Most of the time we don’t have to think about our heating and cooling systems. They just do their part to keep our homes and places of business comfortable with little effort from us. Unfortunately, they don’t work flawlessly forever. A furnace breakdown can be catastrophic in dangerous weather conditions. There are times when repair and even replacement are needed, but how can you know when you need heating repair services?
Symptoms that Heater Maintenance or Repair is Needed
Your heating system will give you some clues that maintenance or repair work is needed. Things to watch for include:
- Higher utility bills – if your bills keep going up, it’s an indicator that your furnace is not working efficiently and is wasting energy
- Unfamiliar noises – screeching sounds may indicate that a fan belt is wearing out, banging or popping sounds could be problems with the burners, and buzzing may be indicative of a dangerous electrical connection
- Improper cycling – short cycles are warning signs of problems and cause more wear and tear on your system’s components
- Insufficient comfort levels – your system isn’t working properly if your home isn’t warm enough
- Unpleasant odors – strange smells coming from your system can indicate problems. The odor of burning dust is normal after a period of inactivity and usually dissipates within a few hours, but if it persists, it could indicate dirt buildup inside the unit. The odor of rotten eggs may be a gas leak. Electrical and metallic smells can be caused by overheating and older components like rubber belts that are breaking down inside the unit.
- Discolored pilot light – the pilot light should always be bright blue but if it turns yellow and flickers, it means that it isn’t working properly and may be creating too much carbon monoxide
While any of these indicators is important to pay attention to, it’s critical to take care of any concerns about excess carbon monoxide immediately to prevent toxicity in your home. Other signs of excess carbon monoxide to watch for include rust on vent pipes, lack of drafts in the chimney, soot streaks around the heating unit, moisture on exterior walls and windows, and puddling water beneath the chimney or flue pipe.
If your system is having issues, it may need some repairs that might not be as obvious as changing out the filter or replacing the battery in the thermostat. Some unknown issue may be causing the problems.
Hidden Causes of Heater Issues
- Ductwork – your furnace may not be to blame for poor heat circulation throughout your home. If the installer took shortcuts, which is a common issue, the ductwork may be inappropriately sized and designed. Lack of air flow can also cause the system to short cycle, overheat, and break down.
- Low refrigerant levels – if the coolant levels in the heat pump decrease, the heat strips will activate too frequently resulting in excessively large heating bills.
- Thermostat – your system’s thermostat can also be responsible for the failure of the unit. It could be malfunctioning or improperly programmed to keep the heater from turning on when you need it.
- Blower capacitor – this is the part of your furnace that looks like a large battery and is responsible for operating the blower, one of the most essential components that actually “blows” the air through the ducts and into the rooms of your home. A faulty or dead capacitor could be the cause of insufficient heating.
- Overdue Maintenance – sometimes the system will not turn on because it has not received routine maintenance and is dirty. A dirty blower affects the heat exchangers, or the tubes and metal shells that actually transfer the heat, by clogging them or causing them to crack from extra stress. Clogged air filters restrict the air flow from the furnace. Dirt inside the unit can also keep the flame sensor from being able to light the burners. The burners can also stop working if neglected to the point of being too coated in dirt and dust to operate properly.
Heating systems have progressed over the years to be very reliable but there are a lot of components that still work behind the scenes that can affect their overall performance. Your HVAC system is also one of the most expensive home investments you will make. Having to replace it or make frequent repairs costs even more money while malfunctions cause discomfort and potential safety hazards.
The best way to protect your investment is to schedule regular HVAC system maintenance that includes yearly tune ups and replacing the filters every three months. Contact American Comfort Experts today to schedule an appointment.