5 Warning signs your HVAC system is failing

The heat is on across Europe with record high temperatures. Even if you’ve addressed common HVAC problems with preventive or predictive maintenance last spring, it is recommended to ensure your system is holding up the intense weather. Keeping up with your system’s needs and knowing the warning signs that your installation is not working properly will help you avoid major breakdowns. Here are five of the most concerning issues you need to watch out for.

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1. Strange sounds

You can typically hear your HVAC equipment running in operation and you might hear some airflow, but the sounds are not usually loud or strange. If you start hearing strange noises, there is probably something wrong:
Screeching, rattling, grinding or clunking noise: The cause can be a loosened or broken mechanical component such as a broken belt or loose screws.
Hissing or whistling sounds: Can indicate a leak in your ductwork leading to air escaping. This issue would usually be associated with a reduction in airflow.


2. Strange smells

Your HVAC equipment shouldn’t be emitting any smells. A strange smell can be an indication of something wrong:
Rotten eggs/sulfur: This could be the sign of a natural gas leak. It can lead to dangerous consequences.
Burning smell: An electrical or burning smell could be the sign of an electrical equipment overheating that could lead to an electrical fire.
Musty smell: Can be the result of mold or moisture build-up in the air ducts. If the ducts are clogged, moisture collects and causes mold and mildew.


3. Inconsistent temperatures

If your HVAC system cannot maintain accurate temperature, this can be the indication of power fluctuations or reduced airflow caused by different issues:
Airduct leaks: Leaks in airducts can cause air flow variations.
Refrigerant leaks:
Poor filter functionality: Filter issues can lead to debris or dust buildup.
Short-cycling: Excessive stopping and starting adds wear on the compressor and can lead to compressor failure
Overburdened equipment: Your HVAC system may not be sized to deliver the needed temperature in extreme hot conditions. This would result in low airflow. Additional capacity is then required to provide consistent temperatures and avoid system breakdown.


4. Set temperature cannot be reached

If your equipment cannot deliver the required temperature, the reasons could be similar to the issues leading to inconsistent temperatures:
Airduct leaks: Leaks in airducts can cause air flow variations.
Refrigerant leaks:
Poor filter functionality: Filter issues can lead to debris or dust buildup.
Short-cycling: Excessive stopping and starting adds wear on the compressor and can lead to compressor failure
Overburdened equipment: Your HVAC system may not be sized to deliver the needed temperature in extreme hot conditions. This would result in low airflow. Additional capacity is then required to avoid system breakdown.
Inaccurate thermostat:Smart thermostats in commercial buildings may have been deprogrammed

5. Higher energy bill

If your utility bill is climbing at a rate not in line with the weather condition, this probably means that your HVAC equipment is not running as efficiently as designed. This can be caused by:
Improper HVAC management or system design:
• Water Side:
- Drifting water flow in the various exchanger
- Chiller / boiler plant not being managed according to building occupanc
- Wrong sequencing of equipment unit
- Lack of maintenance on the equipment: fooled or clogged exchangers, lack of refrigerant in the circuit due to leak…

• Air Side:
- Lack of maintenance of the AHU /rooftop exchangers
- Improper air flow management
- Improper air distribution

• Building Management Side:
- No BMS in place
- Unmaintained BMS (Manual overrides, time of day schedules…)
- Not upgraded BMS: The BMS setup has not been upgraded compared to building changes (open spaces, …)

Overburdened equipment: An increase in the cooling (or heating) demand induced by greater building occupancy, extreme hot conditions, or a larger process. Additional capacity is then required.


HVAC problems you should not ignore

Many common HVAC issues can be avoided if your system is serviced following the manufacturer’s recommended routine maintenance. Problems may still happen. The above listed issues can be dangerous if left unattended. They could lead to electrical fire, cause negative heath implications, poor air quality, and/or damage your equipment.

If you notice a sign of system failure, call a professional HVAC technician. These issues should be investigated immediately and repaired as needed to recover normal operation.


A single source partner for all your temporary HVAC requirements

Trane factory trained technicians are experienced to diagnose and repair Trane and non-Trane equipment. With over 1000 of the best-trained sales engineers and service technicians in the industry strategically located in each country, Trane is in the best position to serve your special applications and seasonal needs.

If your equipment is overburdened because of high summer temperatures, Trane offers 24/7 hire support. With one of the most advanced fleets of rental equipment in Europe, Trane Rental Services can quickly deliver the required supplementary cooling to compensate for the lack of existing cooling power. We provide fast, reliable and cost-effective solutions to keep your installation running smoothly.

And if your equipment needs to be taken down for repair or replacement, our team of account managers, engineers, service technicians and logistics professionals can rapidly provide the new or back-up equipment you need to restore efficient business.

Contact your local Trane sales office today to discuss your cooling or heating needs, service or emergency hire support. Our teams will provide the HVAC solution tailored to meet your specific requirements.


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