What if someone asked you, “what’s the last thing you need right now?”
You probably wouldn’t have a fast answer off the top of your heat, but what if one of the options was “a broken down heater”?
We’re guessing this got your attention! The fact of the matter is, if there is any time of year that a furnace is going to break down, it’s right around this time of the year, when your heating system has already been through a lot of work and is struggling to do more. Fortunately, if you had fall maintenance done before this season began, you likely have little to worry about.
What if you skipped maintenance, though? Or what if you have an aging furnace and you’re not even sure of its status? Well then keep reading for some common problems we get calls for mid-season, and if you notice your furnace exhibiting any of these symptoms, please give us a call!
Lukewarm or Cool Air from Your Room Vents
There are a number of symptoms you can encounter with your heating system that are generally subtle. However, cold air coming out of your vents when the heater is running is a pretty clear signal that something is amiss.
First, check your thermostat. Is it set to the right temperature? Is the screen showing any signs of malfunction?
In the absence of a thermostat malfunction, you might be dealing with a problem like a fuel combustion issue, leaky ductwork, or maybe even reduced airflow that you’re mistaking for cooler air.
A Sharp Increase in Your Energy Bills
Perhaps your energy bills aren’t something you keep a super close eye on. We think you really should, though. Your heater and air conditioning systems consume up to half of all energy use in a home, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore sudden increases.
Compare your energy bills to those of last year, and even to what your neighbors are paying for comparable use. If you’re paying drastically more, it’s a good sign that your heater is not performing as efficiently as it once did, and something is wrong.
You or a Member of Your Household Detect a Burning Odor
A burning smell should never be ignored. This can point to a number of potential problems, such as an electrical issue, an overheating furnace system, or a very dirty heating system.
On that last point, it is natural to smell a faint burning odor at the beginning of the season when you turn your heater on for the first time. This is due to dust burning off the heating elements and the smell making its way through your vents.
But it’s long past the beginning of the season, and the smell won’t come back with consistent use of the heater—not for this reason, anyway. If you do detect a burning smell, please turn your furnace off and give the experts a call right away.