Signs of a Heater in Trouble

Dependable Service Since 1926

In our previous post, we talked about one of the worst—that is, dangerous—repair needs to ignore in a furnace. A cracked heat exchanger. We do want to stress the importance of handling this heating repair need right away, as neglecting it can allow dangerous carbon monoxide gas into your home and make you ill.

It’s also worth mentioning, that just because we stress how important it is not to ignore a cracked heat exchanger, it doesn’t mean that you can or should ignore other repair needs. It’s important to be aware of the signs that something is amiss with your heater, and call our pros as soon as you discover a problem. Tackling repairs early on will reduce your risk of emergency repairs later on, or even a total system breakdown. So, what are these signs?

Cold Air Coming from the Vents

There are some symptoms you’ll encounter with a malfunctioning heater that are subtle, and others that make it pretty obvious you have a problem.

Cold air coming from the vents is definitely the latter. It may be that you have a fuel combustion issue, or maybe even a leak in your ductwork to that particular area of your home. Whatever the cause is, you need to have your system repaired in order to ensure it doesn’t suffer from further damages and keeps you comfortable.

Increased Heating Costs

Sometimes, spotting heater problems can be tricky. You may not notice a drop off in your system’s output if it’s subtle enough. This is why it’s important to keep an eye on how much your spending each month on heating your home.

Of course, the colder it is, the more it’s going to cost you to heat your home. But you should have a general idea of your average heating costs. So if you notice a significant spike in bills without a clear reason, it may be the result of a problem rendering your system less efficient than it once was.

Burning Odors

When you first turn on your heating system for the season, you may smell dust burning off. This is understandable, since your heater has been off for a number of months, and that dust will burn off the components. However, if you continue to smell this, you need to contact our team right away. This symptom not only indicates something is amiss with your heating system, but your safety could be at risk, as well.


Do you hear your heater running erratically? Meaning, it starts up, runs only briefly, then cycles back down. If so, your system is going through a process called short-cycling. This may be due to something as simple as a dirty air filter creating too much airflow resistance, or it could be something like a faulty thermocouple. Whatever the case, we can resolve the issue for you—give us a call!

Get peace of mind by calling Bell Plumbing and Heating, the company metro area homeowners have been trusting for over 90 years!

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