Those long, laidback summer nights are gone and winter's harsh cold snaps and icicles are on their way.
Before the freezing weather takes hold, make sure you're not caught by surprise with a broken down heating system when you need it most. Check out our list below for signs your heating needs some TLC.
1. Family Health Issues – dull headache, dizziness, nausea
These could be symptoms of a serious problem and require immediate attention!
If someone in your home is complaining of consistent nausea, headaches or burning pain in their eyes or nose, get your home tested for a carbon monoxide leak. Many hardware stores now carry carbon monoxide monitors that will let off an alarm if they detect the lethal gas in your home.
What causes a carbon monoxide leak? Heat exchangers within older furnaces can get holes or large cracks over time – which then let carbon monoxide out into your home's atmosphere.
If these symptoms sound familiar, get help right away. For more information read our blog post, Gas-Fired Heating Equipment, CO Poisoning, and Why Maintenance Matters.
2. Dramatic Changes in Room-to-Room Temperatures
If you have a standard heating system (without zoned areas), each room in your home should have a pretty consistent temperature as you move throughout the house.
If you notice one room is much colder than the others, your heating system might be too small for your home's air space, or your home is haunted. We're willing to bet the problem lies with a struggling heating system though!
A well-functioning system will have minimal temperature fluctuations around doors and windows. You may also sense a difference as you walk upstairs as heat rises. If you're finding your home is suffering from sudden changes in temperature and unexpected drafts, you might need to get your system checked over by a professional.
For tips on uneven heat read our blog post 5 Smart Solutions for Uneven Home Heating Issues
3. Weird Noises & Unusual Sounds
When a heating system is working properly, it shouldn't make a huge amount of noise. If you're hearing excessive sounds coming from it, it's best to get it looked over. There are a number of different causes that could be making those weird noises, including:
- Squealing can be caused by loose bearings, pulley problems or a deterioration in the inducer motor or blower motor belt.
- Disruptive humming can be caused by a failing blower fan motor.
- Rattling can come from an unbalanced motor, loose screws or unsecured ductwork.
Try not to ignore odd noises, they won't go away on their own.
4. You're Attached to The Thermostat
Can't get the room's temperature right? Do you feel like some of your rooms are too hot no matter what you do to balance it out? Your heater might not be able to distribute heat efficiently anymore.
An efficient heating system's temperature setting should only need changing once overnight and once at the beginning of the day. If you're waking up in the night and have to adjust your room's thermostat repeatedly, you might need to get your system looked at.
If you are tired of manually adjusting your thermostat at night and in the morning, you should look into a programmable thermostat. The technology has come a long way and they are quite amazing, that is if your system is functioning properly. If you do have a programmable thermostat and you find yourself fiddling with it a lot, it’s time to get it checked out.
5. Increased Dust Levels
Poor indoor air quality can have a seriously bad effect on your family's health – excess dust can really irritate asthma and allergies.
We're lucky enough to have long hot summers, so our heating systems sit unused for months at a time. When we go to use them again, they can push a lot of unsettled dust into our living spaces. Increased dust levels in your home isn't a sign your heating system needs repairing or replacing but it is a sign that you need to give it a good clean.
Clean out your HVAC system when you notice excess dust as a build-up of grime and debris can result in its components corroding when left for too long – and that will require heavy duty repairs.
6. Higher Electricity or Gas Bills
Are you seeing an unusual spike in your power bills lately? An aging heating system can be to blame. Coupled with an increase in on/off cycles, a hike in power usage can mean your system is struggling to keep up with your needs.
If you're not sure about your power bills, try comparing the last four years' bills – if there's a consistent hike, your heating system might need upgrading.
Coming into the winter season, you're going to need a reliable heating system that will keep you and your family warm on those cold nights with no surprises!
A healthy heating system can help prevent burst pipes, providing good quality indoor air for your loved ones and it should efficiently heat your home.