Top view of old rusty air conditioner

A failing plumbing, HVAC or electrical system is every homeowner’s nightmare. It’s an unfortunate part of home ownership, however. Systems age over time or may fail due to neglected maintenance and care by homeowners. You can lower the cost of replacing these systems, though, by knowing the warning signs of a failing plumbing, electric or HVAC system and preventing damage to your home.

Warning Signs of a Failing HVAC System

HVAC systems provide your home’s heating and air condition, keeping you comfortable year-round. When your HVAC system fails, it can leave you and family members uncomfortable, especially during the bitter winter or hot summer months.

The warning signs of a failing HVAC system include:

Unusual smells. HVAC systems can produce a variety of different smells that indicate there’s a problem. Some smells aren’t because your system is failing but because it needs maintenance. A rotten smell, for example, is often because a small, wild animal became trapped in your air ducts and died.

Harmful smells include:

  • Exhaust — triggered by leaking engine fluids.
  • Burning — caused by AC fan or compressor.
  • Gunpowder — produced by the circuit board or fan motor.
  • Sewage — created by sewage backup or a ruptured sewer line.
  • Rotten eggs — caused by an air duct.

If you smell any of these aromas, turn off your HVAC system immediately and call a professional. You’ll want to also leave the house, along with your pets, if you smell sewage or rotten eggs because your AC system is potentially filling your home with dangerous gases like methane.

Odd noises. Your heating and cooling system always makes noises. You’re likely familiar with them, which is why if those sounds change, you’ll want to call a professional. Common abnormal noises include screeching, rattling, thumping, clanking and banging. These sounds indicate that one of your HVAC system’s components needs replacing.

Dryness or humidity in your home. If your home feels dryer in the winter or more humid in the summer, your HVAC system needs professional servicing. It’s important to handle this situation sooner rather than later because increased humidity can cause mold to grow throughout your home.

Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. If everyone in your household begins experiencing headaches, nausea or any other symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, leave your house and call a professional. A carbon monoxide detector can also alert you to a potential leak.

It’s critical to remember these signs of a failing HVAC system to ensure your health and safety.

Warning Signs of Failing Plumbing

Water damage isn’t a homeowner’s friend, which is why it’s essential to call a plumber when you notice any of the following warnings signs of a failing plumbing system:

Low pressure. If you continue to experience low water pressure, even after cleaning your shower head and faucets, your plumbing likely has a clog, burst pipe or broken water heater that’s causing damage to your home.

Discolored water. Water that appears any other color than clear is a telltale sign of failing plumbing. A light to dark brown color is common for water discoloration and is a result of corrosion or a clogged drain.

Cold showers. If you use a lot of hot water for a short period, you expect a cold shower, but not if you’re the first person to take a shower in the morning. Leaks are common causes for cold water. If you’re familiar with your water heater, shut off its water valve and call a plumber.

Unusual noises. The sound of knocking pipes is an undeniable sign that something is wrong. Valves, support straps and a high-water pressure or water hammer can all cause these noises. If left unrepaired, leaks will develop.

Call a plumber if you see any of these warning signs in your home’s plumbing. A proactive approach can prevent further water damage and additional repair costs.

Warning Signs of a Failing Electric System

Recognizing the warning signs of a failing electrical system is essential for preventing electrical fires within your home. The most common signs of an electrical system in trouble include:

Burning smell. If you smell a burning odor throughout your home, call an electrician and turn off your electrical panel. The smell can be the start of an electrical fire. Old or loose connections, as well as faulty wiring, can cause this odor.

Discolored outlets. Outlets with a dark discoloration, like a charred color, result from bad wiring or loose connections. You may also notice sparks if you plug anything into these outlets.

Broken outlets or light switches. If some of your home’s electrical outlets or light switches no longer work or only work on occasion and don’t trip your circuit breaker, a plug or the wiring may be loose. Broken outlets risk an electrical fire, which is why it’s crucial you call an electrician.

Tripping circuit breaker. It’s normal for circuit breakers to trip, but if yours continues to trip and you’re not overloading the breaker, speak to an electrician. They may replace the breaker or fuse to prevent future tripping.

Check your outlets throughout the year, even those you don’t regularly use, to ensure they’re safe and that they work, because even unused electrical outlets can still fail and place your home at risk for an electrical fire.

Emergency Assistance for Failing Home Systems

Failing plumbing, HVAC or electrical systems are emergencies, which is why it’s essential to have a reliable emergency professional for your home.

At Haller Enterprises, we provide emergency service seven days a week, 24 hours a day for heating, plumbing and electric systems across Central PA and beyond that you can rely on, even during the holidays. As one of our clients commented, “We had an air conditioning issue over the holiday weekend…having Tom show up here at 7 a.m. this morning was a step above normal service.”

Contact us for more information about how our experienced and caring team can help you during an emergency.

Also – feel free to check out Parts 1 & 2 of our “Homeowner Series” below:

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