Waking up in the arctic circle isn’t most people’s idea of a good time. But if your heating goes out without warning, that could be a reality all too soon.
Okay, we live in the southwest, so maybe that’s a bit extreme. But without a heating system, you can find your house far less comfortable than it should be, and it may even have a negative impact on your heater’s performance as well.
While not every heating problem puts your system in code red, you should still know exactly what to watch out for. The sooner you call the pros (that’s us), the less damage your system takes.
Translation: The less time and money you lose to costly repairs.
So, what exactly do you need to look out for? Here are the top 5 warning signs that your heating system needs some TLC.
Constant Short Cycling
You know those dreaded on-and-off-again relationships? Yeah, that’s exactly what happens with your heating system when it short-cycles. This just means that whenever you turn your heater on, it runs for a bit then turns off, only to kick back up again.
Although your heating may constantly be running, it doesn’t actually make your house feel well-heated. In fact, you might find some areas downright drafty.
Poor Air Flow
Air is supposed to always go with the flow. It’s air. When it doesn’t, there’s likely a blockage or broken part somewhere that needs to be addressed. Poor airflow may result in some vents providing less heat than they used to. Notice any cold spots or areas that take longer to heat.
It Smells Weird
Musty, dusty, moldy, fill-in-the-blank. All of these are bad signs when they come from your heater. Well, they’re bad signs coming from just about anywhere. Even worse, if your heating system smells like actual fire when it’s running, you need a professional to take a look ASAP.
A funky smell, like old laundry or dirty socks, can be caused by a drain pan that needs to be emptied. If there are some wires crossing or faulting, you might smell something burning.
If you ever smell gas, shut off your heat immediately and call for a professional. Make sure your home’s carbon monoxide detectors are all up-to-date as well.
Your Bills Are Rising
You might expect to pay a bit more when you run the heat, but there’s a limit. If your energy consumption hikes up with little to show for it, your system is likely on the fritz.
Why does a heater cost more when it’s breaking? There are a few reasons. It could be a dirty filter causing it to work overtime, or there may be loose parts that throw its cycling out of whack.
Anything that puts added strain on your heating system to perform will raise your costs, even if its output stays the same.
It Doesn’t Heat at All
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it still has to be said. If you turn on the heat but nothing happens, an inspection from a licensed tech should be your next step. There may be something blocking the fan, or the motor may have died.
Pay close attention to the temperature of the air coming from your vents. Make sure that they’re providing ample heat and not just blowing semi-warm air.
When to Call a Professional
It’s always best to call a professional when your heating isn’t up to par. DIY attempts can be dangerous, and letting problems fall to the wayside tends to only cost more in the end.