The weather here in our area of the world is fairly consistent. Meaning, it’s fairly consistently cold! Therefore, our heaters pretty much need to be ready to work at a moment’s notice. The best way to ensure that your heater is always ready for whatever you ask of it is to schedule routine annual maintenance for the system—or more often if you’re using a heat pump system.
Of course, even with maintenance, a heater can and will experience repair needs and performance problems. This is especially true for aging heaters. But a furnace repair need doesn’t have to get you down for too long! If you know what signs to watch out for, you can get ahead of these issues before they grow into something much bigger and causes your heater to call it quits for good.
What are these signs?
Sign #1: Strange Noises
This can cover anything from loud clanking or banging—both of which indicate that perhaps a component has broken loose inside your furnace or a panel needs to be tightened—to screeching, which indicates possibly that the lubricant is wearing down on your heater’s motors.
Another noise to be aware of is “clicking” when the system starts up. If you have a gas-powered furnace and detect this noise, then there’s a possibility you’re dealing with a cracked heat exchanger. This is a potentially dangerous problem since it will allow carbon monoxide fumes to escape into your living space.
Sign #2: Uneven Heating
Surprisingly, homeowners often ignore this symptom. Or rather, they accept that it’s just a part of how their home is set up—heat simply can’t reach certain areas. This couldn’t be further from the truth though! There is no reason any home in the Salem area shouldn’t be able to accomplish efficient and effective heat throughout their entire household.
Uneven heating usually means that there is a breached air duct. That damaged duct might be leaking heated air into unoccupied spaces like your attic or crawlspace, instead of through the vent it’s intended for. Your heater may not want to call it quits over a ductwork problem, but let this problem go on long enough and it will certainly impact the longevity of your system!
Sign #3: Short-Cycling
This is the process in which a heating system, or central air conditioner for that matter, turns on and off in rapid succession. Most heating systems run on a cycle of about 15 minutes to reach the set temperature on the thermostat before cycling off for some time.
So, you shouldn’t hear your heater cycle on and off more than 4 times in once hour—if it is then you’re hearing the system short-cycle. Again, this will impact how hard your heater will have to work to do its job, and therefore its longevity.
Sign #4: Higher-Than-Average Utility Bills
How much are you paying to heat your home compared to this same time last year? How about in comparison to what your neighbors are paying? If you find that the number is far too high, it’s a sign that something is causing your heating system to perform much more inefficiently than it used to.
Any number of issues can create this problem, so the best thing to do when you notice this symptom is to contact the pros for an inspection.