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7 Furnace Warning Signs To Watch For (and What They Mean)

By: Team ProSolutions

There are several furnace warning signs that can hint at an imminent furnace breakdown. Luckily, if you know what to watch out for, you can prevent a disaster in most cases. That being said, many people overlook common furnace warning signs. Often they don’t recognize the warning signs or don’t know what they mean. So, we’re here to help.

Think something is wrong with your furnace? Here are some telltale furnace warning signs and what they mean for your furnace.

Please note: this list of furnace warning signs is not exhaustive. Many different things can go wrong with your furnace. If you see, hear, feel, or smell anything out of the ordinary, be sure to call a local furnace repair company immediately.

1. Strange Sounds (One of The Most Common Furnace Warning Signs)

Is your furnace making strange noises? Unfamiliar sounds are not a good sign.

Now, most furnaces make some noise while they’re running. So, you’re probably wondering - what does a bad furnace sound like? In general, if your furnace is making a sound that you haven’t heard before - it’s a warning sign.

Here are some specific furnace warning signs to keep an ear out for.

  • Shaking or rattling noises - this often means that the moving parts in your furnace are loose. In this case, a furnace tune-up is recommended.
  • Squealing - if you hear a squealing noise, it’s likely a problem with the belts in your furnace. They may have slipped or need to be replaced.  Call your local Edmonton heating services provider to take a look.
  • Clicking, grinding, or popping noises - these sounds can signify bigger issues. Have a professional furnace technician take a look at your unit as soon as possible.
  • Silence - complete silence can be just as bad as a strange noise! In fact, noticeable silences can warn of major furnace problems. So, if your furnace sounds unusually quiet, be sure to call a heating expert in your area.

While the furnace warning signs noted above are cause for concern, some problems can be fixed through simple DIY furnace troubleshooting. Check out these furnace troubleshooting tips before you call a furnace repair company.

Woman in cold home because she ignored furnace warning signs

2. Cold Spots

Are some areas of your home colder than others? In some cases, this is caused by poor insulation or thermostat location, issues with ductwork, weather stripping, windows, cracks, etc. However, this furnace warning sign can also hint at bigger problems.

What furnace problems can cause cold spots in a house? Commonly, heat distribution issues are caused by:

  • Malfunctioning furnace
  • Furnace that cannot keep up with the demand for heat

If you notice cold spots, or you just can’t keep your home warm enough, your furnace should be looked at by a professional.

3. Higher Utility Bills

If you live in Edmonton, or anywhere in Alberta for that matter, you’ve probably noticed your utility bills increase recently. This is due to rising energy costs. In this case, the best way to manage higher utility bills is to implement some simple energy savings tips.

But what we’re talking about here doesn't have to do with rising energy costs. Rather, we’re referring to a situation in which you notice increased utility bills for a seemingly unknown reason.

Often, if you have a higher utility bill than normal, your furnace isn’t working efficiently (and is, therefore, consuming more energy). This may just be a nuisance at first. However, if left unchecked, the real issue can lead to more serious furnace problems. 

If you notice this furnace warning sign, your first step is to check the furnace filter. A dirty furnace filter can cause many problems. If this is the cause, the fix is easy. Simply change the filter. However, if a dirty filter doesn’t seem to be the problem, furnace maintenance is recommended. Having your furnace serviced by a professional technician will help you avoid major issues and decrease your energy bill.

If your unit is getting up there in age, increased costs can also signify that your furnace is about to die. Again, you’ll want to call a professional heating company to help you determine the issue and whether you need a new furnace. 

Keep in mind, most furnaces last for about 15 to 20 years.

Think you need a new furnace? Check out our Furnace Buying Guide for tips on when to replace your furnace and how to choose the perfect unit for your Edmonton home. 

Finger wipes dust in home showing furnace warning sign

4. More Dust

If there is more dust in your home than normal, this can also be a warning sign. This furnace warning sign often means your furnace is failing. 

Why does dust signify a bad furnace? Part of a furnace’s job is to help clean the air inside your home. Therefore, if your furnace is not working properly, it won’t be able to remove dust and other airborne particles.

First thing’s first - check the filter! Surprise, surprise - a dirty filter could be the cause of this issue. However, if the filter isn’t the problem, it’s time to call a furnace repair technician.

5. High Humidity

Just like a dusty home, excess humidity is also a furnace warning sign to watch out for. 

Are you starting to notice more condensation on the windows, walls or ceiling? If so, there may be an issue with the airflow in your home. This could be caused by a problem with your vents. For example, there may be a blockage that is not allowing for enough circulation. Alternatively, there could be a problem with your furnace - including an issue with safe carbon monoxide handling (more on this below).

Regardless, it’s best to call a heating company to check out the problem before your furnace breaks down or you end up with mould and mildew issues.

ProSolutions furnace technician repairs Edmonton furnace

6. Need for Frequent Repairs

Like all home appliances, your furnace should be regularly maintained. That being said, the need for frequent repairs can be a warning sign. 

If your furnace repeatedly requires repairs, it may be time for a new one. In this case, it’s a good idea to discuss the issue with your local furnace company. Professional Edmonton furnace companies, like ProSolutions, can help you determine what is wrong with your furnace and if it needs to be replaced.

7. Changes in Your Pilot Flame

Your gas furnace should have a steady, glowing blue flame. Any changes to this flame are clear furnace warning signs. 

A change in pilot light colour can mean that gas is not burning efficiently or that carbon monoxide isn’t being safely vented away from the unit. Weak or flickering flames can also indicate a problem.

In any case, if you notice a change in your pilot light, you’ll want to call a professional furnace company to have a look. Hiring a professional company is especially important in this situation, as these furnace warning signs can signify possible health and safety hazards. In particular, any issue with carbon monoxide can pose major health and safety concerns.

How do I know if my furnace is leaking carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas. Therefore, it can be difficult to detect. 

It is highly recommended that all homes have working carbon monoxide detectors installed. A CO detector will alert you to high levels of carbon monoxide in your home. However, there are furnace warning signs that can help you detect smaller leaks as well.

Warning signs of a furnace carbon monoxide issue include:

  • The pilot light on your gas furnace is burning yellow.
  • The pilot light keeps going out.
  • Black, brown, or yellow soot-like stains around your furnace.
  • Strange smells or stale air - CO itself is odourless. However, the issue may cause other smells that accompany the leak.
  • Lots of moisture on the walls and windows inside your home.

Physical side effects may also occur if CO is present in your home. This can include: 

  • Headache
  • Fatigue/Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

CO leaks are often caused by a cracked heat exchanger. By investing in a preventative furnace maintenance plan and regular tune-ups, you can help avoid this issue.

Edmonton homeowner calling ProSolutions about furnace warning signs

Experiencing Furnace Warning Signs? Call ProSolutions.

If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs discussed above, or have another reason to suspect your furnace might die, give the heating experts at ProSolutions a call.

Our trained technicians will tune-up or repair your furnace to ensure it works all winter long! 

Need a new furnace? No problem! Our experienced staff can help you choose the perfect option for your home. Then, our local technicians will come and install your new furnace, ensuring it is perfectly calibrated for the local conditions.

Don’t wait - 1 Call Solves It All - 780-453-6640

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