Have you noticed your furnace is acting strange or is unable to keep up with your home’s heating demands? If so, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Catching small issues before they have a chance to become bigger is the best way to prevent a major repair. Here are some common signs that your furnace may be starting to fail:
Your Furnace is Short Cycling
When your furnace is cycling on and off, it’s called short cycling. This can be really frustrating – especially in winter – but even worse, it can cause higher energy bills and lead to expensive repairs if left unaddressed. If your furnace has been short cycling, it’s a sign that there’s something within the system that is interrupting the heating cycle. This can be caused by a variety of things. You may have low airflow caused by dirty air filters, a dirty blower wheel, or block vents. It could be caused by a faulty thermostat, a dying blower motor, or even a corroded or dirty flame sensor.
The Burner Flame is Yellow
If you have a natural gas furnace, check the color of the flame the next time it starts up. Normally, the flame should be blue. If you see a yellow flame, this could be a sign that you have a dirty burner. A dirty burner is a problem because it means the natural gas and the surrounding air isn’t mixing correctly. Not only does this keep your furnace from running efficiently, but it also means that the carbon monoxide may not be vented properly. Carbon monoxide can leak into your home and be a serious health hazard, so if you notice an irregular flame color, you should have it looked at as soon as possible.
Your Flue is Rusted
A rusted flue is another sign that the carbon monoxide isn’t vented properly. Leaks from the roof or plumbing can cause your flue lines to rust and corrode, leaving holes or areas for carbon monoxide to leak into your home. Gas furnaces produce a dangerous level of carbon monoxide, so it’s critical to ensure that the gas can be properly vented outdoors. Flue maintenance is also important for helping your furnace burn more efficiently, which will help it last longer.
Moisture is Accumulating in Your Home
Moisture on the ceilings, walls, or windows can be a sign that you don’t have enough airflow in your home. This could indicate that you have a problem with your vents or even the furnace itself.
Your Utility Bills are Spiking
Have you noticed a spike in your utility bills as soon as you begin using your furnace? This is often a sign that it’s not running as efficiently as it should be. You could be dealing with one of the issues mentioned above, or it could be due to having an older, inefficient furnace. Depending on the age of your furnace, it may be more cost-effective and energy efficient to install a new furnace.
You See Water Around Your Furnace
Water is a natural byproduct of a gas furnace or air conditioner, but water should not be pooling around it. If you discover a puddle near your furnace, the first thing to check is where it’s coming from. If you only see a leak when you’re running your air conditioner, you most likely have a leak or clog in your water condensate line. If the water is coming from the heater itself, or you notice it during the heating cycle, there may be a more serious problem.
There Are Signs of Animal Activity
Rodents like mice and rats can do a lot of damage to your heating system. If you notice nesting material or droppings near your furnace, you should check for signs of chewed wires or clogged vents. Likewise, vent hoods on your roof should be examined for animal activity.
Your Furnace is Old
In general, most furnaces can last for about 20 years. If your furnace is approaching that age or older, it may be time to install a new unit. A new furnace will be far more energy-efficient, and it’s better to replace it proactively rather than needing an emergency replacement in the middle of winter.
You’re Constantly Adjusting Your Thermostat
If you find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat to stay comfortable, your thermostat could be starting to fail. It’s also possible that your furnace needs servicing to help it keep up with your home’s heating demands.
Your Furnace Needs Constant Service Calls
All furnaces will need to be serviced at some point, but recurring problems can signal your furnace is starting to fail. If you have multiple issues in two years or less, it’s worth investigating – or, if it’s older, investing in a new furnace.
There Are Cold Areas Around Your Home
Uneven heat around your home is often a big indicator that your furnace isn’t working as it should. Your furnace may not be heating up enough to keep your whole house warm, or it’s not able to maintain the push and pull of the vent system to circulate warm air. You may have an inadequate ducting system or incorrectly sized ducting and pipes. Poor insulation can also be to blame, especially in older homes.
Your Furnace Makes Excessive Noise (or is Noticeably Silent)
Most furnaces make noise while they’re operating. If you notice an increase in noise, it could be a sign that some of your components have come loose and are shaking around. If you notice that your furnace seems to be having long periods of silence, this could indicate that it’s not functioning as it should.
You Feel Unwell
As you’ve seen, there can be a few issues that can cause the carbon monoxide to be improperly vented, allowing it to leak into your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas that can be deadly. It causes a range of physical symptoms like an overall feeling of unease, hallucinations, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and flu-like symptoms. To prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, it’s recommended that you keep up with your furnace maintenance and install a carbon monoxide detector.
My Furnace Has One of These Issues! Now What?
If you’ve noticed one of these issues or it’s been a while since your furnace was serviced, give your friendly Home Service Heroes at PECO a call! Our knowledgeable technicians will make sure your heating system is running safely and smoothly. We also offer planned maintenance to help you extend the life of your HVAC system and keep it in perfect working order. Contact us today at (864) 639-2424 or schedule your appointment online.