When your heat goes out or your furnace starts making a loud clunking noise, it's pretty obvious that it's time to call the repair company. But signs that your furnace isn't working properly are not always quite this obvious. It's wise to be on the lookout for more subtle signs your furnace is beginning to malfunction so you can have it repaired before you are left entirely without heat.
The flame is turning orange.
If you take a peek at the furnace's flame, it should be blue in color, possibly with some white. If you see yellow in the flame, even if the flame is only partly yellow, this is not a good sign. A yellow flame is not as hot as a blue one and may indicate that your furnace is not completely burning fuel. This could be dangerous and it also increases your gas bills.
Your furnace company may just need to clean your burner -- or they may need to replace the burner or one of the gas lines that feed into it. Until they arrive, keep your nose tuned for the smell of rotten eggs. This is a sign that gas is accumulating outside the furnace, which could lead to an explosion. Leave the home immediately and call the fire department if this occurs.
The furnace is short-cycling.
Short-cycling means that the furnace is turning on and off in quick succession. This leads to uneven heating and also puts a lot of strain on your furnace. There are a number of possible causes, from a dirty burner to malfunctions in the thermostat. Before you call the HVAC repair company, try changing your furnace filter; if it's dirty and clogged, this could be causing the short-cycling.
There's a squeaking or moaning sound coming from the furnace.
Just because the noise is not loud does not mean it's a concern. Squeaking usually means that the belt in the motor of the blower unit is starting to become worn. It can also be caused by worn or unbalanced ball bearings. These are both pretty easy fixes, but if you don't address them, they could lead to a burnt-out blower motor, which can be expensive to repair. If you hear a metallic clanging when the heat kicks on, this may indicate that your ducts are leaking or damaged, which should also be addressed since it leads to excessive energy use.
If you're ever unsure whether something your furnace is doing is normal, don't risk it. Call your repair company before the problem becomes worse. Visit websites like http://www.rbincorporated.com/ to learn more.