Even if your furnace isn’t having glaring issues, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s working the way it should. And when your furnace isn’t performing up to par — even if you don’t realize it — both your comfort and your bank account can suffer.

Since our Twin Cities winters necessitate 24/7 heating use for months on end, it’s imperative that you make sure your furnace is functioning properly. To help you stay comfortable this winter, our Dust Doctors experts explain six simple ways to identify when you likely need furnace repairs.

1. Uncommonly High Heating Bills

Several things can cause your monthly heating costs to spike, including unusually low outdoor temperatures and damaged ductwork. But if your bills are uncharacteristically high and it’s not terribly cold outside, that may indicate your furnace is seriously struggling.

Luckily, this is an issue you may be able to solve on your own. The first thing you’ll want to do is check out your furnace filter. If it’s dirty, it’s obstructing airflow, which forces your furnace to work much harder than normal to adequately heat your home.

Swap out a filthy filter for a new one and see if your bills decrease. If they don’t, call a furnace repair pro to schedule an inspection and diagnosis of your unit.

Want to keep your heating bills as low as possible? Take a look at our tips for maximizing your furnace efficiency. To make sure your unit performs optimally throughout the cold season, you’ll also want to heed our winter furnace maintenance advice.

2. Unusual, Persistent Furnace Noises

There isn’t a silent furnace in the world, but if yours is unusually noisy, that racket may indicate a serious problem. Pay attention to any persistent furnace noises you hear, such as:

●        Whistling, which may indicate a damaged belt

●        Squealing, another common indication of belt damage

●        Banging, which may indicate broken or loose internal components

●        Grinding, which may indicate a damaged fan

●        Groaning, which often indicates an overly stressed internal component

None of the above furnace noises are normal, so if you hear them regularly, contact a furnace repair specialist promptly. Let your technician know which types of noises you hear while the unit operates, so he can diagnose potential issues more effectively. 

3. Frequent Cycling

Every furnace cycles on and off to maintain a consistent indoor temperature. But furnaces that repeatedly cycle on and off, especially those that do it several times within a relatively short period, aren’t performing optimally. And in many cases, this issue, which is commonly referred to as short cycling, signals that one or more components are on the verge of failing.

If you ever notice your unit seems to be turning on and off more frequently than usual, take a look at your furnace filter and swap it out if it’s dirty. Filthy filters are one of the most common and easy-to-fix causes of short cycling.

If you change the filter and the problem doesn’t resolve itself, call a furnace repair specialist to get a diagnosis. You could be dealing with a dying fan motor, an overly dirty heat sensor, or a malfunctioning thermostat, among other possible issues.

4. Inadequate or Uneven Heat

The most obvious sign of the need for furnace repairs is inadequate heat production. Uneven heat distribution throughout the home is a close second. If your furnace isn’t heating your house according to the setting on your thermostat, it may be getting too old for operation or may have a few non-functional or seriously dirty components.

A furnace repair specialist can inspect the unit for damage and deterioration and replace or repair parts on the spot. If your unit is filthy and that’s the culprit behind the inefficiency, consider scheduling annual furnace cleaning appointments to maintain heating system functionality.

5. Unusual Furnace Odors

When your furnace first starts up for the season, it should smell a little bit. Typically, that odor smells a bit like something burning since dust accumulates around vents, registers, and the heat exchanger throughout the year. If that odor persists over time, however, you may have a problem on your hands.

To rule out a potentially dangerous issue, contact a furnace repair specialist at your earliest convenience. A specialist can inspect the unit for malfunctioning components and advise you on the best course of action to keep your unit functioning properly and more importantly, safely.

If you continually notice an unusual electrical odor or the scent of fuel, contact a furnace repair specialist immediately. Your furnace may be hazardous to operate and could put you and your home in danger.

6. Your Furnace Is Decades Old

When was your furnace installed? More than 15-20 years ago? If your unit appears to be underperforming and it’s at least a decade old, it likely needs a tuneup or repairs to perform its best.

Ideally, though, you should replace an aging furnace as it nears its 20th birthday. In most cases, getting a replacement ends up being more cost-effective than continually paying for repairs or paying higher-than-necessary heating bills month after month.

Need Furnace Repairs? Contact Dust Doctors

If your furnace is on the fritz, contact our team at Dust Doctors right away. We specialize in furnace repair and furnace cleaning, so we can properly diagnose any issues your heating unit may be having. We serve the entire Twin Cities metro and offer free service quotes for your convenience.

To learn more or request a free quote, call our Little Canada, MN office today at 651-319-9777 or contact us online.

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