8 Warning Signs Your Furnace May Need Repair
Brrrrr…Winter is coming early this year in Edmonton! With the changing seasons comes a chill in the air, and potentially even inside your home. Your furnace should have already fired up this fall. If your furnace has started to show signs of aging, you are probably overdue for a furnace tune-up. Some warning signs of a furnace failing are easy to miss, and others are too dangerous to not miss.
We have come up with a list of 8 warning signs that your furnace may need repairs. Review the list below to determine if you are due for a professional furnace tune-up.
The top signs that your furnace needs repair
1. COLD AIR Means Furnace Repair!
If you notice the air coming out of your vents is cold, or there is reduced airflow, this could be something as simple as a blocked air duct, to something more complex like a worn-out blower motor. If you are constantly increasing the thermostat to bring the temperature up, you have a problem. You should check-in and around your air vents for obstructions and remove them. Routine furnace maintenance by a professional technician is recommended to ensure that you have strong airflow and no leaks in your ducts and that your blower motor is operating properly.
2. Drafts, Uneven Heating or Condensation
If you feel cold drafts in parts of your home when the furnace is running, you could have a leaky duct or a blocked vent. If you have your thermostat set to a higher temperature, and the furnace does not produce adequate heat, you could need a thermostat repair (but first try changing the batteries in your thermostat). If you notice a lot of condensation on your windows, you may need to adjust your humidifier settings. If you continue to have excess condensation, this indicates air is not flowing properly and your system should be checked before you are faced with mold or mildew issues.
3. Your Furnace Occasionally Turns Off
When a furnace turns off before its heating cycle is complete, there could be a number of causes. The cause could be that the wiring on your furnace needs to be updated, or that your thermostat needs to be replaced. Another common problem is that the homeowner neglects to change the furnace filter and it is obstructed. The fan motor may need a new belt and the fan might need to be cleaned and calibrated. If you have changed your furnace filter and your thermostat batteries, and the problem persists, a professional tune-up is recommended.
4. Strange Noises
Does your furnace squeak, squeal, pop, bang, or rattle? These are all signs of wearing parts within the furnace, like the blower motor, fan belt, or bearings. Noises like pops or pings could also come from thermal expansion of your air ducts when the seasons change, but these sounds will not persist, like abnormal sounds that can come from a furnace under stress. If your furnace is making noises, time is of the essence in assessing the problem and repairing it. Failing to do so can set off a chain reaction of subsequent issues, that ultimately end up costing more to repair than if you had just fixed the initial problem. A furnace tune-up will address any questions you have about your furnace making strange noises.
5. Your Furnace is 15+ Years Old
On average, a furnace lifespan is 12-20 years old, depending on the size of your home, and if you care for and maintain it properly. If you have your furnace tuneup twice a year (once at the start of Fall, and after Winter comes to an end) you shouldn’t need repairs too often with your furnace. This is in tune with having a vehicle that you neglect to maintain. If you drive it too long and don’t maintain it properly, it is either going to break down and need major repairs, or completely break down prematurely. Don’t let this happen to your furnace. Checking for warning signs and having it serviced by a professional will ensure your equipment warranties remain valid. Regular tune-ups will also prolong the life of your furnace, giving you peace of mind home comfort season after season. However, all furnaces eventually will need to be replaced no matter how well they have been kept up over the years.
6. Soaring Gas Bills
In the winter months, we always expect to pay more for our utilities, but if you notice an increase year over year, this could be a sign your furnace isn’t operating efficiently anymore. Compare your gas consumption from one month this year, to the same month last year. Do this for each month of the year, as your bills come in. If you steadily notice a sustained increase in consumption, you may have a furnace working overtime. Always ensure that you change your furnace filters at least every 3 months and that you have your furnace professionally maintained. Failing to do so is bound to cost you more in energy bills.
7. Yellow Pilot Light
The pilot light on your furnace should be blue, with a bit of yellow on the tip, and should be a steady flame. A steady, blue pilot light indicates that your furnace is only burning natural gases and is in good working condition. If your pilot light is mostly yellow or orange colours, this could be a sign of a dangerous carbon monoxide leak. If your pilot light is yellow or orange or is flickering, a professional should be contacted right away to make a diagnosis. As a safety guard, you should always invest in a carbon monoxide detector in your mechanical room. Carbon monoxide is colourless and odorless and can cause death. If your carbon monoxide detector ever goes off, you should turn your furnace off, call 911, and evacuate everyone from the house. Read more about carbon monoxide and furnace safety.
8. URGENT! Smell of Rotten Eggs
Your furnace often produces a slight smell the first time it fires up in the fall, but if it produces a very strong odor similar to rotten eggs or sewage, you likely have a gas leak. If you ever notice this smell, turn your furnace off immediately and vacate the home. Contact your local gas provider, and 911, to advise them of a potential gas leak. If you notice any other smells coming from your furnace, we always advise having a professional come out to diagnose the problem.
The above list is 8 warning signs of a furnace that already needs repair. Even if you aren’t having warning signs of a failing furnace, you should still take preventative action and have a furnace tune-up conducted by a licensed technician twice per year. If your furnace is already showing warning signs of a problem, our furnace experts will assess and diagnose the problem during your furnace tune-up and will provide you with a repair plan of action and a Straightforward Price for any repairs. Rest assured, the furnace experts at Always will never try to sell you a furnace that you don’t need. We will always try to repair your furnace first, as long as it can safely be repaired, has years left of use, and the cost to repair the problem doesn’t outweigh the cost to replace the equipment. Our technicians will recommend when you should start thinking about replacing your furnace.
It is best to do so when advised, because most furnaces that break down completely do so on the coldest days of the year, leaving the household with no heat! Our team is available 24/7, 365 days a year, to help you take care of all of your homes’ plumbing and heating. Book your furnace maintenance today with the experts at Always Plumbing & Heating by calling 780-489-8118 or contacting us online.