Best Way to Stay Ahead of Expensive Heating Repair Costs
You probably will not know that your heating system needs a repair until the weather gets cold and you start operating it. By that time, the problem may have turned into an expensive heating repair, or worse, you may have to buy a new one. The only way to know that your heating system needs attention is through regular maintenance by a professional HVAC technician. Regular maintenance through a service contract is not an absolute guarantee that nothing will go wrong, but it is the single best way to identify and resolve problems before they become significant expenses. Moreover, if a heating repair is needed in the middle of winter, you will get priority service at reduced rates.
Under a service contract with a reputable HVAC contractor, an 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 more service is required, the technician will schedule a follow up with you.
Common Warning Signs
Breakdowns and unexpected mechanical failures do happen. Often, your heating system will give you some indication that it needs professional service. The warning signs are often (but not always) obvious. Here are some of the most common signs that you need to call your HVAC contractor for an evaluation and service:
Lack of warm air from the heater
Suddenly, the heater is blowing cool air and not keeping the house warm. This is an obvious sign that something is wrong. Before calling the HVAC contractor, make sure the system is getting power – check the circuit breakers, the power switch, and pilot light (if your heater has a pilot light, it is probably more than 25 years old and should be replaced). If power is getting to the system but it is not coming on, or if it is coming on but not doing its job, call your HVAC technician. The problem could be a faulty thermostat, or it could be a more serious problem.
No professional inspection in more than one year
As mentioned earlier, early inspection and routine maintenance by a professional is vitally important to keeping heating repair bills low and ensuring your system 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 for maintenance. These systems need regular attention and failure to do so can lead to premature breaking and unnecessary strains on your system.
Higher than usual utility bills
If you notice an increase in your energy bills without a comparable change in the outdoor temperature, do not ignore it. Higher bills are often a sign that your heating system is straining to keep up with the demands on it. It could need a relatively minor heating repair. If you ignore it, you could find yourself in need of a new system.
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. Call your HVAC contractor for a service appointment.
House is cold
Your heater may be running all the time, but you still feel cold. This could be a sign that your furnace is worn out. Try adding insulation around drafty windows and doors or other places where cold air may be getting in. If the indoor temperature is still colder than it should be, the furnace may need to be repaired or replaced. This needs a professional technician to diagnose and recommend the best solutions.
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, the heater needs repairs or replacement.
Sharp, pungent odors emanating from your system may mean an electrical problem. Lingering musty, organic odors are an indication of mold growing in the system, which is itself a symptom of excessive humidity or moisture pooling where it should not be. Your system should be professionally serviced to pinpoint the problem and make appropriate repairs.
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 replacement before the season begins. You don’t want to have an emergency breakdown mid-season. A new system adds value to your home, and a new energy-efficient heating system can save you money in the longer term, and in any event, will provide a safer and healthier home environment.
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.
Consult a Reputable HVAC Contractor
Don’t ignore the warning signs described above. Make sure your heating system is evaluated and serviced by a reputable, professional HVAC technician. With regular service, you can reduce the chances that you will experience an emergency breakdown of your heating system just when you and your family need it the most. Contact an experienced HVAC contractor and schedule an evaluation before winter sets in.