Before a furnace goes out, it first exhibits some signs that can tell you when it's living on borrowed time. For instance, you may notice that you often have to repair it – more often than usual.
Sometimes, specialized repairs are enough to get your unit back up and running. But other times require you to invest in a new unit to save on time and money.
Watch out for the following signs to know if your furnace needs your attention.
Flame Color Changes
First, check how the flame ignites when you turn on your gas furnace. A healthy furnace should produce a vibrant blue flame. A weak or flickering flame often indicates incomplete gas combustion. If, however, the flame turns yellow, that is a sure-fire sign of carbon monoxide production by your furnace.
Dirty burners are often the culprit for this issue, and the color change shows that the gas isn't burning efficiently. A clear indicator of carbon monoxide production is soot streaks around your furnace. Other signs can be:
- Excess moisture on walls or windows and cold surfaces
- Pooling water at the chimney's base
- No upward draft in your chimney
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas, and prolonged exposure can be detrimental to your health. If you notice CO exposure signs, vacate your house, then contact your furnace repair technician to check on potential underlying problems. Remember that you may need to purchase a new furnace if the damage is beyond repair.
Generally, most furnaces make a little noise as they run. But certain noises spell doom for your furnace, especially in older models. Most of these noises (when detected early) can be fixed, especially in much newer furnaces. Annual furnace maintenance also goes a long way to ensure a quiet furnace operation.
A loud bang or pop after you power up your furnace indicates ignition troubles. Too much dirt on the burners delays ignition, which results in a gas build-up. When the gas finally ignites, you'll hear a loud bang. A banging noise can damage your heat exchanger, so have your furnace fixed before bigger troubles ensue.
If you notice a squealing noise, that's a sign that some components need repair or replacement. A common culprit for squealing noises is a defective blower motor. Your furnace technician can either fix or replace the blower motor to get rid of this noise.
If a loose blower belt is the cause, the repair technician can tighten the belt. But if the blower belt is worn-out, they may have to replace it. The noises may also go away if your repair technician lubricates the shaft bearings.
Does your furnace show the above signs? If your unit is relatively young, repairs will do. But if your furnace is old, you are better off with a new unit. A qualified heater repair expert can advise on the best course of action if your furnace starts to malfunction.