6 signs your furnace needs attention

Winter is undoubtedly the most testing time of year for your heating furnace. Cold Winter weather places the greatest strain on your furnace, so you want to be confident that it is in tip-top condition. 

With most things in life, prevention is better than a cure. So what better time than the present to assure that your furnace is Winter-ready for what lies ahead? Or, perhaps, your furnace is due a post-Winter checkup after months of hard work keeping you and your family warm.

Regardless of the reason, we at Air Professionals Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help. We fully appreciate the full range of issues that can adversely affect heating systems. Like any other kind of equipment, furnaces require professional attention in order to run efficiently and safely. 

Wear and tear over time is inevitable. However, this time of year is an opportune time to get your furnace serviced to prevent unexpected and expensive repair bills later on. 

Periodic, scheduled maintenance is undeniably critical in preventing breakdowns. It is also vital in recognizing the telltale signs of potential furnace problems ahead. Knowing what is abnormal can significantly reduce the likelihood of a minor issue developing into something more serious and more expensive down the road.

We at Air Professionals Heating & Air Conditioning have compiled this list of six top furnace issues to be on the lookout for right now.

No.1 – Dirty air ducts and filters

If we had five bucks every time we said, “Change the furnace filter,” we would be multi-millionaires by now! Regularly changing the filters and cleaning the air ducts will prevent airflow from being restricted and your furnace running inefficiently. If your furnace is unable to “breathe” properly, your monthly bill is going to creep upwards for sure. It will also add unnecessary strain to your heating unit.

The thickness of the filter will largely determine the frequency of filter changes needed, as will the level of furnace use. And, interestingly, whether or not you have pets in your home. However, in general, the majority of furnaces will require a filter change every two months or so. If you haven’t changed the filter lately, now is an excellent time to do so.

As well as changing filters pay close attention to the cleanliness of the air ducts. As heat is circulated through the ducts by your furnace, clogged or dirty air ducts can stop your home from heating evenly. Again, dirty ducts can push up your monthly fuel bill unnecessarily. Therefore, it is wise to have the ducts professionally cleaned each year as a matter of course.

No.2 – Uneven home heating

Having rooms that are hot and others that are cold is a sure sign of trouble and a significant irritation. Who doesn’t want the room temperature to be just right throughout the entire home?

The first course of action against uneven heating is to clean the furnace and change the filters to ensure the correct airflow. Keep all of your room vents open, even in those rooms that you don’t use regularly.

It’s also a good idea to reduce drafts by using door snakes and weather strips, so heat can’t easily escape. Conversely, windows, doors, power outlets, and ceiling lights can all allow cold air to get inside your home, adding to the uneven heating.

If none of these measures make a difference, it’s time to contact a professional heating, ventilation, and AC company like Air Professionals Heating & Air Conditioning to diagnose the issue. For example, the wrong sized unit for your home can lead to uneven heating. In these circumstances, you may need to consider changing your furnace to obtain the home comfort level you want.

No.3 – Furnace will only blow cold air

When the filters are clean, and the thermostat is set correctly, it’s a red flag if your furnace is blowing cold. Typically, this malfunction can be traced to two main culprits.

First, in older units, the pilot light may have been extinguished. The pilot light is the starter flame that lights the furnace’s burners. Manufacturers usually include instructions on how to relight the pilot light. Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s always safer to get a professional company to do it.

Furthermore, a certified technician can detect a more serious underlying issue, such as the thermocouple for the pilot light needing replacement.

A fouled flame sensor is the second common cause of furnaces blasting out cold air. Some furnace units have flame sensors instead of pilot lights to keep the furnace burning as it should. If the flame sensor gets clogged, the furnace will only blow cold air. Cleaning of the flame sensor is included in a yearly furnace tune-up and will prevent this problem.

No.4 – A noisy furnace

Rattles, bangs, and clangs are bad news. You should have any unusual noises from your furnace looked into right away. 

Not all strange sounds are dangerous, but it is better to err on the side of caution and get them checked out. Scraping noises, for instance, are an indicator of issues with the blower wheel. A rattling noise could merely be a loosened screw.

However, banging sounds could have several causes, the worst case being a dangerously cracked heat exchanger.

Strange noises need to be investigated thoroughly, so it is best to call in experts like Air Professionals Heating & Air conditioning to check out your furnace. We will determine the cause and resolve it to avoid future malfunctions or breakdowns.

No. 5 – Furnace refuses to start

Electrical issues are usually the leading cause of furnaces refusing to turn on. With newer furnaces, the first thing to try is resetting the thermostat. To do this, turn the thermostat to its minimum setting, then switch the furnace on and off. If you can set the furnace to your desired temperature, it’s done.

Other common issues that are easy to fix include tripped circuit breakers or flat batteries.

However, should your furnace still refuse to turn on after all these measures, then there is probably an internal fault with the pilot light. A professional heating company will diagnose the problem, which is likely to be a tool low a flame setting, a damaged valve, or an unloosened thermocouple.

No. 6 – A gas leak

The most dangerous of all issues to watch out for is a gas leak. Gas leakage is extremely hazardous and should be investigated straight away by professionals.

Natural gas is often said to smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. If you smell this, get outdoors immediately and call emergency services. On the way outside, do not use any electrical switches and do not return inside until the furnace has been repaired.

Equally as dangerous is odorless carbon monoxide. You can detect its presence using a carbon monoxide alarm. Or listening for hissing or whistling sounds from the furnace, and looking for medical symptoms affecting you or your family. These include nausea, dizziness, and headaches.

Never gamble with gas leaks; it won’t end well. Always call in a professional company for help immediately if you have suspicions about a leak.

Generally, the bulk of Winter furnace problems are preventable through regular maintenance checks. Schedule your furnace tune-up today by calling Air Professionals Heating & Air Conditioning. Feel confident your heating system is safe, clean, and working correctly, no matter the weather.

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