Furnaces are typically “set it and forget it” appliances that do not see a lot of action in terms of constant maintenance (that is assuming yours is installed properly, of course!). But as with any appliance, there may be a time that you need to know the difference between a minor repair and a major emergency furnace repair. This information is more relevant if you live in Canada, or anywhere that winters can bring severe cold weather. Going without heat during these times can be, well, quite uncomfortable, to say the least.
Some problems your furnace can run into are minor and can be repaired quickly, and sometimes even on your own. But on the other end of the spectrum, your furnace can be going through an emergency that is a bit more threatening and needs the attention of a professional.
Here are some examples of furnace emergencies that will require you to call in a professional:
Do your lights flicker when you turn on your furnace system? This shouldn’t be the case and this is an indication something in your wiring might be buggy. While there are plenty of resources online that can help you diagnose any electrical or wiring issues, if you have no specialized knowledge on dealing with electrical issues, then it’s best to leave this one to the professionals. Electricity can be very dangerous and life-threatening if handled improperly.
Electricity is how your heating and cooling systems remain on and fully functional, so any issues with electricity or wiring could cause a shutdown.
Different types of noises can indicate different problems with your furnace. Regardless if it is running fine or not, it may just be a matter of time until things go south, so you shouldn’t ignore it.
Pinging and popping noises can be indications of thermal expansion, where the ducts are expanding and contracting as the system heats and cools.
Rattling noises mean that panels are loose and need tightening.
Squealing noises have to do with your furnace’s belts, and they can either need to be adjusted or replaced.
Grinding sounds are the sounds that should ring an alarm bell for all homeowners. If your furnace is making grinding noises, then you should call a professional. These sounds indicate that your motor bearings need a repair.
This is known as rapid cycling and it can be caused by different variables like a dirty air filter that might need replacing. If after you’ve replaced the filter this doesn’t fix the problem, you should call in a professional for help as this means there is a more serious issue at hand like with the motor or belts, for example.
If you smell rotten eggs or gas, you and your family should leave the house immediately. Unpleasant smells like rotten eggs indicate a gas leak and it can be life-threatening.
Do not turn any lights on or off, or any stoves, do not use or touch anything in your house that uses electricity. Your next steps are to go to a neighbour’s house to call for service and plan to say elsewhere while the problem is being fixed.
Remember, while being able to DIY repairs around the house can make you feel accomplished, always consult experts like those at Infiniti Air Conditioning and Heating before attempting to work on your furnace.