Even if you’re getting hot air in the house, there could still be a problem with your HVAC system. Four signs of a broken heater are:
- Your energy bill suddenly increases
- Your carbon monoxide detector is going off
- You hear gurgling, banging or other noises
- The house doesn’t get as warm as it should
You might notice these even when the system is still keeping your house warm. But, you’ll want to get it checked out if notice any of these. They could be warnings that the heater is about to break down. In some cases, you could head off a health hazard.
At John Cipollone Inc., we recommend getting things checked out sooner rather than later. Once winter hits in Havertown, HVAC companies get pretty busy. It could take a few days before someone can get out to your house.
If you call before the problem gets any worse, it may be a quick and easy repair. But, if you don’t call until your system isn’t working, you’re stuck. Then, you have to wait it out in the cold or pay extra for priority service if there’s a waiting list.
Carbon monoxide can be a sign of a broken heater
If you don’t already have carbon monoxide detectors in your house, get some. Now. Seriously. They could save your life. And, when it comes to your heating system, they may let you know if your heater is broken.
If your unit uses natural resources like gas or oil, it’s burning them to create heat. That process produces carbon monoxide, or CO.
When things are working right, that gas leaves through the exhaust system. It never gets into your house. But, if you’ve got a cracked heat exchanger, that’s not the case.
A cracked heat exchanger is when an internal part of the unit literally cracks. Then, carbon monoxide leaks from the system and into your home.
Now, here’s the dangerous part: carbon monoxide is a silent killer. This gas is colorless, tasteless, and odorless. But, it poisons you if you inhale too much. You’ll get sick and eventually pass out. If you keep breathing it in, you’ll die.
That’s why the monitors are so important. You should have one on each floor of your home. And, keep one near your heater. If that one goes off, it’s a clue there’s a big problem.
On a related note, this is another reason why you should get your heater inspected every fall. When our tech cleans and examines it, he tests for CO leaks. We can catch it before there’s a health hazard.
Clanging, clicking or rumbling
We’ll never forget the call we got from a family in Havertown, PA. At first, they were convinced a squirrel or something had gotten into their basement. They didn’t find anything, but, they kept hearing it!
As a last-ditch effort, they gave us a call. And, we found the problem. Before we go any further, though, we’ll let you know that no animals were harmed in this story.
We can’t say the same for the fan belt.
Sometimes, when a piece breaks or comes loose inside an HVAC unit, it’ll make some weird sounds. In this case, the fan belt was frayed and making a squealing noise. That was the noise they heard.
Weird sounds like that can tell you it’s time to call in a pro. Squeals, bangs, and clangs are just a few examples.
Sometimes, boilers make a deep rumbling sound. This is called kettling. It happens when water can’t travel through the system. When it evaporates, it puts pressure on the unit like a tea kettle.
Or, the boiler causes gurgles you hear throughout the house. The culprits here are air bubbles traveling through the system.
In general, if your system suddenly starts making noises it never made before, there’s probably a problem. It could be big, or it could be small. But, you’ll want to know for sure before it gets any worse.
Your heating bill suddenly gets much higher
Of course, you expect your energy bills to go up once the cold weather hits. Your average temperature in places like Havertown, PA gets into the 20s and 30s by January and February.
Even still, however, you should be suspicious if it suddenly swells. It’s a sign your unit needs more power than it should to do the job.
This could happen for many reasons. It could just need cleaning, for instance. Or, there’s frayed or faulty wiring somewhere. That’s letting more power flow into the unit than it needs.
But, the problem could be even more significant. That’d be a faulty compressor or a leak somewhere. In those cases, the unit is drawing more power to make up for the problem.
If you’re lucky, it’s something small you can handle yourself. Check the circuit box and make sure none of the breakers are tripped. And, replace the air filter if you haven’t done that in a while.
The filter blocks air flow when it’s gunked up. Then, the unit works harder, and uses more energy, to push the air through.
Broken heater produces less heat or cold air
Some common signs of a broken heater are less heat or cold air coming from the system. Those sound obvious, but they’re actually easy to miss. So, it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for and why.
Less heat is pretty straightforward. If there’s something wrong with the unit, it can’t produce enough heat. Maybe a belt is broken, or the compressor needs to be replaced. Or, there’s a hole in your ductwork somewhere.
But, odds are you’re not standing over a duct with a thermometer. To notice this, you have to pay attention to your thermostat. If the house just never gets to the temp you set it for, there’s a problem.
Speaking of the thermostat, sometimes you may notice cold air coming from the vents in the winter. With any luck, you’ve accidentally set the thermostat to cool or messed with the settings.
But, it could be caused by the system overheating. The inside of an HVAC unit gets way hotter than your house. It’s made to withstand high temperatures, but even these have their limits.
If things are overheating, the unit switches to cooling. That way, nothing breaks from the heat. Well, not right away, anyway.
Eventually, all those sudden switches from hot to cold put too much stress on the parts. That’s when you end up with a cracked heat exchanger or other problems.
If you’re noticing this, have a tech look over your whole system. The problem could just be a blocked vent. It’s preventing heat from escaping the system.
Or, the unit is too powerful for the house. It’s generating more heat than your home needs. As a result, it never all escapes the unit.
But, as with any of the other signs we’ve listed here, you’ll want to know for sure. And, you’ll want to know before you’re left out in the cold.
Furnace Repair In Wynnewood, PA
Main Line homes and businesses have trusted John Cipollone, Inc for reliable, expert furnace repair in Wynnewood, PA and other nearby towns. If your HVAC system is making weird noises or acting strangely, contact us, and we’ll diagnose and fix the problem as fast as possible!