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9 Signs of a Broken Furnace (and What to Do About It)

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Ah, the trusty, dusty furnace. Although we rely heavily upon this machine’s service, it’s usually tucked away in some dark, unseen place. For many people, it’s not until the furnace dies that they give it much thought. Ignoring your furnace year after year could leave you and your family without heat when it’s needed most. Here we look at the top nine signs of a broken furnace to look for. Taking action when you see these signs ensures you aren’t left in the cold.

9 Signs of a Broken Furnace

You Realize It’s Getting Pretty Old

Some things get better with time. Unlike a fine wine, cheese, or your favorite t-shirt, your furnace won’t age gracefully. Your furnace’s age is among the top ways to predict how much life it still has. You can expect your furnace to perform for 15 to 20 years, on average, before breaking down.

Don’t panic if you aren’t sure how old your furnace is; it will tell you. If the furnace has a pilot light, it’s probably older than 25 years. Modern furnaces have electronic igniters instead of the old pilot light system.

Your furnace also gives clues about its age on stickers and labels. You can check for the last service date, which is often the day they installed the furnace. You can also check the product label. Sometimes the actual manufacturer’s production date is on the sticker; other times, you need to investigate the serial number. If the sticker is missing, you might find the serial number stamped on the fan blades. You must shut the furnace off before viewing the blades.

Usually, the first four digits of a serial number show the creation date. The first two digits indicate the week, and the second two digits show the year. For example, a serial number beginning with 1397 signify they made the machine in the thirteenth week of 1997.

The Filter Keeps Failing

Don’t overlook dust emitting from vents. If it seems like you bought a bad batch of air filters, your furnace may be on its way out. An invasion of dust or soot in your space is not only a cleaning nightmare, but it can also push airborne pollutants. These swirling toxins exacerbate allergies, dry skin, and scratchy throats.

If you’re changing your air filter more regularly than usual without a change in home conditions, your furnace needs professional support. Old heaters aren’t equipped to cater to modern needs and can cause more harm than good. If you, your family, pets, or plants are suffering, take action, and fix your broken furnace.

You Notice a Spike in Your Heating Bill

If your heating bills have been on the rise recently, your furnace is trying to tell you something. Before a furnace slips into oblivion, it hits you where it hurts: the wallet. It’s not trying to rip you off, though. It’s hoping to get your attention by providing evidence in writing.

Furnace efficiency dramatically reduces the older the machine gets. Efficiency issues also arise when a furnace is neglected or isn’t receiving annual maintenance. In these cases, your furnace basically¬†has the flu. It’ll need twice as much effort to provide the same amount of warmth to your home, and this will cost you. You’ll save money, in the long run, to have your furnace repaired or replaced when you first notice these changes.

There’s Inconsistent Flow

Have you noticed some rooms of your home suddenly feel colder than others? Do you find yourself adjusting the thermostat more frequently? In extreme cases, you might see ice accumulating inside your home. Although these temperature mind games can feel like a paranormal experience, most likely, your furnace has lost the ability to distribute warm air evenly.

Sometimes, a repair can bring relief. Other times, a replacement is in order. It may be that your furnace isn’t the right size for your space or that you have a ductwork leak. In any case, only an HVAC professional can diagnose your situation and put you back on even-temperature terrain.

You’ve Been Hearing Odd Noises

Are you startled every time your furnace kicks on like there might be an intruder or, even worse, an explosion? All those bangs, rattles, pops, hisses, clicks, and the constant running of your blower fan are actually how your furnace screams and pleads for help.

Healthy, high-functioning furnaces don’t make weird noises. Although it can sometimes be tempting to let these noises recede into the background, it’s best not to ignore them. Furnace noises, especially when they increase in number or frequency, are warning signs that your heater is on its last leg.

The Flame Is Burning Yellow Instead of Blue

Peek into the panel of your furnace at the light. Your pilot light should glow blue. If it’s yellow or yellowish, call us immediately. This can be a sign that your furnace is leaking dangerous carbon monoxide.

A carbon monoxide leak is a serious concern that you must not overlook. It can cause severe health problems and create a combustion hazard in your home. Sometimes, but not always, you might also notice soot streaks around your furnace, excessive moisture on exterior windows, pooled water at the base of your chimney or flue pipe, or rust on the vent pipe with the presence of carbon monoxide leaks.

You’re All Getting Sick a Lot

People get so used to hearing that winter and feeling ill go hand in hand that they don’t realize that it’s often preventable. If everyone in your home seems to get and stay sick when the heat’s running, a worn-out furnace could be to blame.

Physical symptoms from a failing furnace look much like the flu, a cold, or allergies. It can cause burning eyes or nose, recurring headaches, nausea, fatigue, and lightheadedness. Don’t suffer in silence; contact us today to have a full HVAC inspection.

The Furnace Is Having a Lot of False Starts

Your furnace is a lot like a car. If it’s having a tough time starting, something’s going on under the hood. The issue could be anything from faulty wiring to parts malfunctioning to a furnace’s death rattle. This issue isn’t easily discerned with untrained eyes. Your best bet is to call us and let us diagnose the problem.

You’re Getting a Cool Breeze When You Don’t Want It

Another major warning sign of a broken furnace is feeling the machine blowing cool or cold air. First, check your filter because a dirty filter can cause the furnace to overheat. Make sure the pilot light is ignited. You can also try switching your thermostat to Auto instead of On to see if that helps. If none of these things is the culprit, an inspection is in order.

Fix Your Broken Furnace Before It’s Too Late

Show your furnace a little love and listen to what it has to say. If you notice any of the nine signs of a broken furnace above, take action now before an emergency strikes. We’re here to help. Contact us today at Air Force Heating in Calgary, AB, to schedule an appointment.