Alabama property owners must maintain their heating systems to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature throughout the year. When they have a furnace installed in their home, it is vital for them to learn the early warning signs that the furnace needs repairs or a complete replacement. Several issues could arise that will warrant repairs, especially if the components are failing. With furnaces, any number of issues may arise if the heating system is outdated or if they aren’t performing as expected. Reviewing these early warning signs helps the property owner determine if they should schedule repairs or start looking for a new furnace. 

How Old is the Unit?

The age of the unit defines if it is time to replace it or if repairs are possible. As a general rule of thumb, if the furnace is more than 15 years old and experiencing issues, it is time for a new unit. The older units will start to show signs of wear and tear and could place the property owner and their family at risk. Once the system is deemed faulty because of its age, it’s time for the property owner to start shopping for a new furnace. 

Have You Seen An Increase in Energy Costs?

When the utility costs increase dramatically during the winter, the property owner needs to schedule an inspection of their furnace. Our technicians review the furnace for issues that cause sudden surges in energy consumption. A common issue is component failures that cause the unit to draw more power to operate surrounding components. When one component fails, all the surrounding components work overtime to compensate for the loss. When it is possible, the property owner schedules furnace repair services. However, if the problem is beyond one component, the property owner may consider replacing it altogether. 

Are There Signs of Rust Particles in the Unit or On the Filters?

Rust particles in the unit or on filters are clear indicators that the furnace will not continue to operate properly. Rust is a sign that the unit itself is damaged, and the structure must be replaced. If the property owner doesn’t schedule a furnace replacement, the rust particles and other contaminants will continue to flow throughout the property, and this is potentially harmful to the property owner and their family. Moisture is a common reason for rust development on metal surfaces, and the unit will fail ultimately. 

Are There Sudden Increases in Humidity Levels?

Greater humidity levels indicate that the furnace isn’t keeping the property comfortable, and the higher humidity could indicate too much moisture inside the furnace. Higher levels of moisture lead to rust and rotting inside the unit. Condensation causes mold and mildew to develop inside the furnace and ventilation systems, too. When gauging higher humidity levels, it is necessary for the property owner to set up an inspection to determine if repairs are possible for the furnace. If they cannot get a handle on the higher humidity levels, the property owner will need to schedule a furnace installation

Have You Noticed Sudden Noises such as Humming or Rattling?

Sudden noises such as rattling and humming from the furnace indicate that there are serious problems in the unit that require immediate services. Property owners will need to schedule heating service to determine what the nature of the noises is. When reviewing the noise, the technicians will start by determining if the heat exchanger is damaged. When the heat exchangers are damaged or cracked, there is a greater risk of carbon monoxide emissions. If it is just the heat exchanger, the technicians can replace the components and eliminate the noise. The first sign of the issue is the rattling or humming noise that happens when the blower starts or stops. 

Have You Scheduled Several Repairs for the Unit During the Previous Winter?

Frequent repair requirements within the same season indicate that the property owners need to consider a replacement unit. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on unnecessary repairs, the property owner could take the money and get a more efficient furnace for heating their home. If the furnace required at least two repairs the previous year, and it’s at least 15 years old, the property owner should replace it to get the most use-value. It is pointless to schedule repairs to replace each and every component within the furnace, as this will prove too costly and redundant. A new unit will give them a better unit, save money, and get a warranty for their new installation. 

Are There Signs of Cracking or Damage Around the Unit?

Visible signs of damage such as cracking and breaks in the furnace indicate that it is time for a new furnace. These signs appear when the unit is reaching the 15-year mark, and the system will show signs of wear and tear. It will not perform as expected, and the individual will hear far more noises from the unit than a faulty heat exchanger. Visible signs of damage require the property owner to take immediate action to restore service, and if they do not replace the furnace, the components may present hazardous effects for the property owner and their family. When it is failing, there is a greater risk of a fire or explosion in the property, and the property owner will not only face detrimental circumstances, but financial losses will happen. 

It Can’t Regulate the Temperature Properly

Irregular or uncomfortable temperatures indicate that the furnace is not detecting the temperature correctly. This is a common sign that the thermostat is failing, and it could cause the furnace to engage irregularly. The failing thermostat could make the home too hot and uncomfortable for the property owner and their family. The first step is to replace the thermostat and determine if this is the right fix for the problem. 

However, if the furnace is overheating, it may generate higher-than-average temperatures that make it feel like a summer day in August without air conditioning. Overheating of the furnace indicates serious flaws in the furnace, and it will need to be replaced promptly to allow for regulated temperatures in the winter that keep the property at a warm yet comfortable temperature. The service provider will help the property owner review new units until they find the best solution for their property at the best price. 

You Have Experienced Persistent Gas Leaks

Gas leaks are serious risks for the homeowner, their family, and potentially their neighbors. When the property owner suspects a gas leak, they must schedule repair services immediately and shut down their gas supply. Our technicians will test the entire gas lines for leaks. A leak detector helps the technicians pinpoint the exact location of the leak to provide for a better repair. The professionals will not turn the gas back on until they have detected all leaks and repaired them completely. Whether the property owner uses a propane tank or underground gas lines determines how extensive the repairs are. Underground gas lines will require the gas company to visit the home and inspect the lines for issues. 

The technician must contact the gas company to identify the location of the lines before they can complete any changes. The gas company must repair any leaks related to the gas company’s lines. The heating service provider repairs the gas lines that are connected to the property only. 

The Flame is Not Blue

When using propane or natural gas, it is vital for the property owner to pay close attention to the color of the flame when engaging or lighting the furnace. When the system is operating as expected, the flame will be blue. However, if the flame is orange or yellow, the furnace doesn’t have the correct balance of oxygen and gas or propane. The change in color indicates that there is a gas leak somewhere in the furnace, and it requires immediate repairs. The gas leak will produce an explosion if it isn’t corrected quickly. Once gas leaks into the home at higher volumes, the property owner and their family are at risk of death due to inhalation of carbon monoxide. If it is a slow leak, they could experience carbon monoxide poisoning. 

We recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector near the furnace to detect any leaks inside the home. The detector will alert the property owner and their family whenever gas is detected in the home. They should assess the detector to ensure that it is working properly. When the technicians complete annual cleaning services and an inspection, they will test the carbon monoxide detector for any issues that could prevent it from warning the family in time. 

The Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off Often

For furnaces that have a history of gas leaks, it is vital for the property owner to contact their heating service provider to evaluate their unit. If the carbon monoxide detector goes off frequently, the property owner needs to call for emergency services and shut down the furnace and their gas supply. If necessary, the property owner and their family will need to relocate until the gas leak is managed properly. 

If the carbon monoxide detector is faulty, it may go off often, too. The heating and cooling provider will evaluate the carbon monoxide detector for issues. They can replace it if it is faulty and restore protection for the family. The carbon monoxide detectors have a longevity of about seven years, and it has been seven years since the installation, it is time for a new one. 

It Cycles Too Frequently

If the furnace engages too frequently, this is another indicator of an issue. The issue may equate to a faulty thermostat, or major components are starting to fail. As the systems engage frequently, they draw larger volumes of energy and increase the cost of heating the home. This can make it unaffordable for the property owner to keep their home warm throughout the winter and early spring months when the temperatures are at their coldest. As all Alabama residents know, the weather is unpredictable, and the temperature could drop suddenly without warning. A faulty furnace will increase costs and make it difficult to heat the home throughout the winter. 

If It Won’t Run Properly

Once the system fails, there is no reason to attempt repairs, especially if the unit is at least 15 years old. When it is painfully apparent that replacement is the only solution, AirNow offers a full catalog of new furnaces to replace the existing unit. If the furnace was covered under a warranty, the property owner might get some coverage to help pay for the replacement unit. If the furnace fails to operate because of an event covered through their homeowner’s insurance policy, they can get assistance through their insurance coverage. They can start by contacting their insurer to get details about coverage and how much is available to them. 

Property owners in Alabama know all too well that the weather can be unpredictable, and just when they least expect it, it can show. For this reason, it is vital for them to seek heating services for their furnace at the first sign of any issues. Service disruptions can become dangerous in Alabama when harsher winter temperatures are on their way. A skilled heating and cooling service provider like AirNow knows what to look for when there are sudden issues with a furnace. We know that subtle changes might mean something detrimental beyond the need for services. Gas leaks are a major issue for furnaces, and all it takes is an inferior installation, and the homeowner is at serious risk of a fire or explosion. Paying close attention to the signs of furnace issues keeps the property owner safer and ensures that they will have heating services and a warm home throughout winter.