Each year, as you move into the autumn and winter months, it’s paramount that your furnace is functioning properly. If you’re one of the 3.4 million Americans who use a furnace to heat your residence, there are some things you need to be aware of when it comes to a faulty unit.
In the following article, we’ll be looking at the seven most common signs that indicate there’s an issue. Let’s get started!
1. Extended Burning or Fuel Scents
There’s always the chance that it’s just a dirty filter whenever your furnace emits a burning or fuel-like smell. The odor may also come at the start of each season as the furnace burns off dust buildup from lack of use. However, should the smells persist after changing the filter or an hour or two for those first runs, you could be heading for a costly furnace repair.
2. Pilot Light Discoloration
Another sign that it’s time to repair your furnace is if you notice any issues with your pilot light. The two most common: you can’t keep your pilot light lit, or the pilot light is discolored.
If the pilot light is burning yellow, you have a problem. The flame should be blue. If it isn’t, then you likely have a buildup of dirt in the air intake valve that can be hard to repair on your own if you’re not familiar with the parts of a furnace.
3. Weird Noises
Weird noises can often send you looking at tips for repairing your furnace. Unfortunately, those noises can vary so it’s difficult to distinguish one from the other.
The main thing is to know what your furnace sounds like during “normal” operations. The longer you run it, the more you’ll be able to pick up on abnormalities. As those persist, you’ll want to consider reaching out to a repair team.
Possible problem areas include a faulty capacitor, interior fan, or poor lubrication. Listen for loud pops or persistent squealing noises.
4. CO Detectors Are Going Off
A major indicator that you have a broken furnace is if the CO detectors start going off. Every homeowner with a furnace should have CO (or carbon monoxide) detectors in their home. These should be kept close enough to vents and the unit itself to pick up on any fluctuations in CO levels.
Carbon monoxide has been called the silent killer. This colorless, odorless gas is impossible to detect without the aid of a detector. If it builds up, it can be lethal, and it really doesn’t take much to cause harm.
We recommend buying a CO detector for each room of your house. Consider varying the style and brand as well. This tip will ensure that you’re adequately covered in case one particular type is faulty.
5. Air Quality Declines
Another of the signs of a broken furnace that you need to be aware of: bad allergies, sinuses, or other respiratory difficulties. For this, you don’t look at the furnace for guidance but your own body or those of the other individuals living in your home.
Of course, each person may react differently to declines in air quality. Some of you might not have the same struggles with your allergies and sinuses as others.
Pay attention to hacking, coughing, sneezing, and wheezing, particularly as they’re focused on changes in the season and upticks in the length of time you use your furnace each day. The “easy” fix is changing out your filter, but if the problem persists after that, you may be looking at a more mechanical problem that requires a deeper look.
6. Not Giving Off Enough Heat
Is your furnace running and running but never getting you closer to the temperature you’ve set on the thermostat? That’s another indication it’s time to repair your furnace.
Of course, if it’s not heating up at all, then it can be hard to tell whether you have a problem. That can end up costing you even more money over the long haul because your bills go up without you realizing why.
Pay close attention to your energy bills all year long, but especially do so during the autumn and winter months. If you notice a significant increase from year to year, you may have a deeper issue than rate adjustments.
7. Trouble Turning On
The last sign to watch for is when you have trouble turning on your furnace. Maybe the pilot light keeps going out, the furnace won’t turn on at all, or there’s a loud popping noise that begins each time it cuts on.
None of these are within the range of “normal” for how a furnace is supposed to function. Consider getting the issue looked at, even if the furnace is still heating your surroundings okay.
What Happens When You Ignore Furnace Issues?
The repercussions of a faulty furnace range from costly to dangerous. Three primary outcomes can hit you where it hurts the most: your pocketbook and quality of life.
Higher Energy Costs
Energy costs will skyrocket with a faulty furnace. That’s because the unit is running for longer periods of time without shutting off before it gets your room to a preferred temperature.
Your furnace has a significant impact on the air quality of a room. Just ask anyone who’s ever struggled with allergies or sinus problems.
Other Health-Related Problems
If anyone in your home suffers from another respiratory illness, attacks can become quite violent and lead to more serious health issues. Furthermore, a faulty furnace can emit harmful gases that might even threaten the lives of everyone in your family.
Keeping Your Furnace Operational Is About Health and Safety
The operations of your furnace need to be closely looked after. A faulty furnace can affect the air quality and comfort of your home, cost you a lot of money if left unchecked, and even put yours and the lives of your family in jeopardy.
Pay close attention to the signs we’ve shared here, and consider getting professional assistance should one or more of these conditions be present. For more home improvement tips and information, check out some of our additional posts!