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8 Signs Your Furnace Needs Fixing

signs your furnace needs repair

Whether they are old or new, all furnaces may require repairs at some point. After heavy use over time they can become damaged. Even something as simple as changing your air filters can make a huge difference in how well your furnace runs. The best way to avoid furnace repairs is to schedule regular maintenance.

For a reliable company that offers furnace repairs and maintenance, contact Cardinal Plumbing, Heating and Air at 703-721-8888.

Even with maintenance, damages occur from regular use. Take a look at our list of eight signs that your furnace needs to be repaired:

1. Strange Odors

Because furnaces are constantly hot and emitting gases, a strange odor is an easy way to tell that something is wrong. An acrid smell as if something is burning could mean that the dust and debris that settles on top of your furnace is being burned. The easiest way to fix this problem is to turn your furnace off, wait for it to completely cool down and then give the system a good wipe down with a wet cloth. 

The smell of rotten eggs, however, is not as easy to fix. Gas companies often add a sulfur smell to gas so that leaks are easily identified. If you think that you have a gas leak, be sure to call your gas company or the fire department to shut off your gas immediately and evacuate your home. 

2. Higher Than Normal Energy Bill

A large spike in your energy bill could be a sign that your furnace needs to be repaired. When HVAC systems have to work harder due to some kind of issue it is often reflected in the energy bill. The only problem with relying on your energy bill to tell you if something is wrong with your heating system is that it means weeks have gone by without the system being repaired. Over time, damage can become worse and sometimes lead to the need for replacement. 

3. Discolored Pilot Light

When you check your furnace, be sure to take a look at the pilot light. The light should be a bright blue. If it is a red, orange or yellow color then the burners may be dirty. The easiest way to take care of this problem is to clean the burners. While some may feel comfortable doing this themselves, you can also hire an HVAC technician to do it for you. The problem may not lie with dirty burners but with a fuel deficiency. It’s always a good idea to call a technician when it comes to pilot light issues. 

4. Abnormal Sounds

It’s normal for your furnace to make noise when it is turned on. However, this noise should be more of a white noise sound rather than a clanging or screeching. A clanging noise may mean that a piece has come loose inside of the furnace. Screeching could mean that the system needs to be lubricated. No matter what kinds of noise your furnace is making, be sure to take note of it and call a professional for HVAC repair

5. Inadequate Heat

When furnaces are broken or damaged, they may stop producing adequate heat. There are a few different reasons why this could be happening:

  • Air filter is clogged and needs to be replaced
  • Broken heat exchanger
  • Wiring issue or problem with the breaker box
  • Damaged or broken blower belt and fan
  • Damaged burners or pilot light

The best way to find out why your furnace isn’t working like it used to is to call an HVAC contractor. After a thorough inspection they should be able to fix the problem so that you can get comfortable once more.

6. Poor Indoor Air Quality

Poor indoor air quality is one of the most frequent issues that homeowners come across. There are a few ways that you can fix this problem. The first is by changing the air filters once a month. Air filters quickly become clogged and can significantly reduce the quality of the air in your home. 

The second thing that you can do is get your ductwork cleaned. As time goes on, ducts collect debris, pest droppings, dust, dander and more. A technician will be able to thoroughly clean your ducts and leave you with high quality air. If neither of these work, ask a technician to come inspect your system. There could be a problem with the internal mechanics of your furnace that is causing poor indoor air quality. 

7. Carbon Monoxide Detector Going Off

If your carbon monoxide detector starts to go off, the first thing that you should do is completely turn off your furnace. After that, you should evacuate the home and call for emergency HVAC service. A tripped carbon monoxide detector means that your furnace could have a broken heat exchanger that is leaking carbon monoxide into your home.

This issue is preventable with bi-annual HVAC maintenance and inspections that can alert you to early signs of cracking in your heat exchanger. It is also important to install a carbon monoxide alarm right above your furnace. Doing this helps to ensure you are alerted of a carbon monoxide leak before it enters your home. 

8. Difficulty Starting

When a furnace doesn’t seem to turn on or takes longer than usual to turn on, it could mean there is something wrong with the starting components or fuel. Depending on the system, there are a few different ways that furnaces start. A gas furnace starts using a pilot light and an electric furnace starts using a starting capacitor. If either of those parts are broken or damaged, you won’t be able to effectively start the furnace. Give your technician a call if this is happening. 

High Quality Alexandria Heating and Cooling Service

Furnaces are complex systems that require a professional eye. Choose Cardinal Plumbing, Heating and Air for all of your furnace repair, replacement and maintenance needs. Our heating cooling Alexandria, VA team also provides services for plumbing systems as well. From clogged toilets to leaking air conditioners, we have got your back.

To schedule an appointment with the Cardinal Plumbing, Heating and Air team, give us a call at 703-721-8888 or book online


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