Much of Utah is known for its cold, snowy winters. As a result, you need a properly functioning furnace to keep your home warm and comfortable. The best way to prevent heating problems is to schedule furnace maintenance once a year. However, if the season is already well underway, you may now wonder if you need furnace repair. Watch out for these 10 signs of a failing furnace and call an HVAC technician for help diagnosing and repairing the problem if needed.
Constantly Running Furnace
Does your furnace run for hours straight without reaching the target temperature? There could be a problem with the thermostat. Something might also be preventing the furnace from producing heat, such as a closed fuel line. In some cases, a simple thermostat recalibration or furnace adjustment is all you need to prevent your furnace from running longer than necessary.
A furnace that turns on and off too frequently is also problematic. This is called short-cycling, and it’s caused by something preventing the system from finishing a complete heating cycle. The specific problem could be anything from a dying fan motor to a dirty heat sensor to a clogged filter. If changing the filter doesn’t fix the issue, call a repair technician to come take a look.
No Power or Heat
If you turn up the temperature, but the furnace doesn’t come on, first make sure the thermostat is set to “heat” mode. Then, check the circuit breaker box for any tripped breakers. Reset any you find. Turn up the temperature again and see if you have resolved the problem. If not, it’s time to call a professional HVAC repair company.
When you turn on your furnace for the first time that season, you might detect a dusty odor. This is normal. However, if the smell continues through the winter, it means you need to replace the filter. Do so to improve your indoor air quality.
If new odors develop, don’t ignore them. A rotten egg smell is a warning sign that your furnace is leaking natural gas. A musty odor means you might have mold growing somewhere in the system. The smell of a hot curling iron or burning metal could mean an electrical part is broken or malfunctioning. Turn off the furnace and schedule HVAC repair without delay if you notice any of these odors.
Most furnaces aren’t exactly whisper-quiet, but after years of operation, you should know what yours sounds like by now. Be wary of any new noises that could signal an underlying problem.
For instance, scraping might mean there’s something wrong with the blower wheel. A loud boom upon startup means the burners need to be cleaned. A squealing furnace noise often indicates poorly lubricated parts, which can increase wear and tear. Screeching could be a warning sign that the fan belt is on its last leg. And rattling might signal a failing blower motor. Turn off your furnace if you hear any disconcerting noises and hire a technician to come check it out.
Yellow Burner Flame
A properly functioning furnace should have a steady blue burner flame. If yours is yellow and wavering, this means two things. First, your furnace isn’t heating to its full potential, costing you more to operate. Second, carbon monoxide isn’t venting properly and could be contaminating your indoor air. CO gas is extremely harmful, even at low levels, so never ignore this sign that your heating system is failing.
Humidity Control Problems
Do you notice moisture buildup on the windows, walls, or ceilings? This could point to insufficient airflow through the room, leading to stagnant, humid air. The vents or the furnace itself could be to blame.
The opposite problem can also occur, with overly dry air caused by your furnace running too long. Low humidity is a common concern in Utah’s desert climate, even if your furnace runs flawlessly. Fortunately, the easy fix is to install a whole-house humidifier.
Rising Gas Bills
High energy prices and low outdoor temperatures can certainly cause your gas bills to rise, but they might not be the only factors at play. After all, if your furnace works harder than usual for any reason, it will consume more fuel.
First, try changing the furnace filter to improve airflow and combat rising costs. Next, make sure all windows and doors are tightly closed, and take advantage of sunny days to heat your home naturally. Then, wear an extra layer of clothing and turn the thermostat down a degree or two. If these troubleshooting tips don’t help lower your gas bills, you may need a furnace repair.
Do you find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat to combat fluctuating temperatures? Are some rooms notoriously difficult to keep warm? Poor temperature control could be caused by a faulty thermostat, lack of insulation, or poorly engineered heating system. Call a furnace repair technician for help getting to the bottom of it.
Every furnace needs a little attention over the years, but you shouldn’t have to schedule multiple repair visits in a single season. Recurring breakdowns are a potential sign of a much bigger underlying problem. So if your heater is over a decade old and is now becoming unreliable, it might be time to replace your furnace.
If you determine you need a furnace repair or replacement, turn to Triple T Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We have nearly 50 years of HVAC experience, making us more than qualified to diagnose your furnace problems accurately and perform a fast, reliable repair. For answers to any questions you have, please call us at 801-798-7711 if you live in Utah County or 435-275-4011 if you’re a Washington County resident. You can also schedule heating services online.