While it would be nice if your furnace didn’t need any repairs to get through the rest of the winter, you should always be aware of the signs that repair is needed. Getting repairs promptly can prevent a small problem from turning into a much bigger problem or even a heating system that has stopped working entirely.
What signs of furnace problems should you be on the lookout for? You might need repairs if any of these things happen.
The nature of a furnace is that it doesn’t maintain a fixed temperature, it cycles on and off, keeping your home’s temperature in a wave pattern, dropping just below and then rising just above the target temperature. The cycle of reaching the top temperature and then turning off while the temperature slowly drops should last fifteen or even twenty minutes. If you hear your furnace starting up much more frequently than that, it’s called short cycling. This can be caused by an overheating element, a lack of airflow, or a variety of other problems, most of which are fairly minor. But the short cycling itself can cause many other problems, some of them quite severe. Having repairs done sooner will help you avoid system strain that damages other components or even shortens the lifetime of your furnace.
Your furnace should hum and whoosh. It should never bang, boom, clatter, rattle, click, screech, rumble, or groan. Any surprising or out-of-character noises should be checked out by an expert in furnace repair in Bridgeport, CT. A groan could indicate worn motor bearings, and leaving that unrepaired could damage the whole motor. A screech could be a belt tearing or coming loose, and if you let your furnace keep running with that problem, the belt could whip off its moorings and break other components. A click could even indicate a cracked heat exchanger, which could be leaking carbon monoxide into your home. It’s always safest to have repairs done as soon as you notice a worrisome noise.
There is only one time when you shouldn’t worry about a smell coming from your heating system. At the start of fall, when you turn it on for the first time, there may be a “hot” smell like burning dust. This should be brief, and if you give it an hour and open a window, the smell should go away. If you notice a burning smell at any other time of year, and particularly if you notice a sulfur smell like rotten eggs, you should turn off your furnace and get professional help immediately. Don’t risk a fire or a gas leak by continuing to operate a heating system that is making strange smells.
In general, the best choice is to reach out to a qualified heating technician any time you notice that your furnace is behaving differently. We’d always be happy to hear from you.