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Is Your Furnace Acting Up?

When homeowners don’t use an appliance for half the year, it can be hard to determine if it’s functioning properly when they do fire it back up again. Some pretty common questions pop up like:

  • “Did the furnace smell like this in the winter?”
  • “Does it always take this long for the house to heat?”
  • “Did the furnace make these noises before?”

These questions may mean something is wrong with the furnace, or they may mean nothing at all. One thing is sure: a faulty furnace can make for an uncomfortably chilly winter. Read on to find out how to determine if a furnace needs repair.


What Does Short Cycling Even Mean?

One of the more common furnace problems is what’s known as short cycling. It happens when the furnace turns on and then quickly shuts off again, usually within a minute. Obviously it’s not enough time to heat up their home, so they may turn up the thermostat to see if it helps. Short cycling is usually caused by a problem with the furnace itself. It can be a number of things:

  • Poor ventilation
  • A clogged air filter
  • A broken blower
  • A malfunctioning thermostat


Strange Flames or Sounds

Another way to tell if the furnace needs repairs is to look and listen. Look at the pilot light to make sure it’s blue. If the flame is yellow, it may have a ventilation problem. A yellow pilot light can mean that there’s a buildup of carbon monoxide in or around the furnace, which can be a threat to the health of those in the home.
Strange sounds can also be a telltale sign. Especially squealing, knocking, screeching, or bumping. Of course, most furnaces make some kind of noise, but the problem noises will be persistent and far from normal. If they’re unsure what the furnace normally sounds like, they may try describing the sounds to an HVAC professional. He or she can help them determine what, if any, next steps to take.

Broken or Cracked Heat Exchanger

Another issue to look out for is a broken or cracked heat exchanger. Symptoms include water around the furnace, soot buildup inside the unit, and strange chemical smells coming from the unit. Plus, look out for flu-like symptoms from anyone inside the household. These may include nausea, tiredness, confusion, and eye or nose watering. Sometimes, when a heat exchanger is cracked, it can release noxious gasses into the air, which can cause health problems and even death.

If a homeowner suspects their heat exchanger might be broken or cracked, they should immediately turn off the furnace and call an HVAC professional. They may have a cold house for a little while, but it’s better than the alternative health problems due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Depending on the age and condition of the furnace, an HVAC tech may suggest replacing the furnace as a whole or simply repairing the heat exchanger.

About Skovron Mechanical Services LLC.

Skovron Mechanical Services LLC. has been serving Manchester, NH with pride for 15 years. They provide excellent customer service backed by a satisfaction guarantee. They are happy to offer upfront pricing, excellent workmanship, and a safety-first mentality on all their jobs.