Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a little screen or recording that could tell us exactly what’s wrong with our heating systems when they begin to show signs of trouble, with advice on how to fix it? Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Perhaps someday heaters will be self-diagnostic, but repairs are always something that should be handled by a trained pro.
That said, you can’t know to call an HVAC professional unless you know something is wrong with your heater, to begin with, right? So read on as we uncover 5 of the most common signs that something is amiss with your heating system.
1. Your Heater Isn’t Keeping You Warm
This is, of course, one of the more obvious signs that you’re having heater trouble in your home. If it’s lost its ability to keep you warm, there’s clearly something going on. There are a number of potential causes for this, too. It may be that damaged ductwork is leading to uneven heating. Or it could be that there is a problem with the burners or heat exchanger of your furnace. Problems range in severity, so the best thing you can do is call in a pro.
2. Your Utility Bills Are Higher Than Average
Of course, your utility bills are going to rise in the wintertime, when you’re using your heater the most. But are you paying dramatically more than you were this time last year? How about in comparison to what your neighbors are paying? If your utility bills seem to be too high, it’s a sign that something is causing your heating system to work inefficiently, and that something needs to be remedied.
3. The System Is Short-Cycling or Running Too Long
Short-cycling is a term used to describe when an HVAC system is cycling on and off rapidly. It wears down on the system faster, increasing repair needs and decreasing system lifespan. Another problem homeowners sometimes have with their heaters is a system that runs too long. This can happen if the heater in your home is actually too small for the space in which it’s installed.
4. You Hear Loud or Unusual Noises from the System
Are you noticing your heater making odd noises? Common furnace noises that indicate trouble include screeching, banging, rattling, or grating. Depending on what the noise is, you might have a problem ranging from a loose part to a malfunctioning blower. You need the expert eye of a professional to determine why the problem is happening and how to fix it.
5. Old Age
Is your heater older than 15 years? This isn’t necessarily a “problem” all by itself, but if any of the above-mentioned symptoms are happening, and your system is at the end of its lifespan anyway, it may be time for you to consider an upgrade.