Getting stuck without heat during the winter isn't just uncomfortable, it could also lead to major issues like frozen pipes. Fortunately, most furnaces don't break down without some warning. The following are signs you should know that mean furnace trouble could be brewing.
Sign #1: Temperature fluctuations
As a general rule, your home should stay a rather consistent temperature, ranging from a few degrees above what the thermostat is set at to no more than a degree or two less. If the temperature in your home seems to be varying greatly from the temperature you have the furnace set to, or never quite getting as warm as the setting although the furnace is cycling off, then you may have something wrong with the furnace. The issue could be with the furnace, or your thermostat may simply need replacing.
Sign #2: Constant running
A furnace shouldn't run constantly. Instead, it should go through cycles of blowing warm air through your home and then shutting off once the set temperature is reached. If the furnace continues to run, either without ever reaching the temperature the thermostat is set at or exceeding the temperature, there is a problem that needs to be fixed before a full breakdown occurs. This is another issue that could be in the thermostat or in the furnace.
Sign #3: Odd noises
Some noises are normal from the furnace. For example, you should hear the sound of the motor and blower clicking on, or slight pops from the furnace or duct system as the warm air begins to circulate. Noises that aren't normal, though, include whines, rattling, or grinding. These indicate an issue in the blower fan or motor, which can lead to a major failure. Having the blower repaired or replace can prevent further problems.
Sign #4: Foul odors
When you first turn on the furnace in fall, you may smell a musty odor when the dust is first blown out of the furnace. Sometimes a slight smell of oil is also common if you have an oil-burning furnace. Problem odors, on the other hand, are usually more obvious. If you smell sulfur, there may be a gas leak and you need to leave the house and call the gas company right away. Electrical burning smells are another cause for concern that require prompt service from a repair contractor.
Contact a furnace repair contractor in your area for more help.