 78 degrees or higher, you’ll save money on your bill and reduce your impact on climate change. You can also try to open windows or use a ceiling fan in place of AC.

  • Beef up Your Insulation: There’s no point in heating or cooling your home if all that energy just escapes through the walls and the roof. If your home isn’t properly insulated, spray foam makes an inexpensive and easy way to provide an extra buffer between indoors and out to keep the treated air inside where it belongs.

  • Seal the Leaks: If you have drafts or leaks in your home, you’re paying to heat and cool the great outdoors — which is a money-losing proposition, not to mention a dramatic waste of energy. Use caulk or weather stripping to seal any leaks.

  • Practice Passive Cooling: When the summer sun starts to heat up your home, you can reduce the load on your air conditioner with some strategic shading. Try closing the curtains over sunny windows during the day to reflect the heat away, then opening them at night so the cooler air can help draw down the temperature in your house.

  • Install a Smart Thermostat: If you don’t want to spend time worrying about adjusting the temperature, try a smart thermostat. These clever devices can save you hundreds of dollars per year by automatically identifying efficiencies in your heating and cooling habits.

  • Don’t Forget About the Furnace: Although winter is a distant memory in most parts of the country, spring is a good time to have your furnace serviced — or even to buy a new, energy efficient model — so you know it will be ready to perform next fall.

For more tips, call us today at JMD Corporation/Jackson Heating and Air and speak with an HVAC professional. Be the best possible steward to Mother Earth.

 

How to Maintain Your Residential HVAC System as a Pet Owner

1. Check Filters Frequently

With a pet in your home, your HVAC filter needs to be replaced at least once a month. Hair, dander, skin cells, and other particles can easily clog filters. Consider investing in a reusable filter you can clean yourself.

2. Clean Your Home & Pet Regularly

To help avoid clogs, vacuum and clean your home every other day. Bathe and brush your pet often to get rid of dander and loose fur that would otherwise end up in the filter.

3. Save Energy While You’re Away

Adjusting the temperature when just your pets are in the house won’t make them uncomfortable. Save energy and money by turning it up a few degrees during the summer or down a bit during the winter. Ask an HVAC specialist what range is safe for your home and pets.

4. Have Ducts Inspected & Cleaned

No matter how much house and pet cleaning you do, some hair and particles are bound to make it into your ducts. During your annual residential HVAC maintenance appointment, ask the technician to inspect the ducts for accumulation.

5. Safeguard Your Outdoor Unit

It’s safe for pets to be around outdoor units, but they can scratch parts, urinate on the equipment, and chew on cables. Have a fence installed around the HVAC unit to protect it from four-legged threats.

Owning pets shouldn’t get in the way of your heating and cooling systems. The professionals at JMD Corporation/Jackson Heating and Air will make sure you and your furry family member are comfortable.