Your central furnace works to provide climate control to your home throughout the winter months, but just like every other major appliance in your household, can begin to perform less effectively and efficiently over time. Understanding some of the warning signs associated with a furnace that has begun to degrade and perform its job less effectively can help you determine when you should get in touch with a heating contractor for furnace service and repair for your unit.
Increased Energy Bills
The first sign of furnace trouble that is likely to manifest itself is also one of the hardest to notice. A degraded or malfunctioning furnace will have to operate for longer periods of time to produce the same amount of heat that it previously was able to create easily to match the setting on its thermostat. This leads to greater energy consumption slowly over time. If you find that your utility bills are constantly creeping upwards, but you haven't increased the amount of energy that you use in your home generally or increased the temperature on the thermostat, the condition of your furnace is likely to be to blame. Having your unit serviced and repaired is the smart financial decision, as the repair will likely pay for itself over time.
Another more pronounced warning sign associated with a furnace that is not working as intended is if you find that there are cold spots and drafts throughout your home. While individual drafts may be attributable to gaps in your doors and windows, consistent and chronic drafts that appear in multiple areas throughout your home are much more likely to be the cause of a furnace that is no longer performing at peak capacity. Either due to some sort of heating element or fan and blower issue, heat is no longer being evenly distributed throughout your home.
Smells in the Vents
Finally, the last indication that something is wrong with your central furnace is if there is a chronic smell that is coming out of your vents. There are a number of smells that can come from your vents, and all of them indicate some sort of issue. The smell of burning points to a malfunction with your heating element, and you should turn your unit off immediately to reduce the risk of a fire. An earthy, soil like smell can be caused by mold growing in the ductwork, which while not a mechanical issue can still negatively affect your health, and will require ductwork cleaning to eliminate. Finally, the smell of rotten eggs will indicate a gas leak, if you have a gas powered furnace, which requires you to call both emergency services and a contractor to shut off your unit and fix the leak.