Your furnace is your home's central heating unit, and is an essential part of keeping your home comfortable during the winter months. Just like every other appliance in your home, however, furnaces can experience mechanical problems over time due to age and general wear and tear. Understanding some of the warning signs associated with a furnace that is no longer functioning properly can help you identify problems early and have them fixed by a HVAC professional before you're left shivering in the night.
While your furnace should always make some sort of noise while it is operating, due to the fan blowing heated air throughout your home's ductwork, the noise of operation should always be comfortably in the background, and should only really be noticeable when your furnace first turns on. However, if there are constant loud irregular noises coming from your ducts or your furnace, including banging, slamming, grinding, or anything else that sounds odd and loud, there is likely some sort of mechanical issue with the fan or motor. Fixing these problems early is essential, as these issues can quickly cause increased stress to other components within your furnace and cause damage to other parts, increasing the complexity and cost of repairs.
Increased Energy Bills
Another fairly clear indicator that your furnace may need to have internal components replaced is if you notice that your energy bills have been steadily ticking upwards each month, without a corresponding increase in the temperature that your furnace has been set at. This loss of energy efficiency can be because of a malfunctioning component, including the fan or thermostat, which causes the furnace to work for longer periods of time to provide the same amount of heating. However, it can also precipitate a complete unit failure: getting a HVAC professional to take a look at your furnace can help you determine if you can repair your furnace or should start looking at replacement models.
Drafts and Lack of Heat
Finally, the most obvious and most serious sign that you need to get in touch with a HVAC professional to have your furnace repaired is if you notice that there are significant drafts of cold air throughout your home, and if the air coming out of the ducts is cold despite the fact that your thermostat is set correctly. This is usually a problem with the heating element itself, which will need to be replaced to get your unit working properly again.