No homeowner should ever have to sit around wondering if their heater is going to break down at any moment. If you’ve had your heater regularly maintained each year, you won’t need to worry about this. However, it’s still important to know the signs of a heater in disrepair in case something crops up between maintenance sessions.
Oh wait, you don’t know the signs? That’s all right, that’s what we’re here for.
First off, again, we want to stress the importance of maintenance in preventing repair needs. In fact, timely annual maintenance can help you fend off about 85% of the repair needs your heater may ever need in its 10-15 year lifespan. This is even more vital for gas-powered heating systems. These units aren’t inherently dangerous but have unique problems that can come up if not properly cared for.
Without further ado, we share with you below some of the signs you can watch out for that indicate your heater is in disrepair.
Loud and/or Unfamiliar Sounds from the System
Sometimes, it can be difficult to figure out if your heating system has a problem, if that problem isn’t actively getting in the way of your comfort. A strange noise from the cabinet of your heat pump or furnace could be something you initially brush off. It’s not affecting how hot the air is coming through your vents, so why bother worrying about it?
Well, because it might be indicating something that could grow into a much bigger problem. For example, a buzzing noise can indicate something amiss with the electrical connections, which can lead to a potential fire hazard. A screeching sound can signal a worn-out fan belt that could break at any moment. Banging or popping could indicate a dangerous problem with the heating system burners.
Higher Than Average Utility Bills
Look, we understand—just about any homeowner is going to say they’re paying too much for their energy use. It is, after all, a subjective concept. But what we want you to consider is how your heating bills look compared to this same time last year.
If you’ve experienced similar furnace use as this same time last year but your heating bills rose anyway, then something is working inefficiently and it needs to be checked out by a pro.
Short-cycling describes the process where your system turns on and off rapidly, without ever completing a full heating cycle. This is a problem that can affect your cooling system/cooling cycle too. It’s very hard on the HVAC system and leads to inefficient use. It wears your system down faster, and can lead to exacerbated wear and tear, meaning you’ll need repairs sooner than you may have thought you would.
Lack of Warm Air
Does it seem like you can’t get your thermostat to agree with the temperature in the room? Something such as damaged ductwork or even a dirty heater can prevent the heating system from ever reaching the desired temperature on your thermostat.
If you have a heat pump instead of a furnace, it could even be a refrigerant leak leading to this problem.