Heater Warning Signs to Watch Out For

November 6, 2017

Furnace TechnicianWe’ve officially hit that time of year where heaters are coming on more often and making sure your furnace is in working condition is on the top of your to-do list. Keeping an eye out for warning signs now, while the weather is still likely to be a little more gracious for another few weeks is a great plan. If you can spot something that might be awry now, you have the opportunity to fix it before you’re sitting in your home trying not to turn into a popsicle as the first major snowstorm of the season bears down on you. If you’re worried something might be off, here are some major warning signs to keep an eye out for.

Unusual Noises from Heater

Nobody really likes hearing sudden bumps in the night or concerning noises from your furnace, but it can happen. If you’re suddenly hearing pops or bangs when the furnace turns on, a scraping sound akin to metal on metal, or a whining or squealing coming from your heater, it’s a sign that something is awry. Strange noises are worth getting checked out by a professional because of the wide range of problems that might be causing the noise.

Furnace Turns On and Off More Than it Should

You’re sitting there, enjoying a chilly day in your cozy home when you start to notice something strange. The furnace that just turned on ten minutes ago has turned off. And three minutes later, it’s turned back on again. After several run-throughs of the same thing, it’s understandable that you’d be frustrated and possibly a little concerned. When your furnace turns on and off frequently, it’s called short-cycling and it could be due to a variety of causes. Your first line of defense here should be to check the filter and make sure it’s clean. If all checks out there, it’s time to move on to the possibility of more serious causes, which will likely require calling in professional help.

Water Near the Furnace or Boiler

If you start to notice water near the furnace or boiler (ie. places where water should definitely not be pooling), it could be a sign that you’re facing a potentially serious issue. The most common reason for water pooling near a high efficiency furnace is a condensation leak. This can occur when the condensation tubing becomes clogged or if there is a break in the line. If you have a humidifier, the water may be related to a leak from that device. If you have hot water heat (central boiler, as opposed to forced air furnace), any number of causes could result in errant water. Identifying which problem is the cause and what needs to be done about it can be difficult without a professional eye on things.

Cold Air

This is a big one. Obviously, no one turns a heater on with the intention of it blowing cold air. While the cause of cold air blowing through your home even when you’ve turned it to heat could be a number of different things, they all add up to one big red flag: your furnace, or at least a very important part of it, is failing. It could be the blower itself, it could be a heating element, it could be a handful of other things. But the bottom line is – something’s up. Cold air is definitely a reason to get a technician in asap.

These aren’t the only warning signs to keep an eye on, but they are some of the biggies. A couple of these could cause more than just temporary discomfort, and could put the safety of your family and your home at risk. Knowing what to look for is important and can help your technician identify more quickly what’s going on, but the big thing is this: If something doesn’t feel right, call your technician. Better safe and cozy warm than sorry and freezing cold when the winter rolls around. We can help you make sure your furnace and other systems are ready for whatever winter brings.