Despite its southern latitude, the weather in Texas can get fairly cold. That’s particularly obvious this winter, thanks to a Super El Niño.
In times like these, a homeowner’s best friend is their furnace. Like most friends, though, furnaces aren’t infallible. They can stop cooperating at the most inopportune time, leaving you scrambling to find extra blankets.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to tell if you’ll need an emergency furnace repair before it breaks down. Here are 11 warning signs your furnace will need some help to carry you through the winter!
1. Orange or Yellow Pilot Light
Every furnace has a pilot light. This is a small flame that serves as an ignition source for furnaces, water heaters, and similar appliances. When the furnace is operating properly, the pilot light should be mostly blue.
If the light is orange or yellow, this means the gas isn’t burning hot enough. This usually indicates a combustion issue or a carbon monoxide leak. The latter can be very dangerous, and you should deal with it right away.
2. Strange Furnace Smells
When you first install a furnace, strange smells are a common occurrence. If the furnace isn’t new, though, any odor is a reason for concern. A musky smell, for instance, usually means you should change the air filter.
One particularly worrisome odor is the rotten egg smell. This is caused by a chemical gas companies often add to natural gas, which is otherwise odorless. It serves as a warning that there is a gas leak you have to address.
3. Uneven Heating
Uneven heat output from a furnace can be tricky to spot. After all, different areas in your home will have different temperatures. Still, big temperature differences in a similar environment don’t happen on their own.
As one of the most common furnace issues, uneven heating can occur for many reasons. These include dust obstruction, clogged filters, and so on. An HVAC technician should be able to pinpoint the exact cause.
4. Constant Fan Noise
Is your furnace fan running continuously and refusing to shut off? If so, the first thing you should do is rule out human error. You can do that by confirming that your thermostat is set to “auto” rather than “on.”
If this doesn’t solve the issue, there’s likely some miscommunication between the furnace and thermostat. This could be due to a mechanical failure or an electrical issue with the furnace or thermostat.
5. The Unit Won’t Turn On
The older your furnace is, the harder it is to get it to turn on. At some point, most furnaces will require multiple attempts to start. In this situation, it’s usually a good idea to hire a professional to take a look at it.
Chances are, these issues will be simple to fix. For example, all you may need to do is replace your secondary heat exchangers. That said, if the furnace is over 15 years old, it may be better to get a new one.
6. Sparks and Flames
Like with most appliances, sparks coming from a furnace aren’t good news. Common culprits include a dirty igniter and a malfunctioning flame sensor. These issues usually lead to the ignitor failing to activate the burners.
If your furnace is sparking, shut it off immediately. Then, contact emergency HVAC services to get to the root of the problem. If you keep the furnace operational, those sparks will quickly become flames.
7. Unusual Furnace Noises
Furnace noises come in many forms. A few of them, like a quiet whirring sound, indicate a furnace is working as intended. Others, such as tapping from a loose fan belt, can wait until the next maintenance visit.
Noises you should pay attention to include screeching, rattling, and banging. These noises tend to suggest serious issues, like a damaged blower motor. If you’re unsure of the source, it’s best to inspect the unit ASAP.
8. CO Alarms
All modern furnaces come with a carbon monoxide detector. If this detector sounds an alarm, there’s a high chance of a carbon monoxide leak. As mentioned above, this is a clear sign you need emergency HVAC services.
Of course, not every CO alarm alert will mean you’re dealing with a gas leak. Benign issues like flue obstruction can trigger alarms as well. Still, even the possibility of a gas leak is too significant to ignore.
9. Water Leaks
If you notice water spillage next to your furnace, you likely have a leak. This usually happens due to condensation. For instance, broken condensate lines or a clogged condensation drain can both create puddles.
Other times, the issues behind the leaks will be more complex. These include a clog in the internal drain system and a malfunctioning humidifier. Until you figure out the cause, consider turning the furnace off.
10. Too Much Dust
Are you vacuuming your home more often than you think you should need to? If so, there’s a good chance your furnace is the culprit. As furnaces get older, their air filtration systems won’t work as efficiently as they used to.
One solution to this issue is to have a more robust furnace maintenance plan. Changing the filters more often will help the furnace do its job better. Again, though, if the furnace is on its last legs, you may need to replace it.
11. High Energy Bills
It doesn’t take a genius to know that your energy bills will be higher in the winter. Still, sudden upward trends can indicate all sorts of energy use issues, many of which you can fix. One of them is an inefficient furnace.
A poorly-maintained furnace will have to work harder to heat your home. If you want it to perform adequately, service it once a year. These inspections are a good opportunity to get in front of most of the issues outlined above.
Arrange an Emergency Furnace Repair Today!
It’s not unreasonable to say that a healthy furnace is vital to keeping your home safe. If you notice any of these warning signs, your best bet is to hire a professional HVAC technician to inspect the unit right away.
Looking for an experienced HVAC technician in Spring, TX? At Bruce Mech Air Conditioning and Heating, we offer 24/7 emergency furnace repair services! Contact us here and we’ll get right back to you!