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What’s Wrong With Your Furnace?

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Closeup of a dirty furnace filter

At this point, Lee’s air has been around for over 40 years. And throughout our history, we’ve consistently heard one question almost every time we answer the phone.

“What’s wrong with my unit?”

It’s a fair question. Homeowners want to know what the issue is, if they can fix it themselves, and how much it will cost for one of our technicians to come take a look at it. Unfortunately, the answer to the question is almost always the same.

“We don’t know yet.”

It’s virtually impossible to diagnose problems with your heater over the phone. We need to send a technician over to take a look and find the underlying cause of the problem. However, you might be able to narrow down the scope of the issue before you even call us.

I’ve put together this handy list of common furnace issues and their potential causes. So, while you still won’t know exactly what’s wrong with your furnace, you might have a better idea of what’s happening before you call us to take a look.

If Your Furnace is Making Strange Noises

Grinding, banging, and whining noises coming from a furnace are not uncommon. Still, you should never ignore any of these sounds when you hear them.

These noises usually indicate an issue with parts. Most parts are relatively simple to replace. The key is to turn your furnace off as soon as you hear the noises if possible. Letting your furnace continue to run could cause more widespread damage, which will be more expensive and complicated to repair.

It Could Be…

  • Small ductwork
  • Weak ducts
  • Loose or broken blower wheel
  • Broken motor mount
  • Loose or damaged belt
  • Broken blower motor
  • Seizing bearings

If Your Furnace Smells Bad

Your furnace can emit all sorts of odors. Rotten eggs, ozone, burning oil, or general mustiness can all indicate your furnace is in need of some serious attention.

Depending on the smell, an odor can indicate a wide range of issues. But all of these odors should be taken seriously, as they could mean your home is a fire risk. The most important thing is to have a technician evaluate your unit as soon as possible to narrow down the potential source and implement the appropriate solution.

It Could Be…

  • Seized blower motor
  • Objects too close to the pilot light
  • Bacteria build-up in the coil
  • Oil spillage or leakage
  • Dirty air filter
  • Dusty air ducts

If Your Energy Bill Is Unusually High

It’s not unusual for your energy bill to creep up a little bit every year. Inflation changes the cost of virtually all products and services over time. However, if your bill suddenly spikes, there is a good chance that your furnace needs some attention. 

When a furnace is broken or not properly maintained, it may have to work harder than normal to heat your home. This decrease in energy efficiency means an increase in your energy bill.

It Could Be…

  • Leaky ducts
  • Dirty air filter
  • Broken or damaged components
  • Friction between parts
  • Damaged or worn belts

If Your Home Won’t Warm Up

It’s definitely jarring to wake up to a freezing cold space, especially in the middle of winter. But it doesn’t necessarily mean your furnace is dead. It may be producing some heat, just not enough to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Either way, it’s important to have a technician look at your unit right away.

It Could Be…

  • Dirty air filter
  • Blocked ducts
  • Low pilot light
  • Equipment failure
  • Cracked heat exchanger

Always Rely on Professionals

Regardless of your heater’s symptoms, we never recommend trying to fix it yourself. The wrong fix could end in higher energy bills, housefires, and even serious injuries.

It’s always better to contact professional heating technicians to diagnose your furnace issues and identify the best solution.

Written by Tom Howard

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