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4 Signs Your Furnace Needs Service Before Winter

You rely on your furnace to keep your home comfortable. The last thing you want is for your furnace to quit on a chilly winter day. While some emergency furnace breakdowns are unavoidable, your furnace often gives you signs that it requires maintenance long before it fails completely. Here are four signs that you need to have your HVAC company service your furnace before winter hits.
Is your furnace turning on for a minute or two, and then switching off only briefly before turning back on again? This is called short-cycling. Even if it results in a warm home, short-cycling is a sign that something is amiss with your furnace. Sometimes short-cycling is caused by a dirty air filter, so try switching to a new filter to see if this helps.
If you furnace keeps behaving this way, it is likely overheating due to issues with the heat exchanger and triggering a safety feature that turns it off prematurely. Sometimes wiring problems with the thermostat may also cause short-cycling. In either case, continuing to let your furnace run in this manner will eventually cause it to fail completely. 
Strange Odors
You may notice a slight scorched odor after your furnace has been off all summer. This is just the dust that has settled on the burner burning off. Odors other than that of burning dust, however, are generally cause for concern.
A chemical smell that reminds you of formaldehyde or anti-freeze may indicate that the furnace's heat exchanger has cracked. A furnace with a cracked heat exchanger can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Have the furnace checked over before you turn it on again, and make sure you have a working CO detector in place.
A burning metallic odor may indicate that the blower motor's bearing are wearing out. This should also be addressed immediately because it can lead to a fire.
Booming, Scraping and Rattling Noises
Your furnace should be almost silent when everything is working properly. A booming noise may mean that that gas is building up before the burner lights, possibly because your burners are clogged or worn down. A rattling noise can indicate a loose bearing inside the blower motor or a cracked heat exchanger, and a scraping metal noise can mean your blower wheel has worn out.
Even if your furnace seems to be working fine in spite of the noise, turn off the furnace until you can have it repaired. Most issues that cause nosy furnaces are rather easy to fix, but they can lead to more costly, detrimental problems if you continue to operate the furnace. Have a technician come fix the problem as soon as possible.
Uneven Heating
Are some of your rooms getting warm while others remain cold? Make sure the vents in the chilly rooms are not blocked and change your air filter. If you still notice uneven heating, it may be due to a lack of furnace maintenance.
Your furnace needs to be tuned-up and lubricated periodically in order to keep it working well. If this maintenance has not been performed in several years, the unit may simply not be generating enough heat to keep your whole home warm. You may also have leaks in your ducts, causing some of the heat to escape between your walls rather than flowing out into your rooms. 
It's better to go a day or two without heat in the fall than in the midst of winter, so if you've been experiencing any of these heating problems, have your furnace serviced ASAP. Contact Action Plumbing & Heating Maintenance today to schedule an appointment.