Wondering when and if your furnace will break down often feels like playing a game of roulette. Thankfully, you don’t have to guess when your Stedman, NC furnace will break down. Stay alert for these seven signs, and you can get ahead of an impending breakdown.
1. Short Cycling
When your furnace is operating normally, it will run heating cycles that last 10 to 15 minutes. It’ll run two or three cycles per hour.
Short cycling occurs when the furnace turns off before your home reaches your set temperature. This generally happens either when the furnace overheats or thinks that it’s overheating.
Short cycling itself indicates a problem, and it also adds tremendous strain to your system. Let the unit continue short cycling, and it’ll further damage internal components, leading to more expensive repairs.
2. Yellow Burner Flame
A normally running furnace will produce a blue flame from the burner. There is typically a window on the outside of the burn chamber that’ll allow you to see the flame inside. If you notice a yellow flame when you look in, there’s something wrong that needs attention.
A yellow flame indicates the fuel isn’t burning fully, which means it’s not producing the proper amount of heat. It also signals that your furnace isn’t venting the carbon monoxide that it’s creating.
The problem is often simple, like a dirty burner. However, you could also have problems like a maladjusted burner or an airflow issue. Your HVAC technician will check the health of your furnace flame during a furnace maintenance visit.
3. Excess Winter Moisture
Have you noticed that your windows are condensing moisture like a cold beverage? That means your indoor humidity is too high, which can indicate an airflow problem. Airflow issues can point to numerous internal problems, including a circulating fan that’s about to fail.
4. Increased Utility Bills
Keeping an eye on your utility bills gives you insight when there’s an unexplained jump in energy consumption. The best way to check this is by comparing each month to the same month in the prior year. While there’s year-to-year variation, watch to see if the additional consumption is more pronounced than the temperature difference.
Unexplained increases may indicate that your furnace is consuming more power while running. It may also indicate longer heating cycles. Both of these have root problems that will eventually lead to a breakdown.
5. Water Around Your Furnace
The area around your furnace should remain dry while your unit is running. Water coming out can indicate problems like a clogged condensate drain, which a technician will clear during maintenance.
However, it can also indicate a much greater problem, like a cracked heat exchanger. This problem can allow exhaust to leak into your home with moisture that’ll condense when it hits the cooler air. More importantly, a cracked exchanger leaks carbon monoxide into your home, a serious health danger.
6. Temperature That Never Seems Quite Right
It may feel like your home never quite reaches a comfortable temperature. This can indicate a mechanical problem preventing it from producing the proper amount of heat. It may also indicate an airflow problem preventing the heat from circulating throughout your home.
In either case, this indicates a problem that will certainly lead to larger issues if not resolved. If left unaddressed long enough, the underlying problem may cause a catastrophic failure, necessitating a full furnace replacement.
7. Loud Noises
A furnace shouldn’t produce much noise, aside from the whir of the circulating fan and a whoosh when starting up. Rattling, banging, clanging, screeching and booming sounds all indicate problems in the system. If they continue long enough, some underlying problems can pose a serious safety risk to your home.
All these signs are like an early warning system, letting you know that something is going to happen. It’s not a matter of if but rather when, so don’t wait for a breakdown. Call to schedule your furnace repair with our expert technicians at Cape Fear Air Conditioning, Heating, & Electrical Company, Inc.
Image provided by iStock