For many households, the home heating system is something that barely occupies their thoughts until something malfunctions. Then, as the house grows increasingly chilly, the occupants nervously try to figure out what to do before the temperature becomes frigid due to the failed furnace.
This situation is a common one, and it can feel very stressful. However, you may be able to avoid home heating emergencies by simply being observant and aware of signs that something is amiss.
There’s a Lot of Dust or Dirt on the Furnace Exterior
A dirty, dusty furnace may just be indicative you need to be more diligent about destroying dust bunnies, but a strange coating on the appliance’s casing could also mean it’s broken, or is about to break down. You may also discover the furnace is dirty by looking at the color of a gas flame. If it’s yellow as opposed to blue, it means the burner isn’t getting enough oxygen, and it may be because the furnace needs cleaning.
The Furnace is Making a Strange Sound
The longer you live in your home, the more accustomed you probably are to the sounds the furnace makes when it’s functioning properly. They may range from clicks that occur when the thermostat activates, to the whoosh of air escaping from furnace vent pipes.
However, there are also a wide variety of noises that could be happening because your furnace isn’t working as it should. You might hear rattling due to loose ducts, whistling caused by a dirty filter, or a booming noise that happens every time the furnace turns on because it has a malfunctioning ignition.
There’s a Smell Coming From the Furnace
A furnace should not emit an odor when it’s performing properly, so if you smell something, that’s a very obvious sign of a problem. One of the most commonly detected aromas is that of burnt dirt, and you’ll likely smell it when starting to use your heater at the beginning of a season. However, if it persists beyond an hour or two after firing up the furnace, the smell might be caused by dirty ducts or clogged filters.
If you smell gas when operating your furnace, that’s a much more serious problem. Stay safe by immediately turning off the furnace and vacating the premises.
Dealing With Furnace Symptoms
If you notice some of the things discussed above in association with your home’s heating system, promptly contact a professional rather than trying to diagnose and fix the problem yourself. A company that specializes in fixing comfort systems for homes and buildings can send a well-trained technician to find out what the problem is, and talk you through the steps of what needs to be done to resolve it.
By trying to take care of the problem independently, you could make it worse and cause permanent damage to the furnace. Injuries could also occur that are life threatening, or at least make it difficult to go about daily activities without discomfort or struggle.
Even though your furnace may not be something that often occupies your thoughts, it’s worth reviewing the information above and becoming familiar with how your furnace looks and sounds when it’s working correctly. Then, if something goes wrong, you’ll likely get clued in right away.