As the outdoor temperature begins to drop, this is a sure sign that the winter season will be fast approaching. Before it gets too cold outside, now would be a good time to make sure your furnace is in good working condition. Almost an entire year has passed since you last used the furnace. There is a chance that your furnace may require some minor repairs or even major replacements.
Even though some homeowners forgo the furnace inspection process, this is not recommended. Without these routine check-ups, you are putting your furnace at risk to potential malfunctioning in the future. Many furnace problems can be easily fixed during the inspection, but only if they are spotted early. By the time winter arrives, and your furnace suddenly breaks down during the coldest day of the year, you will regret not performing these repairs sooner.
A furnace won’t usually break down overnight. There are often cautionary signs that indicate a problem within the furnace, which necessitates a deeper furnace inspection. Before your unit comes to a halt, the following signs may alert you that something is wrong with your furnace:
Sign #1: You notice there’s no heat.
When you turn on the furnace, you always expect warmth and heat to be radiating from the unit. It can be a serious problem when this doesn’t happen naturally. After all, what is the purpose of a furnace if it doesn’t have the most basic heating capabilities?
Sometimes, your furnace may be working to a certain extent, but it might not be emitting enough heat. This is also a serious problem. A furnace is supposed to heat up the room, so you shouldn’t be left shivering in the cold. Most furnace units are powerful enough to spread the warmth throughout your whole house. If you simply don’t feel warm enough even with the furnace turned on, you need to consult with the HVAC professional for a further check-up.
Sign #2: Your furnace keeps turning on and off.
Once you turn on the furnace, you expect the power to last until you turn it off. However, there are some instances where your furnace stays on for a couple of seconds, but then switches off again by itself. The root cause is usually a wiring issue, a problem with your fan motor, or a glitch with the thermostat. In any case, performing a furnace inspection will have this problem fixed swiftly.
Sign #3: Your thermostat doesn’t work.
Any time you feel chilly inside your home, your first instinct might be to turn up the heat. Unfortunately, there are some scenarios where your broken thermostat simply doesn’t comply. No matter what buttons you push or which settings you choose, there is no noticeable difference in the temperature. This is a clear indicator that either your furnace or your thermostat device has stopped working.
Sign #4: You hear loud banging noises from the furnace.
The only sounds you expect from a furnace are those of the furnace fans, the humming of the furnace motor, or a pressure-like sound when the gas is burning. Any other sound you hear could be a sign that your furnace is malfunctioning. In some cases, your furnace probably just requires a quick tune-up to eliminate the noise. However, it is safer to let the HVAC professional inspect your furnace and determine the root cause of this unfamiliar sound.
Sign #5: Your furnace is emitting a bad smell.
A faint smell of burnt fuel is typical, mainly when you are operating a gas furnace or an oil furnace. However, there is a cause for alarm if you notice a variation in the smells from one room to the next. When the smell in one specific room is much stronger than another room, this is an unusual sign that doesn’t often occur with fully functional furnaces.
As a safety precaution, you should never let an unidentifiable smell (especially if it smells like unburnt gas) linger in your house for too long without looking deeper into the cause. The smell could be due to your broken furnace, or something else entirely, but the most important point is finding out its source.
Sign #6: Your carbon monoxide detector goes off.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas. If you inhale too much of it, the consequences could be deadly. When the carbon monoxide detector goes off and you do nothing about it, you are literally bargaining with your life.
In most instances, the carbon monoxide detector is going off because your furnace has not burned the fuel entirely. The moment you notice the sensor is off, quickly turn off all appliances that use gas in your home, including your furnace. Then, open all your windows. Next, contact the fire department to give you the all-clear sign before re-entering your house. Afterwards, get in touch with the HVAC professional to inspect and repair your furnace.
Sign #7: Your energy bills are too high.
If your heating system is working inefficiently, it uses more energy than normal. This inevitably pushes up your energy bills. The age of your furnace can severely impact its performance efficiency. The older your furnace, the less efficient it might be. During your furnace inspection, the HVAC professional can inspect the status and give you a professional assessment of its efficiency.
In most cases, you won’t need to replace your furnace unless it is extremely old. However, you may be advised to clean or replace certain older components to keep your furnace in working order. Once your furnace is repaired, this allows your unit to perform with as much efficiency as possible, thus lowering your energy consumption and utility bills.