Your furnace is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home. Even if you live in a warm region of the United States, chances are you have some kind of heating system in your home. If it is going to break down, it will likely happen when it is uncomfortably cold outside.
Take Care of Your Furnace Issues Before the Cold Weather Arrives
If you think your furnace needs to be repaired or replaced, tend to it before the cold weather sets in. It will be less expensive and you can avoid spending cold nights waiting for the busy HVAC technician to get to you.
Stay ahead of your furnace problems by entering into a service contract with a reputable HVAC contractor. The HVAC technician will inspect your heating system in the fall, well before the seasonal demands on it begin. The technician will thoroughly inspect and clean the components and replace worn parts. If your furnace needs more extensive service or perhaps a furnace replacement, the technician will schedule the necessary follow up appointments with you.
What to Watch Out For
Your furnace will likely give you some telltale signs that a professional furnace repair or furnace replacement is needed. Keep an eye out for some of the most common indicators that you need to call in your HVAC contractor for an evaluation and service:
1. No professional inspection in more than one year. This is an easy indicator that your furnace needs professional service. Regular maintenance by a professional is vitally important to keeping repair bills low and ensuring your furnace is operating at optimal performance levels. If a technician has not looked at your heating system in over one year, it is time to call and schedule it. Ignoring it can lead to premature breakdowns and unnecessary strains on your furnace.
2. Higher than usual utility bills. You can expect your energy bills to increase once you start operating your furnace. However, an increase in your energy bills without a comparable change in the outdoor temperature should not be ignored. Higher bills are often a sign that your furnace is straining to keep up with the demands on it. It could need a relatively minor repair, but it could turn into a big expense if you ignore it. You could find yourself in need of a new furnace.
3. House is cold. A cold house even though your heater is running is likely a sign that your furnace is worn out. The furnace needs to be evaluated for possible furnace replacement. Cool air coming from the furnace is an obvious sign that something is wrong. The problem could be a faulty thermostat, or it could be a more serious problem with the furnace itself. Call your HVAC technician for help.
4. Short-cycling or running constantly. Short-cycling is when your heating systems goes on and off for short periods. It may be a sign that your heat exchanger is overheating and causing the system to shut down. Short cycling can be a sign that something is seriously wrong with your system. On the other hand, if your heating unit runs without going off for long periods of time, service is warranted. Whether it is short-cycling or running constantly, it can burn out your furnace. Call your HVAC contractor for a service appointment.
5. Unusual noises. If your system is making strange noises, you should turn it off and contact an experienced HVAC contractor for service. A screeching sound can mean the blower has worn out, while banging or grinding sounds can mean the unit has broken internal components, but in all cases your heating system needs furnace repairs or a furnace replacement immediately.
6. House does not heat evenly. If one room is cold and the other is hot, this is a symptom of a couple of different issues. One is that the furnace is too small for the area it is heating. You may need a larger furnace. Another possibility is a very common one. Your ventilation system may be impaired by dirty ductwork, air leaks, or dirty filters. Simply cleaning the ducts and replacing your air filters may restore the furnace’s ability to heat the house evenly.
7. Age. A system that is over 15 years old that is experiencing these signs probably needs to be replaced. The average life span is 15 to 20 years. The cost of a significant repair to an older system may not be cost-effective when a new one will operate more efficiently and less expensively. Call your HVAC contractor to schedule an evaluation and possible furnace replacement before the season begins. You don’t want to have an emergency breakdown mid-season. A new furnace adds value to your home, and a new energy-efficient system can save you money in the longer term, and in any event will provide a safer and healthier home environment.
8. Unusual amounts of dust. Your furnace has an air filter that removes airborne particles, such as dust mites, pet hair, and similar substances. When the filter is dirty, it can no longer capture dust, and those particles instead circulate throughout your home. The air filter needs to be changed regularly. Changing the filter on your heater improves indoor air quality and helps the heating unit function properly. A dirty air filter puts unnecessary wear and tear on the heating unit. If the filter is not changed for a long time, the damage to the heater could be beyond repair.
Call a Professional HVAC Technician for Furnace Replacement or Service
Make sure you schedule regular maintenance on your heating system each year. By having a service contract in place with a reputable HVAC technician, you will be doing as much as you can to prolong the life of your furnace and keep it operating at optimal levels throughout the winter. If you do need emergency service, the contract will give you priority service with the contractor over those who have no contract. Contact a professional HVAC contractor to schedule your service and get more information.