The best time to schedule a furnace tune-up is in the fall before the really cold weather sets in. But if you’ve neglected regular tune-ups, there are some signs to watch for that will help you determine if it is time to call for professional maintenance.
Here are some telltale signs:
If you can no longer get comfortable in your home, or in a specific area of your home, because it is too hot or too cold, there may be a problem with your furnace’s efficiency. Check the rooms throughout your home for drafts. If you discover temperature inconsistencies throughout your home, it is time to schedule a tune-up for your furnace.
Little or no air coming out of the vents can indicate a number of problems that a technician can address, such as a clogged air filter, or a faulty fan. If you haven’t changed the air filter in a while, the system could use a good cleaning and inspection.
Changes in air quality can indicate that the system is dirty, or that there is a blockage or crack in the vents or air ducts. This may show up as an increase in dust levels throughout your home, or a musty smell.
Another sign that your furnace is in need of attention is a spike in energy bills. While this could be due to a sudden and unusual cold snap, in general, your heating bills should not be noticeably increasing month-to-month if your furnace is working correctly.
Most furnaces emit an odor the first time it is turned on for the season, but that should quickly dissipate. If you notice a persistent smell, or one that develops later in the season, this could indicate a potentially dangerous problem. Another sign is loud banging noises when the furnace runs. This could indicate a problem with the blower motor.
The pilot light should be blue. A yellow or orange flame indicates a problem with how the furnace is igniting and requires attention.
Worsening asthma or allergy symptoms can also result from a neglected HVAC system that has become dirty.
This is perhaps the most obvious sign that your furnace needs a tune-up. A professional HVAC technician will thoroughly inspect your system and diagnose the problem.
Frequent cycling on and off can be a sign of faulty wiring, a failing fan motor or a malfunctioning thermostat. All of these can be diagnosed and addressed with a professional tune-up.
Furnaces can last up to 20 years or longer with proper maintenance. If your furnace is 10 to 15 years old, a furnace inspection is highly recommended.