Signs Your Heater Needs a Tune-Up

We’ve got something of a cold front coming up soon, meaning it’s very likely that many of us will be turning on our heating in Austin for the first time since many months ago, long before summer. There’s nothing worse than getting that sweet relief from the cold that our heaters bring for a few days then suddenly having it pulled away because of some small issue that’s snowballed into a larger one within our heaters.

Heaters can be finicky things at time. Sure, they’re usually built and installed to last a long time with no issues but simply due to the fact that they work so hard, move so much air, and so much contaminants fly through their system, things don’t always go as planned. The best thing you can do to ensure that if any problems do arise they can be fixed as quickly and cheaply as possible is to keep a close eye and ear out for any signs that your heater needs a tune-up. That’s what this tip is all about. We’ll go over a lot of different signs from the obvious things to things you might not have noticed without knowing about them. Some of these signs will be of smaller issues that can be fixed by yourself, some are indicative of larger system-wide problems that will require professional intervention. Either way, read on to learn about some of the signs you may notice in the upcoming months that indicate your heater needs a checkup.

No Heat

This one should be fairly obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because sometimes when the weather just starts to get cooler, you could not notice this sign at first. That’s why when you first start to switch you thermostat over from the “cool” setting to the “heat” setting, make sure you test your furnace. You never know what could have happened over the many months of idle non-usage that your heater went through.

Turn the heating on and raise the temperature high enough for the fan to switch on. Then go check one of the vents in your home and make sure there’s not just air blowing out, but that the air is warm. If there’s air but no heat, or no air at all, then it’s time to call a professional Austin heater repair service. Also make sure to check the corresponding circuit breaker’s on/off switches first before making a service call.

Loud Noises

If your heater turns on as it should and runs as it should, if it’s producing heat and doing what you want it to, that doesn’t mean you’re quite out of the woodwork yet. One sign that something is off in your heater that you may not immediately trace back to the heater itself is loud noises. If you hear loud noises when the heater is running check and see if the noises seem to be coming from the heating unit. If they do, then that could be indicative of several issues.

The problem could be that the ignition is being delayed, or there could be a problem with the blower motor. Both of these issues could be fixed with a simple adjustment. But just because the solution is simple now doesn’t mean it will be forever. That’s why you need to keep an ear out for such signs. Once you hear these kinds of noises from your heater, the power is in your hands to fix the issue before it becomes a more expensive one. Contact an expert before the problem escalates and they will be able to quickly diagnose and solve the problem that was causing the loud noises coming from your heating unit.

Foul Smell

Just as you want to use your ears and be aware of any signs that may come from your heater, your nose is a valuable asset as well when it comes to problem detection. What you want to be on the lookout for is any sort of foul smell that seems to permeate the air when your heater is running. This could the sign of a serious issue. That issue, if it stems from the heater, and if you have a gas fueled furnace, could be gas leak.

To reiterate, if a foul smell emanates from you gas furnace, this may mean that there is a gas leak. When you suspect you have a gas leak, do not try to mess with the furnace yourself. Instead, open the doors and windows and leave the house. Then, call in a licensed and certified technician to inspect the gas furnace. You may also have to inform local law enforcement and/or the fire department of the situation since it is a potential fire hazard. These gases can be dangerous when not in the controlled workings of your heating system so don’t take this sign likely. As soon as you notice a distinct foul smell in your house that doesn’t have an immediately obvious origin such as something burning in the oven, open the windows to air out the house and call a professional.

Energy Bill Rises

This is a sign that you’d think should be obvious but often times isn’t. The reason you’d think it’d be obvious is because we all care about how much we’re spending on our heating and cooling. Anything that directly affects our wallet is going to have our attention. The reason it’s not always so obvious is that we expect our energy bills to rise naturally as we move further into fall and winter. The weather slowly gets colder and so our furnaces and heat pumps slowly have to stay on longer and longer to keep up. It’s completely natural then for your energy bill in December to be higher than the one in November.

It’s normal for your energy bill to go up during the winter because your furnace is working more. However, if you see an unusual spike in your bill, even by winter standards, and there has not been a change in utility rates, then your furnace may be in disrepair and needs to be serviced. A furnace tune-up will ensure all the nuts and bolts are tightened and your system is as efficient as possible. Similar to when your car burns excess fuel when it needs a tune-up, your heating unit may simply need a good cleaning to run at an optimal state again.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off

This sign is built into your house so this should be an easy one to notice. Nevertheless, it’s not one to ignore. Gas-fueled furnaces, while built to avoid such a thing, do have the potential to leak carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas so it’d be difficult for you to notice a leak without a carbon monoxide detector, making it an essential thing to have installed in your home.

Carbon monoxide leaks are nothing to shrug off. They can be very dangerous and even lethal to humans. If you carbon monoxide detector goes off, follow the steps below. If the alarm goes off you need to:

  • Shut down your gas appliances
  • Open up your windows to bring in fresh air
  • Leave your house & call the fire department
  • Call a professional HVAC to come and test all your gas appliances--especially your furnace-- to see if they’re venting exhaust correctly

Carbon monoxide is usually emitted when there is incomplete combustion within a gas furnace. If the detector goes off, this means your gas furnace is not functioning properly and needs a tune-up. In such a case, you should call a professional HVAC maintenance company to tune up your unit.

Furnace Cycles Quickly or Slowly

These two opposite issues are both worth looking out for as they both can indicate that your heater is far from working at peak performance. The first one to look out for is if your heater is turning on and back off more quickly than usual. If you notice your furnace turning on, running for a few seconds, then turning off again, chances are you need a tune-up. It could indicate of a number of things. Your furnace could have faulty wiring, a fan motor may be fixed, or your thermostat could be malfunctioning.

The opposite could also happen. If you find that your furnace turns on and stays on longer than usual, this means it’s not producing heat as effectively as usual and therefore needs to run longer to reach the same temperature in the house. This means that the system likely needs a tune-up to return to full efficiency. Both these problems are going to cause a spike in your energy bill so it’s worth it to have them taken care of before that happens.

Benefits of a Tune-Up

Even if you don’t notice any of these signs as stated above, it’s worth getting your heater serviced at least once a year to make sure it’s working as well as it can. You never know when things will go awry and many problems with your heater start off small and grow over time. Some of the benefits to getting a heater tune-up include:

  • Better airflow
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Fewer repairs
  • Lowered repair costs
  • Improved energy efficiency

Also, getting a furnace tune-up every fall can help uphold your manufacturer’s warranty, which could save you thousands of dollars in the event of an unexpected breakdown.

Furnace Tune-Ups and Heating Repair in Austin

There are a lot of potential benefits to getting your Austin heating system looked at and tuned up this fall. From saving you money to bringing you better comfort in your home, there’s nothing but things to be gained by improving the efficiency and lifespan of your heater. Heating in Austin is about to become more important as the cold weather slowly moves in. Make sure your system is working at its best before then.

Regardless if your heater needs a tune-up, a preventative maintenance visit, or repairs, you can call AC Express to receive expert care. AC Express does same-day heater repair so that you can get relief as soon as possible. We do heater repair in Austin and the surrounding areas, from Georgetown and Taylor to Pflugervile and Lakeway. If you need heater or AC repair in Austin, call today!