Noises and bumps in the night

Taking Care of Business

Alas, the leaves are changing colors and in some parts of our beautiful state, falling already. The colors of autumn are upon us with the deciduous trees flooding the skyline with shades of red, yellow, brown and, of course, orange (“The Color of Comfort”). The temperatures outside are also starting to fall, and Halloween will soon be here.

In the spirit of the upcoming trick or treating celebration, have you noticed a few unexplained noises or bumps in the night? Although you may be thinking you have a ghost, we can help debunk those myths for you.

Have you noticed unexplained puddles on the floor? It’s doubtful a freshly showered ghoul is wandering through the house in search of a towel, but more likely there may be a backed-up condensate line from your home comfort system. One of the most common causes for a leaky HVAC unit is a clog in the condensate line of your indoor unit. Generally located in an attic, closet or garage, your indoor unit may have dirt, debris or insects trapped inside that needs to be removed. This can usually be avoided by having the drain lines professionally cleared in the spring and fall as part of your annual HVAC service agreement program.

Do you have doors that open and shut on their own? Now, this could possibly be a ghost, but realistically, you may have unbalanced air pressure in your home. Unbalanced air pressure can cause a few unexplained activities. If positive pressure is too high, it can cause doors to fly open. Negative pressure on the other hand can cause them to slam shut unexpectedly. This can also explain any random whistling or unusually hot or cold rooms in your home. For negative air pressure to occur, the pressure inside your home must be lower than the pressure outside. This typically happens when more air is leaving the interior of the home than is being replenished from the outside. A home under negative pressure can experience poor indoor air quality and carbon monoxide issues. Correcting these issues may take a bit of detective work, but a qualified HVAC specialist can easily get to the bottom of this.

Do you walk through your home and feel a drastic temperature change? Again, probably not an apparition. Well, hopefully not. More likely, you have inconsistent airflow in the home caused by leaking ductwork. Environmental Protection Agency reports that a typical home loses 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ductwork. The end result is a higher utility bill and an uncomfortable home. Air leaks can be caused by age and regular use, or an animal may have tried to make your attic or crawlspace its new home. Again, lean on your HVAC specialist to inspect these areas if you experience these temperature variances in the home.

Do you hear any bumps in the night when it’s cold outside? This is probably your furnace or heat pump air handler reminding you that it is time for a cleaning. As the blower wheel in your system gets dirty from use, it can become noisy and can begin to become imbalanced and be a cause for concern. It’s best to get the system tuned up for the season to prevent costly repairs and keep it running safely. If you have a gas-fired furnace, it is critical to have the system checked to ensure there are no cracks in the heat exchanger, it is burning efficiently and there’s no chance of a carbon monoxide issue. It’s a great time, also, to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarm, and if you don’t own one, get one! Your HVAC specialist can help you.

Any of these situations may seem scary; however, scheduling proper maintenance is the key to preventing breakdowns this winter — and keeping the ghosts at bay!

John Kennedy
About John Kennedy 4 Articles
John Kennedy is general manager of Art Newsome, Inc. and can be reached at 873-0345 or by email at jkennedy@artnewsomeinc.com.

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