In most of the country, people need to heat their homes for at least a few months of the year. Depending on where you are, you might have a heat pump or a gas furnace, or something completely different, but we all need heat in winter.
One of the worst things that can happen to you is for your heat to stop working in the middle of a cold spell, just ask Texas residents who experienced this last winter. In order to learn how to spot problems with your furnace before anything major breaks down, we reached out to furnace repair experts at Howell’s Heating & Air. Here’s what they had to say.
Hot or Cold Spots and Timing
The main goal of your furnace is to keep your house warm and comfortable. Typically, the furnace will work for a period of time, get the heat up, and then shut down for a time while the house is warm. As soon as the temperature drops below a certain level, the furnace kicks back into action.
However, it is possible for heat not to be properly distributed, both in terms of rooms, and in terms of timing. Hot and cold spots in your house are usually not an indicator that the furnace itself is at fault. Rather, your HVAC system might be at fault. Have a technician come in and inspect the system. Chances are that it’s nothing more than a fan issue, or a blockage in the HVAC system that is easy to fix.
On the other hand, if your home gets too cold or too hot at certain times, it might be an indication that the furnace itself is the problem. The problem might be as simple as a loose motor belt or as complicated as a damaged fan motor or a pilot light issue. If the furnace works well, it is possible that your thermostat is not functioning as expected – something a HVAC tech will certainly check.
Your Bills Are Higher than Usual
Guessing what your gas or electricity bill is going to be each month is nigh on impossible – there are just too many factors at play. However, what you can do is have a ball-park figure in mind. If your bills are significantly higher than you would expect, chances are that there is something wrong with your home’s heating unit. That is, if nothing else has changed.
Modern furnaces are designed to be as efficient as possible. If you spot an increase in your bills, chances are that something in the furnace has gone wrong. Whether it is turning on more often than it should, or if it is being inefficient in other ways (like not burning all of the fuel) – you shouldn’t wait too long to have the furnace checked.
Hearing Strange Noises
If you’ve lived in your home for a while, chances are that you know a lot about it – which floorboards creak, which doors need to be closed carefully, which window’s lock often catches and needs to be forced open. Your furnace, even though it only works for a few months a year, is also a part of that house and you surely know just how it works.
This means that it should be easy for you to discern between regular sounds coming from the furnace, and strange noises that don’t belong and might indicate that there is a problem. Any kind of buzzing, knocking or hissing should immediately be addressed and fixed – before they cause a more serious problem.
Keeping your furnace in top condition is hugely important, especially if you live in the colder parts of the country. Be mindful of your furnace, care for it, and it will care for you in turn.