We’re in for an especially cold winter, which means you’ll probably need to fire up the furnace. As with the rest of your home’s HVAC system, proper maintenance can keep your home comfortable without driving up your energy bill. Sometimes, though, your heating system may require a bit more TLC than usual. So, it’s important to monitor your heating equipment’s health — and be ready to schedule a furnace repair so your family can stay warm and toasty.
Read on to learn the key signs that your heating system needs servicing and when to request emergency furnace repair. We’ve ranked them in order of severity, from “call someone soon” to “get them here ASAP!”
1. Unusually High Bills
Is your energy bill is higher than usual? If you’re positive that neither your rates nor your usage have risen, higher bills are often a sign that your heating system isn’t running as efficiently as it should. The harder it has to work, the higher your energy consumption. Compare your bills to previous winters. If you see a dramatic increase that other factors can’t explain, consider bringing in a furnace repair service to evaluate your system’s health. Even simple issues such as clogged ducts or malfunctioning heat exchangers can cause big problems!
2. Inconsistent Interior Temperature
Are some rooms of your house nice and warm, while others stay frigid no matter what? It could be a draft from doors or windows, or the room may not receive enough sunlight during the day. However, it could also be a sign that your furnace needs attention. Ideally, it generates enough heat to be evenly distributed through your duct system. Excessive dirt/dust build-up can block ducts, or a leak may be venting warm air to the outside. Have a professional come inspect your furnace and ductwork to be sure they’re both in shape.
3. Furnace Runs Sporadically — Or Constantly
When a furnace kicks on, it should run long enough to warm the house to your thermostat setting, then shut off. But if you hear it kicking on and off for short periods, or if it’s constantly running, this is a problem. Not only will it raise your energy bill, but you likely won’t warm your home to the right temperature. This symptom is often caused by a malfunctioning heat exchanger. Call a professional to inspect your system.
4. Foggy Windows
If anything, your heating system should slightly dry out your indoor air. If you’re seeing condensation on your windows, your heater may be producing moisture. That can lead to mold and mildew problems, and it’s also a sign of a malfunctioning furnace. Have someone come check it out, as excess moisture is never good for a house, no matter the source!
5. Poor Indoor Air Quality
Just like your AC unit, your furnace is responsible for filtering your home’s air. As mentioned above, a damp or stuffy feeling is a bad sign. It shows that your heating system is circulating microbes and other harmful particles. Furnaces sit dormant most of the year, which means they gather dust that clogs key components. Then, their function is impaired, so yet more dust circulates, fungus grows and releases spores, and so on. It becomes a vicious cycle that impairs both the furnace itself and your family’s health.
Low indoor air quality is linked to respiratory illness, allergies, and headaches. If you or your family are experiencing these symptoms mostly at home, your furnace may be making you sick. Sometimes, a deep cleaning can solve the problem, but sometimes, parts of the heating system will require repair.
Regularly changing your furnace’s filter is good preventative maintenance, but if your home still feels dank and dirty, it’s time to call in the professionals. The problem will not go away on its own.
6. Bad Smells
Furnaces may produce a bit of a “hot” or “burnt” odor, which is normal — especially if it’s your first time running the heat in a while. However, if you smell something foul or musty, that’s often a sign of mold or other fungal growth in your system. This problem is especially common in warmer, wetter climates.
As mentioned above, this contributes to poor indoor air quality. You absolutely shouldn’t be breathing in those spores! And if you’re smelling something awful, that’s a clear sign that the microbial growth is out of control. Immediately contact an HVAC specialist for emergency furnace repair and cleaning.
7. Spooky Sounds
It’s normal to hear a rumble when your furnace kicks on, but if your furnace sounds haunted, it’s probably in need of repair. You may hear bangs, clunks, rattles, scrapes, and screeches. In any case, some mechanical component has likely broken. What you’re hearing is it smacking against other parts of the system. This problem could cause serious damage, so don’t delay in calling a furnace repair technician!
8. Yellow Burner Flames
A furnace normally has a blue gas flame. If that flame appears yellow, though, it indicates something seriously wrong with your heating system. Worse, it’s a telltale sign of carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide can be fatal in excess. In trace amounts, it causes neurological and flu-like symptoms. If your burner flame appears yellow, or if you’ve been noticing heater irregularities and are feeling inexplicably sick, don’t delay. The issue is easy to fix, but carbon monoxide can be deadly before you realize it. Play it safe: evacuate your home and request a professional emergency heating repair. It’s always better to be wrong than to risk carbon monoxide poisoning!
Also, be wary if your pilot light appears orange, red, purple, or green. These are all signs of corrosion in your heating system that will impair its function — and potentially release harmful compounds into the air.
Routine furnace maintenance is important, but it can’t prevent all heating problems. As systems age, they’ll wear out and become dirtier. If you have noticed a decline in heating quality or any of the symptoms above, call in American AC Heat Plumbing to assess your system. Often, a simple fix can lower your bills while improving your health! If you’ve had a lot of repairs over the past few years, it may be time to consider replacing your furnace. It’s crucial to have an efficient, safe heating system in place, as any malfunction can contribute to health issues.
So, be safe and stay warm. Call in our team of expert furnace repair professionals to inspect your system and perform any necessary maintenance or repairs. A properly working furnace leads to a healthy home!
Need a skilled furnace repair service for your Los Angeles home? Call on American AC Heat Plumbing for heating system inspections, expert maintenance, and emergency furnace repair.