Don't Get Stuck In The Cold: How To Identify Heater Problems

With winter fast approaching, you want to make sure your heater is working properly. If you've recently purchased an existing home, this winter might be the first opportunity to experience how the furnace works. If that's the case, it's a good idea to take your furnace on a trial run before freezing temperatures settle in. Wait until the temperatures start to dip and then send your heater through several cycles. Here are three signs to watch for. If you notice any of the issues described below, call for heating repairs as soon as possible.

Loud Noises From the Ducts

When you turn your heater on for the first time, pay attention to the sounds you hear. There should be a light humming coming from the heater. The humming is a sign that your heater is working properly. If you hear a loud vibration coming from the ducts, check the air output. You can do that by placing your hand up against one of the vents. If you can't feel a steady stream of warm air coming from the vents, you have a problem with your ducts. Have an HVAC technician inspect the ducts. The vibrating could be a sign that the ducts are too small for your home. 

System Shuts Off Too Soon

When you take your heater on a test run, you want to see how well it can go through the cycles. Each time your heater cycles on, you should be able to see the temperature change on your thermostat. If your heater doesn't stay on long enough to change the temperature inside your home, send it through several more cycles. If you notice that your heater cycles on and off rapidly, it's time for an inspection. Your thermostat may not be able to keep up with the demand. This is especially true if the heater was recently replaced. The thermostat may not be compatible with the new heater system. 

Heater Won't Turn On

When you turn your heater on for the test run, it should cycle on in a matter of seconds. Before it cycles on, you'll hear the system begin to fire up. Those initial sounds are a sign that your heater is functioning properly. If you turn your heater on, and you don't hear any sounds, it may be time to call for repairs. Give your heater a few more seconds to cycle on. If your heater still won't cycle on, turn the thermostat off and call for repairs. There may be a problem with the pilot light or igniter systems. If either of those systems is faulty, your heater won't turn on until repairs are completed.