It’s no secret that the older a home gets, the more likely things will start breaking down. That’s true for appliances, plumbing, windows, light fixtures, and HVAC systems. Age and normal wear and tear can cause many common HVAC problems in older homes that lead to frequent HVAC repair. These systems need proper attention to maintain your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. Air Force One HVAC Controls are specialists in home AC maintenance in Glen Allen, VA, and the surrounding area. We’ve compiled this list of common HVAC problems in older homes that homeowners should be aware of.

Ineffective or Outdated Equipment

Older HVAC equipment will likely be far less energy-efficient than newer models, causing higher energy bills and insufficient cooling or heating. Finding replacement parts for older models can also be more challenging and expensive. The energy efficiency of HVAC systems is measured by a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating for cooling, a heating season performance factor (HSPF) rating for heat pumps, and an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating for heating fuel efficiency. Each of these ratings for modern HVAC systems has increased over the years. For example, 20 years ago, a 10 or 12 was a common SEER rating for air conditioners. Today, the minimum allowable in the United States is 14, which provides increased energy savings and efficiency for homeowners. However, these ratings can decrease as HVAC systems age, reducing their efficiency even more by comparison.

What can you do about it?: Regular maintenance on older HVAC systems can help maximize their efficiency, as they should be inspected and cleaned regularly. Ideally, they should be serviced once in the spring, before using your air conditioning system, and once in the fall, before using your heating system. In addition, older units should be replaced with newer, more energy-efficient models to maximize efficiency. 

Inadequate Insulation

Inadequate insulation can also be an issue in older homes, making it very difficult and expensive to heat and cool them. Older homes may experience heat loss or gain due to improper insulation in the walls, ceilings, and attics, causing the HVAC system to work harder to heat and cool the home. Older single-pane windows also cause home insulation problems. These windows are significantly less energy-efficient than newer double- or triple-pane windows. Modern window frames are designed to prevent air leaks, and the multi-pane glasses prevent energy transfer which can lead to higher energy costs when heating or cooling the home.

What can you do about it?: Adding proper insulation to attics, ceilings, and walls and replacing old windows can improve a home’s energy efficiency and decrease the workload on its HVAC system. 

Ductwork Problems

Deteriorating ductwork also can be a common HVAC problem in older homes. Generally, ductwork in homes lasts an average of about 15 years due to wear and tear, but problems can appear sooner in ductwork that was installed improperly. It’s possible for gaps to form in ducts as they begin to deteriorate, which means some of your cooled or heated air could be wasted in areas that don’t need cooling. Utility bills that seem to be going up for no reason could be a sign that you have damaged ductwork that is wasting energy. Older ductwork can also collapse or be infested with pests. Dust, dirt, and pollen collecting in older ducts can also cause health problems, including coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, asthma, allergy attacks, and other health issues. 

What can you do about it?: If your duct system is 10-15 years old, you should have it inspected regularly by a professional, licensed HVAC technician to see if some or all of it needs to be replaced. Ductwork should also be checked and cleaned every 3 to 5 years or sooner if you notice air quality issues. 

Inadequate Air Flow

Inadequate or poor airflow can also be a common HVAC problem in older homes. Obstructed air returns, blocked or closed vents, or dirty air filters that haven’t been changed regularly can all contribute to inadequate airflow and poor indoor air quality. In addition, inadequate airflow can cause your HVAC system to work harder and wear down quicker, requiring more HVAC repairs.

What can you do about it?: Make sure all ducts are open and any returns are unobstructed. In addition, check your air filter regularly, as recommended by the HVAC system manufacturer, and be sure to replace your filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Poor Zoning or Temperature Control

Older homes may lack the ability to control heating and AC in zones. Older thermostats, single thermostats, or a lack of zoning can lead to discomfort and energy waste and is a particular problem in larger old homes when heating and cooling rooms are not frequently used. 

What can you do about it?: Replacing outdated thermostats with a programmable thermostat and upgrading to a zoned HVAC system can provide better control over temperature settings and increase energy efficiency. 

Incompatibility With Modern Refrigerants

If your HVAC system uses older, outdated refrigerants, such as R-22 (Freon), it may become increasingly difficult and expensive to service or recharge the system. Newer refrigerants cannot be used in air conditioning systems that require older refrigerants because they have different chemical properties and could rupture the system.

What can you do about it?: Upgrade to a new system that uses environmentally friendly refrigerants like R-410A.

Schedule Your Maintenance or Repair With Air Force One

If you live in an older home with an aging HVAC system, its increasing inefficiency could make it difficult to heat and cool your home effectively. It can also cost you extra money in energy costs. Air Force One can help you address the common HVAC problems found in older homes and do everything we can to keep your system running as efficiently as possible. If a replacement is required, we can provide you with the installation of new HVAC and ductwork systems. We also offer air conditioner repair in Richmond, VA, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for HVAC repair, replacement, or 24-hour emergency service.