Almost nothing in your home is more important to your family’s comfort than your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

The sooner you catch a problem with your HVAC system, the easier it will be to fix. Early warning signs can be easy to miss, but knowing what to look for can help you catch HVAC problems before an expensive repair pops up.

1. Extra Condensation or Dust

There are plenty of explanations for condensation on your windows, and most of them are nothing unusual. However, if you begin to notice more of it, especially without an obvious reason, it’s worth looking into.

Excessive condensation could be the result of poor ventilation in your attic, bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen. Similarly, excessive dust could point to a problem with your HVAC system, such as a dirty or clogged filter.

2. Sour-Smelling Garbage

Garbage will never smell pleasant, but if you notice that the odors coming from your trash can are worse than usual, poor ventilation could be the cause. Watch out for other smells, too – especially musty or stale air.

As a general rule, modern homes are better sealed than their predecessors, and this insulation helps keep your heating and cooling costs down. However, without proper ventilation, a tightly sealed home traps humidity inside as well, which can cause mold, mildew, and the smells that go with them.

3. Headaches and Cold Symptoms

If your family members seem to have constant headaches and cold symptoms, your HVAC system might be to blame. Mold from poor ventilation can make you sick, and carbon monoxide from a furnace leak can cause a variety of symptoms you might chalk up to allergies or colds.

Poor air filtration can also exacerbate allergies and asthma or cause new symptoms.

4. Rising Electric Bills

If you don’t usually see much fluctuation in your monthly electric bills, you may notice rising costs right away. Otherwise, you might simply dismiss a higher bill: Your kids always forget to turn off lights, and your spouse keeps the thermostat so low that the air conditioner seems to run all day.

However, the change may have more to do with your HVAC system’s performance than your family’s habits. Something as simple as a dirty filter can cause a noticeable change in energy efficiency.

5. Weird Noises

An HVAC system is complex, and you are probably used to odd noises by now. However, a new noise should be investigated as soon as possible, because it will only sound out-of-place for a few days. After a while, you will become accustomed to the new sounds.

Your system might just have a loose screw or a dirty filter, but it could also be on the verge of a breakdown. Calling in a professional is the best way to find and fix whatever the problem might be.

A minor HVAC problem left unattended for too long can eventually leave your home a hot, moldy mess. Keep your family comfortable by learning and looking for the early warning signs.

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