Heaters are essential to any home in winter, but they can suddenly fail without much warning. If you take care of your heater and keep watch for these signs, hopefully, you’ll be able to catch the problem before it becomes serious.
Hint: Keep reading for ten tips on how to tell when your heater is about to die.
Warning #1: The smell
Your heating system vents should expel hot air at all times. If there’s no blowing hot air or if the ducts feel cool to the touch instead of warm, then there’s a good chance that your furnace filter is clogged with dust and dirt particles. When this happens, not only will the internal components begin to rust and corrode, the system will have a tough time heating your home during winter.
Warning #2: Uneven heat
It is normal for each room in your house to have a slightly different temperature from one another, but if you notice rooms on the other side of your home are receiving more heat than those closest to the furnace or if some rooms never seem to get warm at all, then there’s probably an internal problem with either your thermostat or blower motor.
Warning #3: Strange sounds
When most furnaces and boilers begin malfunctioning, they’ll usually emit strange and unusual sounds that can be quite loud. These may include: clanging, hissing, clicking, banging, whooshing, gurgling, wheezing, grinding, rattling, or even a high-pitched squealing noise.
Warning #4: Rusty water
If your boiler is producing more steam than usual it could mean that there’s an internal problem with the system or that sediment has built up inside the tank and needs to be purged. Either way, you should have your heating technician assess the situation as soon as possible to avoid rust from spreading throughout the entire furnace.
Warning #5: A strange smell of burned rubber
This may seem like a strange warning sign but slowly burning through all those layers of dust and dirt can cause components in your heater to overheat and emit an odor of burned rubber. If you smell this, have your furnace cleaned immediately to avoid overheating which can cause severe damage.
Warning #6: The pilot is out
If you are unable to activate the thermostat or your unit doesn’t have an external power source then check the following steps before calling for help:
- Look at the control board of the heater and ensure that the main power switch is in the ‘On’ position (not ‘Off’).
- Turn on any other appliances in your home to see if they too are affected by your heating system’s outage. If not, find another wall outlet and test once more; if it still does not turn back on then do some quick troubleshooting with these steps:
- Ensure the gas is turned on. If you smell natural gas, do not try to restart your heating system and immediately call for help.
- Check the pilot light. Make sure it is lit without any soot or discoloration around its burner area.
- If there’s no pilot light then check the thermostat itself to make sure that ‘heat’ is selected instead of ‘off’.
If none of these steps work, give a professional heater services a call as soon as possible.
Warning #7: The switch doesn’t turn off
If you find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat up and down in an attempt to turn the heater back on then there’s probably a problem with your system’s switch. If this happens, turn off all the other switches in your home and wait for a few minutes before trying again; if you still can’t seem to turn it back on then call for help as soon as possible because there may be an internal issue since it worked at one point.
Warning #8: Your monthly energy bill
If you’ve noticed that your heating bills are consistently high with no real change in temperature or weather conditions, then it’s likely time to hire a heater repair technician to come to check out your unit (especially if the heaters at home aren’t compatible with central air).
Warning #9: You haven’t had maintenance in years
Believe it or not, the best way to avoid costly and inconvenient breakdowns is by having your heater regularly serviced. Not only does it prevent fires and other accidents, but doing so will also help you save money in the long run because you’ll know when any problems arise before they get out of hand.
Warning #10: There’s no sound or movement whatsoever
When a unit completely malfunctions, there will no longer be any sound coming from the furnace itself (no clicking, whistling, or hissing) and there won’t be any air blowing out of the vents either. If you notice this, do not try to restart your heating system and immediately call for help.
What Happens When You Do Not Call A Heater Repair Service?
One of the most dangerous mistakes that can be made is to let your heater continue to operate while ignoring these warning signs. When this happens, carbon monoxide accumulates inside your home until it reaches fatal levels which put you and your family at risk for serious health problems.
Even if you don’t notice any symptoms right away, prolonged exposure to CO can lead to long-term disease or death so look out for heater service immediately if you suspect a problem with your heating system.
What Should You Do If Your Heating System Isn’t Working?
Call and schedule heater repair services as soon as it happens. Some people are of the mindset that they can fix things themselves or that their unit is simply old and needs to be replaced, but that may not always be the case. For all you know, there might be an easy fix so call a professional instead of trying random fixes which could make the problem worse or cause more problems in other areas.