Now that the first days of spring are here and the cold weather is receding, it's easy to forget about your heating system. Soon, your furnace will be the last thing on your mind and your air conditioner will become the star of your HVAC ensemble. Of course, cold days will come again and no one wants to start the winter with a costly furnace replacement. If you have noticed any of these signs of a failing furnace, it may be prudent to contact a heating repair service now to have your heating system evaluated while you have the entire spring and summer to deal with any necessary repairs.
Monitor Your Heating Bills
One of the earliest signs of a failing furnace is that it runs too often or fails to heat your home efficiently. While this does not necessarily mean that your furnace needs to be replaced, it does indicate a problem that will need to be addressed. If you have access to old bills, it's worth looking over them to see if your heating bills have increased dramatically recently. If you see a large and sustained increase, it's worth having a professional investigate to determine if your furnace is running inefficiently.
Keep Your Ears Open
A furnace that is operating properly may not be totally silent, but it should not produce loud or disruptive noises. Furnaces that are banging loudly or making noises that sound like explosions can be suffering from a delayed ignition problem. This occurs when gas builds up in the furnace and detonates suddenly when the furnace ignites. Delayed ignition is a serious problem. The explosions that occur when the furnace ignites can damage other components in the furnace, leading to potentially costly repairs. Since this problem requires fairly in-depth diagnosis, never try to determine the cause of delayed ignition yourself.
Pay Attention to How the Furnace Operates
Most people don't pay particularly close attention to when their furnace ignites or how long it runs for. It pays to be aware of details like this, however, as they could help you to discover problems before they become too costly to fix. In particular, you should pay attention to whether your furnace short cycles. A short cycling furnace is one that seems to turn on and turn off more often than it should, possibly shutting off while the temperature in your home is too low only to turn back on very shortly afterward.
A furnace that is short cycling is definitely not operating as it should, but there are a number of potential causes and they aren't all catastrophic. In fact, short cycling may simply be the result of a dirty filter or a failing thermostat. Since short cycling can be caused by conditions that result in the furnace overheating, you should still contact a professional as soon as you notice this problem. Dealing with the problem early may prevent your furnace from developing cracks in its heat exchanger which can be very costly to repair later.