Furnace Warning Signs to Address Before Winter

Flames ignited to heat water as seen through a gas boiler's viewing window.

Fall is quickly approaching and while the current pandemic may have fall looking a little different than usual (we’ll miss you college football) some things are constant—cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and sweater weather.

Fall is a popular season for many homeowners, but there’s nothing worse than going to turn on your heater for the first chill of the season and realizing something is wrong. Keep an eye out for the below signs that may indicate your furnace needs a tune-up or replacement before the cold temperature of winter set in.

Signs Your Furnace Is Going Out

Unusual odors

Your furnace may have a slight burning smell early on in the season—this is usually the result of dust burning off as you turn your system on for the first time this year. Other smells aren’t as harmless. If you smell burning plastic, turn your furnace off immediately and contact an HVAC specialist. This could indicate that writers or electrical components are failing and getting scorched.

Discolored pilot light

If you heat your home with a gas furnace, the pilot light can help you diagnose major system problems. Your pilot light should be a strong, bright blue flame. If you see any of these flame changes, contact your heater expert.

  • Weak or flickering flame: Gas may not be burning completely.

  • Orange or yellow flame: Your flame is burning inefficiently due to a lack of oxygen. This can also indicate that your heater is releasing carbon monoxide.

  • No pilot light: This could be a simple case of your pilot light blowing out due to a strong breeze or draft, but it could also indicate other issues such as a faulty thermocouple. If the pilot light goes out and you notice a rotten egg or sulfur smell, do not attempt to relight your furnace. This smell could indicate a malfunction with the gas-shutoff failsafe.

A sudden increase in your heating bill

As your furnace gets older, it has to work harder to keep your home at the desired temperature. If you see a sudden spike in your heating bill, it likely means that your system is pushing itself and using more energy to provide heat to your home.

Strange noises

There are many sounds your furnace makes on a daily basis, but when those noises suddenly become louder or more frequent, it’s time to contact a professional for service. Some noises to keep an ear out for include:

  • Banging or popping

  • Rumbling

  • Thumping

  • Humming

Routine maintenance can help catch minor issues early on, but depending on the age of your system, it may be cheaper to simply cut your losses and replace your furnace. Our trusted HVAC experts can help you diagnose your issue and determine the best course of action for your situation.

Do you have a heating emergency? Contact at (800) 704-7340. We will be there in a flash.

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