Don't Ignore These Red Flags of Furnace Maintenance

Posted By Posted by Tom's Mechanical || 14-Apr-2014

Don’t Ignore These Red Flags of Furnace Maintenance

Posted by Tom's Mechanical

It's been a long winter. And even if you live in a warmer climate, your furnace has probably been working pretty hard. As HVAC systems age and undergo seasonal stress, their behavior can change - new noises present themselves, they run longer or at different intervals, and so on. Not all changes are bad, but some can mean serious trouble.

Pay attention to your system; watch and listen for these telltale signs, and don't hesitate to have them inspected if they are detected.

Loud, Abrupt Noises

Every furnace emits noise during operation. Whizzing, humming, and whirring are all normal noises, and they aren't any cause for concern. However, if you start hearing louder, more abrupt noises, you should start to worry. Any noise that is out of the ordinary should warrant an inspection. For example, thumping, clanking, or another abrupt noise heard at unpredictable intervals should be checked out by a professional as soon as possible.

Pilot Light Color Change

gas_flame Photo by Peter Asquith

If you own a gas powered furnace, your pilot light should maintain a blue color at all times. A blue flame indicates that a pure, steady stream of gas is flowing through the system. When the flame weakens or turns yellow, there could be something wrong with the gas line or the purity of the gas itself. It's best to never take chances when it comes to the pilot light. If you notice a change, schedule an appointment immediately.

Unpredictable Starting and Stopping

There is a whole host of causes for this problem. From thermostat failures to degraded system wiring and electronics, it's practically impossible to diagnose the cause without the help of a certified HVAC technician. Not only will this problem cause the energy efficiency of your system to decline; it will also gradually get worse over time, resulting in unnecessary system wear and irreversible damage.

Thermostat Inaccuracy

thermostat Photo by Kristin Andrus

Do you feel like you're constantly adjusting the thermostat just to stay warm? If so, you're experiencing a major sign that your system needs some care and maintenance. This problem usually manifests itself in older systems, so if your home has a system exceeding 10 years in age, you should be on the lookout for a decline in system efficiency and thermostat accuracy.

Sudden Energy Cost Spike

utility_bill Photo by Brendan Wood

Any time you notice a sudden elevation in your monthly energy costs, your home appliances should be the first place you investigate to find the source of the problem. Your water heater, HVAC system, or washer/dryer could all possibly be to blame, although HVAC units are quite often the culprit.

These four warning signs are just a general list of things to look for when considering the possibility of a system malfunction. As a rule, you should contact your local certified HVAC technician to investigate any time you hear or see something out of the ordinary happening with your system.

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