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Don’t Get Left in the Cold: Prepare for Winter with Furnace Maintenance

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Don't Get Left in the Cold

Prepare for Winter with Furnace Maintenance

With the holidays approaching, furnace maintenance is probably the last thing on your mind as we barrel towards winter. But it should be top of mind as the temperatures drop, because your furnace will keep you and your family warm when the winter’s frigid weather comes. Worried about costly repairs? Then it’s even more important to engage in proper furnace maintenance now.

Read on to find out what signs your gas furnace will give when it’s time for furnace maintenance or repairs.

Signs You Need Furnace Maintenance or Repairs

Gas furnaces are designed to be durable for a lengthy life of 15 to 30 years- as long as they are maintained on a regular schedule. So, the better care you take of your gas furnace, the longer it will take care of you. Of course, over time and with use, the components in your gas furnace wear out. When this happens, the furnace gives signs that a professional needs to be called in. These include the following:

No Heat is Coming From the Furnace

The most obvious sign that something is wrong with your heater is when it stops putting out heat. This can be caused by a variety of issues, from thermostat problems to ductwork leaks.

Before calling in a professional to have them help with the gas furnace maintenance, check the temperature the furnace is set to because another person in the house may have turned it down and forgot to turn it back up. 

Next, check the weather. If temperatures are much lower than usual, then your furnace may be having trouble keeping up. In this case, it may not require service (as it is trying to do its job), but using space heaters or wearing extra layers of clothes to stay warm would be a good idea.

If the issue isn’t one of the above, then it’s time to call in the professionals. They’re trained to examine your furnace, determine the problem and fix it so that you and your family can be comfortable and warm through winter.

The Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off

*If you are in your home and the carbon monoxide detector goes off, call 911 immediately, shut off the heating system, and get everyone out of your house.*

While there is a chance the detector emitted a false alarm, there is a far greater likelihood that deadly, odorless, colorless gas leaking into your home. Gas leaks could be caused by cracks in the heat exchanger on your gas furnace. Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, you can’t rely on your senses to detect it, which is why you need a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

We know you want to keep your family warm when the weather gets cold, but you want to keep them safe and alive as well. So, if there is an issue with the heat exchanger on your furnace, it’s best to leave repairs or replacement to a professional. 

Decreased Air Quality in Your Home

An increased amount of dust in your home or worsening allergies can indicate an issue with your furnace. Because homes are closed up during winter, the furnace is meant to filter out harmful pollutants and particles to keep your home warm AND keep everyone inside healthy.

So, if your home looks increasingly dusty, your furnace may not be filtering air as it should. Unfortunately, your furnace could also be blowing bacteria and other debris through the vents, increasing the likelihood of you and your family getting sick.

sneezing woman

Call in a professional to learn why the air quality in your home has decreased. If it’s because of your furnace, they should be able to fix it so everyone can breathe easier.

You Smell Gas

When you first turn your furnace on during the start of the cold season, it’s completely normal to smell a little gas. However, if you continue to smell this odor as your furnace runs or the scent gets stronger as you approach the appliance, there may be a gas leak. A gas leak equals an increased risk of fire and explosion in your home, so call the gas company as soon as possible to get the leak taken care of.

Gas leaks can occur at any time for a variety of different reasons, but if you call in a professional to do regular heating furnace maintenance, it’s possible to catch this issue before it turns into a major- or deadly- problem. Heating professionals inspect your furnace for cracks and problems with the gas line, then make any necessary repairs before any leaks can start infiltrating your home.

You Hear Strange Noises

Furnaces make some noise while it’s running, but certain sounds signal a need for professional help. These include rattling, popping, banging, or squealing. If you hear banging, this could be a sign that there is a problem with your ignitor. Squealing could indicate an issue with the motor or fan, including belts going bad and getting ready to break. Popping sounds could be coming from the ductwork. This may not mean something is wrong, especially if you have metal ducts. As the material heats and cools, it will expand and contract, and “pop” in the process.

However, if the popping is growing louder- and a whistling sound accompanies the popping- then something serious may be going on. Have a professional inspect your ducts to determine exactly what the issue is and get it fixed. Also, if your furnace is making sounds that you haven’t heard before, call in a professional to uncover the issue.

Issues With Your Pilot Light

The pilot light on your gas furnace could be an indicator that your appliance needs repairs. Your pilot light should appear blue and it always remain on. This lets you know that it’s getting enough oxygen. If the light flickers, keeps going out or is any color other than blue, this could be a sign that something is wrong. This is especially true if the flame appears to be yellow or has some yellow mixed in with the blue.

The pilot light may change colors or flicker because of ventilation issues. If there is a clog in the air intake valve, the furnace won’t receive the oxygen it needs to run optimally. There could also be an issue with how well the system is dissipating carbon dioxide. If the flame is too weak, it won’t be able to burn off this gas like it’s supposed to. When that happens, it could get into your home where it can cause a variety of health problems- and potentially death.

Higher Utility Bills

When your furnace isn’t running as it should, your utility bills often increase. Whether this hike happens unexpectedly or the bill has steadily increased over time, if it can’t be attributed to greater heating demands (i.e. you raising the temperature), there may be something wrong with your furnace.

As furnaces age, they become less efficient, so it must work harder to keep your house warm. This impacts your monthly utility bill. Having a professional do regular heating furnace maintenance could ensure that your appliance runs correctly and gets your bill down to normal levels.

Finding the Right Professionals for Home Furnace Maintenance

Whether you have noticed any of the signs listed above that let you know your furnace needs repairs, or you are looking for scheduled maintenance, we at Phoenix Air ATX have the skills and experience to help with a wide range of furnace issues. Contact us today for all of your furnace needs.

Peace of Mind for $164 a year

Join our Maintenance Plan Program and get all the perks of membership: 15% discount on parts & labor, seasonal tune-ups, priority scheduling and more. 100% satisfaction guaranteed.