You don't have to wait for your heating system to stop working for you to call for repairs. A forced-air system will give subtle signs of impending failure before ceasing operations. Sometimes, the faults don't affect the operation of the heater. Instead, they lead to increased energy consumption and premature wear of components. Thus, look out for the following signs that signal your heater may require repairs.
Dust in Your Home
One telltale sign of trouble is dusty indoor air, especially when the heater is on. Forced-air systems use ductwork to distribute heated air to the various rooms in the home. If the air flowing into your home is dusty, you need to check your ductwork. The following are the potential problems:
- Duct leaks (this allows dust and contaminants into the heating system)
- Dirty ductwork
- Dirty air vents
A professional inspection of your ductwork can reveal leaks and dust in the system. Repair leaking ducts to improve air quality and reduce energy loss. Also, clean your ducts and vents regularly to keep off dust and other allergens.
Shorter Heating Cycles
For your furnace to maintain constant temperatures in your house, it operates in cycles. Once it hits the set temperature, it stops running. The next cycle starts immediately after the temperatures drop below the thermostat setting. The average time for one cycle is around 15 minutes, and furnaces may run three or four times an hour to keep the house warm. If your furnace cycles over five times in an hour, there could be a problem with the system.
You may notice a popping sound every time your furnace begins a new heating cycle. Thus, if you hear this sound more than a few times in an hour, it means your furnace is short-cycling. This problem could be due to overheating, blocked heat grates and vents, or a bad flame sensor. The only way to tell the exact issue is to contact a heating contractor for a diagnosis.
Furnace Running Continuously
Long heating cycles are just as bad as shorter ones. Your furnace should stop running when the rooms achieve the desired temperature. Continuous running means the furnace isn't heating the home to the set temperatures. This could point to a reduced heating capacity.
Sometimes, it's caused by a faulty thermostat, whereby the thermostat fails to record the correct temperatures and signal the furnace to turn off. The problem could also occur due to air leaks in the ductwork. If your furnace is running nonstop, it could overheat or suffer premature wear.
These subtle problems can go unnoticed for a long time and cost you a lot of money in heating repairs. Contact an HVAC contractor for more information about heating repair.