Whether you're in the market to buy an older home or are already living in an older home, there are a few common HVAC problems to look out for. You should have an initial HVAC inspection done on your home while keeping regular maintenance in mind. To know what to look out for, we’ve outlined some of the most common HVAC problems in older homes.
There are a number of pollen and pollutants circulating in the air outside. In older homes, there may be gaps in openings around doors, windows and attics that allow these particles to circulate inside your home. Additionally, if there is no home air purifier attached to your HVAC, these irritants can’t be filtered out, which can lead to poor air quality in your home. It’s good to consider adding a whole-home air purifier to the HVAC system in your older home, as it will help trap up to 95% of irritating particles and consequently improve your air quality.
Like any mechanical system inside your home, there is a life span for your HVAC system and your ducts will eventually need to be replaced. Air ducts tend to have a lifespan of 15-20 years, but this will vary depending on how well your system is maintained— which is part of why regular, annual maintenance is so important! But in an older home, the ductwork may be poorly designed or made of materials that have fallen out of fashion or aren’t as efficient and durable as modern materials. Debris and moisture like dust, dirt and pet hair build up over time in old duct work, creating an environment for contaminants like bacteria, mold and fungus to grow.
Modern advances in duct design and technology can make a huge difference in how air flows through your home. An HVAC professional can help you get a fresh start by using clean and modern materials to reconfigure how air moves through your home.
Older homes tend to have a thinner layer of insulation in their walls and attic than newer homes. This makes it harder to keep the right temperature of air in your home — whether it’s keeping warm air in during the winter or cool air in when it’s hot. Without proper insulation, your HVAC system will need to work that much harder, which can unnecessarily increase your energy bills. Installing new, modern insulation can help ensure your HVAC system isn’t working harder than it needs to be.
Typically, thermostats in older homes only have basic controls, and depending on their placement in your home, this can contribute to the wear and tear of your HVAC unit. Frequent cycling and inefficient heating and cooling can be signs that your thermostat is inefficient and needs to be upgraded.
Modern thermostat systems have improved over the years, allowing you to better control your HVAC system. A modern thermostat can help you get the right timing and temperature settings in your home, meaning you can maximize energy efficiency and be able to keep the whole system in good condition for longer.
In older systems, seals around the joints and elbows of the ductwork may have lost their efficiency over time and are now allowing air to escape. Air leaking around the ductwork means that your system could be spending more energy heating or cooling the inside of walls and ceilings than your actual home. This not only puts more wear and tear on your HVAC — it could also lead to high energy bills.
If you have an older home, a check of the ducts by a professional is vital to ensure that all the conditioned air is only filling the living spaces.
Older homes tend to have one thermostat that controls the temperature of the whole house, which can lead to poor heating or cooling in different areas of your home. Installing a modern, zoned HVAC system lets you have more control on regulating the temperature in different areas of your home. For instance, you can cool a bedroom while sleeping without also cooling the kitchen and living areas, leading to increased efficiency and lower bills.
If you're in the market for an older home, one of the things you will want to check is if the HVAC system has been maintained over its lifetime, as well as how old it is. A poorly maintained system should be a red flag, as this can decrease its efficiency and the overall life expectancy of the system and can be costly for you to replace. The average lifespan of an HVAC unit is 15 years, so check on the age of the system to know if it’s something you’ll need to replace soon — especially if it hasn’t been maintained. If your unit cycles on and off more frequently than normal or takes longer to heat or cool the house, you may need to look at a replacement unit.
HVAC systems are a key component to making your house a livable space for you and your family. Generally the older your HVAC system is, the more frequently you’ll have to keep up with regular maintenance checks and repairs. Sometimes you can catch strange noises or odors quickly enough to avoid large repairs, but you may not always be so lucky. If you notice any of these red flags or anything else unusual, call the HVAC professionals at Romaniuk to take a look, and be sure to get it inspected on a regular basis to avoid any potential issues.