We’re guessing that in the middle of a Chicagoland winter, the last thing you want to worry about is a broken-down heating system all of the sudden. If you don’t know the signs of a heater that needs repair though, you could very well find yourself facing this problem. A furnace breaking down this time of the year could mean an emergency call and costly repairs.
HVAC pros will tell you that it’s important to repair your heating system early, when needed, to avoid sudden system breakdowns and increased repair costs. Additionally, the sooner you repair your system, the lower your monthly bills may be, and the longer your system will last. Check out these signs that you might have a furnace in need of repairs sooner rather than later.
You Hear Strange Noises Coming from the Cabinet or Vents
What makes it hard to detect heating system problems sometimes is that it can be easy to ignore problems that aren’t really “getting in the way.” That is, an odd noise coming from the cabinet or furnace might seem like something you can just ignore for now, since it’s not really impacting how your furnace is performing (yet).
Strange or unfamiliar noises can be the sign of a major problem. For example, a buzzing sound might indicate that something electrical is going on, while a screeching sound could signal a worn-out belt that can break at any moment. A pop or bang could even be indicative of something harmful, possibly damaging the heat exchanger.
You’re Spending Too Much on Heating Costs
It’s no surprise that your heating bills will go up as the weather gets colder. This means your heater is running longer, which makes sense for this time of the year. However, if you find yourself spending far more than you did last year around the same time, then you should suspect a problem. It’s also a good idea, if you can, to compare your costs to your neighbors—you shouldn’t be spending that much more than them for similar use.
You Can’t Get Warm Enough
Does it seem like no matter how high you turn up the thermostat, it’s still not warm enough? This is, of course, a problem. Chances are, this problem has nothing to do with the thermostat itself. Your heating system is running nonstop to try to meet your preferred settings, and this causes parts to wear down quickly, meaning you’ll probably have to replace the system sooner rather than later. If you notice low heating power, be sure to call in the pros right away.
You Notice Brief, Sporadic Cycling from Your Furnace
This is called “short-cycling.” Short-cycling is definitely not something to be ignored. When your furnace does this, it’s not running long enough to complete a full heating cycle. Worse than that, it’s using a great deal of energy each time it has to start up and stop and start again.