Common signs of a malfunctioning furnace

Spring may indeed finally be arriving but we still have some chilly days to cope with and that means relying on furnaces to keep the shivering at bay. A properly functioning furnace is also critical in ensuring your home’s water pipes and all other components continue to operate as intended.

The best approach to keeping things running smoothly is awareness of how your furnace behaves and paying close attention to anything that seems amiss. A little proactive attention goes a long way in preventing significant repair bills down the road. Let’s look at some of the most common signs of a furnace in need of mending:

What’s that smell?

When a furnace cycles on for the first time after a long summer of rest, they can emit noticeable smells of various ilk; often similar to whatever fuel source is used. After awhile the smell usually fades away but if you notice an odor that wasn’t there yesterday, a strong smell hovering around the furnace or nose-crinkling aromas that don’t go away; you might have a problem that needs expert attention.

It’s not warm enough

If your furnace cycles as intended but the house is still chilly, it might be time for repairs. Low or no heat usually points to leaks in ductwork or communication breakdown between the thermostat and main furnace unit.

Did you hear that noise?

All furnaces make a certain level of noise but out of the ordinary racket could mean trouble. Be aware of how your system normally acts and pay close attention to any especially loud or strange noises like squeals or groans or bangs. Some of this may originate from a bad belt, fan, or failed internal parts.

It won’t keep running

Older furnaces might tire out and turn off altogether and if it takes multiple tries to get yours started again and keep it running, there may be a disconnected wire or faulty thermostat.

The pilot light doesn’t look right

A furnace’s pilot light should be blue; any other color means issues with ventilation and air flow. A yellow flame is an especially concerning problem as that can signal build-up of carbon monoxide, impending health dangers, and even increased combustibility of the unit.

If you notice these or other abnormal signs and can catch them before serious problems arise, you can contact a professional technician to address repairs, save you from enormous fix-it bills, and keep your days shiver-free.