Winter is coming! Have you thought about your heating? Now is prime time to make sure that your family is warm while also keeping the energy bill as even (and as low) as possible.
What if your heating system needs repairs? What signs should you look out for?
It’s important to act quickly if any of these warning signs pop up, because neglecting to do so could be costly and even worse, could take a toll on your health. Read on to learn some of the red flags you should be paying attention to.
You may hear a strange sound coming from your heating system. Your home’s heat pump might make a trumpeting or hissing sound from the compressor motor when you shut it down, indicating a leaky internal refrigerant valve. Meanwhile, rattling sounds are the most concerning for HVAC system components, indicating a loose piece of hardware in the motor system or a failing motor.
If you ever hear a banging noise, shut off the appliance immediately. A banging sound indicates that a large component needs to be inspected by an expert and replaced before the heating problem becomes fatal for the entire system (to the tune of a big bill).
There is Humid Air and Uneven Heating
If you have recently purchased a home, your home’s furnace may be sized wrong. The average homeowner wouldn’t recognize that the furnace is too small or large to heat your home. This means that most people use it as is, and you may be seeing the results in the quality of the air you’re breathing.
A furnace that’s too big for your home isn’t able to properly remove humidity because it’s constantly turning on and off. That introduces a lot of humidity in the air, which can result in mold and mildew growing in your home. Alternatively, a heating unit that’s too small is unable to circulate the necessary air, causing stale air to sit in your living areas. Either scenario causes uneven home heating. That means some areas of your home or rooms will be much colder than others, which is quite unpleasant.
You Suspect a Leak
Leaks are a serious issue that are not always easy to spot. If you suspect you have leaky air ductwork, get your ducts inspected right away by a heating professional. This is a virtually invisible problem, but it can cost you a lot of money and headache if not resolved quickly. You can check for leaks yourself by walking alongside the air ductwork in your home’s attic, feeling for blowing air. If you find a leak, it must be sealed for higher energy efficiency, even heating, better indoor air quality, and “backdraft” protection.
Here is an HVAC System Tip: Put a lit stick of incense or smoking candle near your ducts. If the smoke moves, you have a leak!
There is a Smell
If you smell mould, it’s not your imagination! Moisture buildup in your home’s furnace and ducts is usually the result of poor insulation or inadequate air ductwork. This creates the ideal environment for mould and mildew to grow and spread. Mould and mildew are allergens and pathogens that, if left unchecked, can make your family sick and cost you a lot in high energy bills. Don’t hesitate; call a heating professional as soon as possible.
An HVAC professional will take a look at your heating apparatus and clean your HVAC system if necessary.
The Pilot Light Isn’t Right
If everything in your heating system is humming along well, your pilot light should be blue. If the furnace or gas heater’s pilot light is yellow, the air intake valve to the pilot light is clogged with dirt. When this happens, air is blocked to the flame, which leads to incomplete combustion (that’s what causes the yellow colour).
If this happens to you, it’s important to know that a yellow pilot light frequently needs to be relit, since yellow flames don’t burn as hot as blue flames. This means the yellow flame won’t properly heat up the thermocouple, and consequently, the gas supply to the pilot light will shut off. This could mean the HVAC system is on its way out and will need to be completely replaced.
There is an even more serious issue that can arise from a pilot light turning yellow: carbon monoxide. A yellow pilot light allows carbon monoxide to seep out, which negatively affects indoor air quality. The yellow flame isn’t as hot as the blue, so carbon monoxide isn’t completely burned by the lazy flame. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colourless toxic gas, and it can seriously impact your family’s health without you even noticing.
To prevent all of these issues, keep your energy efficiency up and keep your family safe, contact a professional to clean the furnace or gas heater’s air intake valve.
At Habberjam, our specialized heating team has over ten years of experience in building new homes. We are trained on conventional heating and hi-velocity systems, indoor air quality services, and heat-loss audits. Give us a shout, and let’s see how we can put our expertise to work for you.