Red Flags to Look For When Operating Your Heating System
Of course we’ll always suggest you call a licensed professional to evaluate your HVAC system at least once a year. It’s the safest way to ensure your heating and air conditioning units not only function efficiently, but also last for a long time before needing replacment. However, we understand that sometimes life gets in the way of prompt inspections. It might be a few weeks before you can schedule a consultant to come out for a look, or perhaps they already visited your home several months ago, with everything checking out okay.
Problems with the Furnace Are Often Easily Detectable
Unlike an air conditioner, which frequently just stops working when there’s an issue, the furnace often still operates as it is malfunctioning. This isn’t a good thing. A faulty heating unit can present a significant air quality and safety hazard well before you get the astronomical heating bill that comes from an inefficient or broken system. For that reason alone, keep the following tips in mind as you operate your furnace throughout the cooler months.
What the Heck Is That Smell?
Furnaces burn off lint, dirt and dust in their first few cycles of the year. That’s perfectly normal, and to be expected. However, after a few hours of service, you shouldn’t smell anything, let alone an unpleasant odor. If you smell something burning, you may have dirty ductwork, burners, or an underlying clog in the system, preventing efficient ventilation. A smoky scent may indicate that that multiple vents are closed or blocked. Call your HVAC professional for an inspection as soon as you can.
IMPORTANT: If you smell burning plastic or gas, turn off the furnace at once and leave the premises immediately. Your heating system may be at risk of fire or explosion. Don’t take a chance going back inside until a professional has evaluated the problem.
What the Heck Is That Sound?
Hear funny things from your furnace? Learn to differentiate between the ordinary clicks and rattles of a happy heater from the scary rumblings of a broken furnace. Your heating unit should not sound like cereal: no snaps, crackles or pops should be audible at any time. Grinding noises, shrieks or squeals are also atypical, and should be investigated promptly. Whether a broken blower bearing or failing relay, your furnace is trying to tell you something: “Fix me.”
Is Your Furnace Pretty or Plain?
You’d be surprised what you can tell from the outside of a furnace, too. Is your heating unit covered in rust or dirt? Signs of moisture or burn marks are also possible indicators of a serious problem. For a gas unit, try opening the burner compartment and look at the flame. A wan, yellow flame could mean it’s starved for oxygen, most likely from a dirty burner.
IMPORTANT: A yellow flame may mean your system is also creating more carbon monoxide than usual. Get it checked out, ASAP.
Above all, stay aware. Heating systems are complicated, and require regular maintenance checks to keep them running smoothly. Your peace of mind is most important. Have a question or concern? Don’t waste a minute worrying. Call Air-Tro instead.
Need your furnace checked out? Keep your system running smoothly with regular maintenance from San Gabriel Valley’s favorite HVAC professionals. (626) 357-3535.