If you’re a homeowner it’s vital that you understand signs of potential needed heater repair, so you can schedule needed fixes and maintenance long before cold weather arrives! An overly cold home is more than just uncomfortable; an overly cold interior environment might cause sleep difficulties, increase the risk of an arthritis or asthma flare-up, and otherwise interfere with your health.
Six common signs your home needs furnace repair include:
Strange sounds coming from the home’s ductwork or furnace as it cycles on
Uneven heating throughout the home
A furnace that cycles on and off too quickly or not often enough
A sudden spike in utility bills
A cold interior even after the furnace cycles on
Odd smells from the home’s vents
While you might be tempted to put off needed heater repair as long as possible, keep in mind that a furnace or HVAC system in disrepair might be drawing more power than average, as worn parts struggle to work. In turn, you might be paying more for increased utility costs every season that your expected heater repair costs!
To keep your home’s heating system in good repair and avoid otherwise unnecessary furnace repair costs, you might note some added details about signs that it’s time for an HVAC inspection. You can then discuss your options with an HVAC company near you and make the best choice for maintenance, repairs, or new furnace installation for your home!
Signs You’ll Need Heater Repair This Winter
If you notice any of these issues with your home’s HVAC system, call a furnace repair contractor for an inspection. He or she will ensure your home’s heating and cooling systems are in good condition and ready to cycle on whenever you need them!
Banging sounds from behind a home’s walls or above its ceilings often indicate damaged ductwork or loose duct connectors. Damaged ductwork allows heated air to leak out as the furnace cycles on, increasing your energy costs and putting added stress on your HVAC system.
Loud thumping, banging, grinding, and squealing from a home’s heating system also indicate needed repairs. Loose parts might bang around the home’s furnace while worn bearings often squeal as they operate. Don’t overlook these noises and assume they’re normal for an older furnace but call for needed heater repair as soon as you notice any such sounds coming from the home’s HVAC system.
A home’s furnace should push air through its ducts and vents evenly so that all rooms feel as if they’re about the same temperature. Uneven heating might indicate a worn motor or blower, damaged ductwork, or even an undersized HVAC system. Rather than simply turning up the thermostat or trying to live with uneven heating, call an HVAC contractor for potential furnace repairs or even a new furnace installation altogether.
A home’s furnace should cycle on and off enough to reach your desired temperature as set on the thermostat, rather than cycling off before a room is warm or staying on after it reaches your desired temperature. A furnace that cycles on and off too often or not often enough, or that switches off before your desired interior temperatures are reached, might need new wiring or other such repairs.
When a heater or air conditioner struggles to work, it often uses more electricity than usual. When the HVAC system cannot read temperatures properly or cycles on more often than it should, this also means more energy usage! If you notice a sudden spike in your energy costs not due to a rate increase or other reasons, it’s time for an HVAC inspection and potential maintenance and repairs.
When a gas furnace cycles on but doesn’t heat your home, you might check the pilot light and note if it’s gone out. For electric furnaces, and if the gas pilot light is lit, a chilly interior means it’s time for heater repair! The furnace motor or blower might be struggling to work or the system might need a new heating element and other such parts.
As with noises, odd smells might indicate a heating system struggling to work. Parts rubbing against each other or old and worn parts might create a burning odor or other bothersome smells, so never assume this is normal even for older furnaces! Call an HVAC company near you when you notice odd, unusual, or unpleasant smells coming from the home’s furnace.
Should You Pay for Heater Repair or Invest in a New Furnace?
If you do need furnace repair, when is it a better option to simply invest in a new heater altogether? While every home and furnace is different and only you can decide what best fits your budget and heating needs, note a few considerations to discuss with your furnace repair technician.
Is it time to invest in a new, larger furnace or heating system for your home? Even the highest-quality, most dependable furnace cannot force air through an entire house if it’s undersized or underpowered for the space. Choosing a larger unit can mean a more comfortable interior every winter.
An older furnace might not be very energy-efficient, even with needed repairs. An energy-efficient appliance doesn’t necessarily use less power but devotes more power it uses to its intended function, such as distributing warm air through your home. You can then enjoy a warmer environment without paying more for utilities, or lower those utility costs overall.
If a furnace is nearing the end of its expected lifespan, you might face continuous repair bills over the next few years until it fails altogether. Rather than paying those expenses again and again, consider investing in a new furnace altogether.
An updated furnace with a stronger air filtration system can mean improved air quality in the home with less dust, pollen, and other allergens and irritants.
How to Avoid Otherwise Unnecessary Residential Heater Repair
Even the most durable and dependable furnace will need repair eventually; however, the way a homeowner manages their home’s heating and cooling system can affect its overall lifespan. To avoid otherwise unnecessary furnace repair in your home, first ensure you change the filter regularly. That filter traps dust and other debris, keeping the home’s air cleaner while also reducing wear and tear on the heating system.
Regular furnace maintenance also keeps it functioning properly throughout the year. Maintenance services typically include thorough cleaning, removing dust, dirt, cobwebs, and other debris, so parts can move freely and without added wear and tear. Bearings get needed oiling while worn belts and other minor parts are replaced as needed. Your small furnace maintenance costs are an excellent investment in your home’s overall comfort levels as well as the lifespan of that appliance.
Note, too, that cycling a furnace on and off excessively wears down its parts and leads to early breakdown. If you feel your home is still cold and drafty even after the furnace has cycled on, you might consider updated insulation, weather-stripping, thick drapes and area rugs, and other means of creating a warm interior environment. Your furnace will then cycle on less often and suffer less wear and tear throughout the year.
Tips for Improving Air Quality Throughout the Home
A dirty, neglected furnace often carries lots of dust and dirt through the home along with the warm air it produces, so heater maintenance and cleaning along with a new filter is an excellent way to improve indoor air quality. Ensuring your home’s roof vents are unobstructed and in good condition also allows for improved air circulation and freshness, venting airborne pollutants and other such irritants.
Homeowners also do well to avoid anything that adds pollution and irritants to the air, such as using candles or incense, heavy perfumes, cleaning agents with pungent deodorants, and paints and solvents indoors. If you must use any of these products, ensure you open a window, even during wintertime. You might also put a small fan in the windowsill to vent poor-quality air outside the home.
A whole house air filtration system is also an excellent way to improve indoor air quality. Air filters trap and lock dust, dirt, pollen, cigarette smoke and ash, and other airborne pollutants so they’re not circulated around the home. Some systems also neutralize chemicals that cause bad odors as well as germs, bacteria, and other such contaminants.
How much does heater repair cost?
Since no two furnaces are alike, there is no way to estimate your heater repair costs without someone inspecting the unit and noting needed repairs. For many homeowners, you might expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $250 or more, depending on the system, needed replacement parts, if your chosen furnace repair company charges extra for emergency visits, and the like.
How long does heater repair take?
As with costs, the length of your heating repair contractor’s visit depends on needed repairs and other such factors. In some cases, your contractor might have needed replacement parts with them or can make quick repairs during their first visit. In other cases, they might need to order replacement parts, perform extensive repairs on the HVAC system and ducts, and other work that might require more than one visit for your heater repairs.
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