In many households, the furnace is the only or at least the primary heating unit. Like most people, you rely on your home's furnace to keep your family comfortable regardless of how low temperatures drop or how the wind howls during the winter months.


A failing furnace could cause inconvenience, discomfort, and even property damage or unsafe living conditions. Because furnace failure comes with such significant risks, it's important that you as a homeowner understand how to identify the signs that your furnace needs repairs.


Prompt and professional furnace repairs can prevent more serious issues later in the season. In this blog, we list seven common warning signs that your furnace needs assessment and likely repairs from an HVAC technician.


1. Changes in Settings

When your furnace system is healthy, you can expect it to perform fairly consistently. You shouldn't need to dramatically alter your thermostat settings except to adjust them to the personal preferences of specific family members during the winter season.

If you find yourself constantly cranking up the heat to keep your home warm, the issue isn't your setting choices but the efficiency of your furnace. Have a professional diagnose the cause of your unit's inefficiency.


2. Frequent Starts and Stops

The time between your heating unit turning on and off automatically is referred to as a cycle. When your furnace is in good condition, the cycle lasts just long enough to change the temperature of your home.


A damaged furnace may cycle frequently or even seemingly continuously. If your furnace starts and stops constantly or never seems to stop at all, your HVAC technician will check the ignition system and wiring integrity.


3. High Heating Bills

Electric bills can soar when the temperature outside changes significantly. However, as long as your heating settings stay fairly consistent, the amount of power used to heat your home should also be predictable. If you notice a sudden increase in your energy bills during the winter months, your furnace may be to blame.


If you think your bills have risen, but don't see the change reflected in your month-to-month billing, compare your heating costs for the last several years. If your rates have not changed, but the energy drain caused by heating your home has increased, your furnace likely needs repairs.


4. Leaks

Leaking fluids or gases are some of the most obvious signs that any appliance needs repairs and your furnace is no different. Throughout the winter, perform regular visual inspections of your furnace unit. Look for anything out of the ordinary, especially any condensation or standing water around the furnace.


In addition to visible leaks, you should also pay attention to the warning signs of potential gas leaks. If you smell rotten eggs or hear hissing near your furnace or through your vents when the furnace turns on, leave the area immediately and contact your gas company as well as an experienced HVAC technician


5. Low Air Flow

Your furnace forces heated air to travel throughout your home. In order to keep rooms at the desired temperature, this air must come through the system with both adequate heat and adequate force. We'll discuss lack of heat in the next section.


If you notice that you don't feel any airflow or only feel a small amount of airflow when your furnace runs, schedule a repair visit. Generally, less airflow means the system has become obstructed or that the components controlling airflow, like fans and motors, have become damaged.


6. No Heat

Like airflow problems, a lack of heat can also leave your home feeling drafty when it's cold outside. If drafts seem to be coming directly from your vents rather than from around a door or window, take immediate action.


Turn off the system and call an emergency HVAC professional so that you aren't left with a furnace that runs like an air conditioner overnight in winter temperatures. This issue typically occurs due to pilot light or thermocouple problems, which may require significant repairs to return your furnace to its usual performance.


7. Rattling or Whining Sounds

You know the sound of your furnace running so well that it's likely to become background noise to your everyday life. If you notice a sudden change in your furnace noises, schedule repairs. Rattling or banging noises can occur when a belt or motor cracks or breaks entirely, while whining and screeching noises can come from a faulty ignition system.


If you notice any combination of the warning signs listed above, contact a reputable HVAC expert as soon as possible. An HVAC professional can help you identify and complete any needed repairs to ensure that your home comfort system truly does keep your home comfortable all winter long.


For comprehensive heating services from experienced technicians, trust the experienced team at C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning.