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How to spot furnace problems this winter

sniff out furnace problems

Winter can be one of the busiest times of the year. In addition to all of the holiday celebrations, many families have winter activities, a full schedule of work and potentially some exciting plans for the new year. With all of the busyness that this season brings, you may fail to notice furnace problems – all is well, as long as it is chugging along doing what you expect it to do.

However, if you have ever dealt with a non-functioning furnace during the cold winter months, you will quickly gain an appreciation for the job this machine does. Even though you have a busy schedule this winter, it is vital that you do not neglect your furnace. We put together three simple ways that you can find furnace problems before they turn into a disaster. Check these out and prevent disaster.

  • Follow your nose – One of the most noticeable signs of a malfunctioning furnace is a strange scent in the air. The smell of rotten eggs may indicate a problem with the gas supply, which is quite dangerous to your health. A burning smell might mean you have a clogged air filter that could lead to system overheating. A chemical smell often points to damage to the heat exchanger. As a general rule, if your furnace smells odd shut it off, ventilate and contact an HVAC professional immediately.
  • Listen – A working furnace is generally pretty quiet. However, if there is something wrong with the system there may be unusual sounds. Squealing might mean there’s something loose in the motor or with a belt. On the other hand, a booming or rattling sound often indicates is a problem with the ignition. A major change in the way your furnace sounds is a sign you need to seek professional help.
  • Change your filter – Changing your filter at least once a month will keep your furnace running as efficiently as possible, keep your energy bill low and helps make your system safer. Plus, the simple act of changing the filter forces you to look and listen to your system so that you can find small problems before they become big ones.

By keeping your eyes, ears and nose open you can help prevent major problems with your furnace. Just remember, if you notice anything out of the ordinary call an experienced HVAC pro immediately. In addition to the work you do yourself, the single most important way you can prevent winter furnace failures is to have your system professionally inspected on an annual basis.

If you would like more information about the benefits of regular maintenance on your HVAC system, or if you have any questions or concerns about your unit, reach out to us and McCullough Heating and Air today. We look forward to helping you stay warm and comfortable all winter long.


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