Watch for These Furnace Troubles This Season

man standing by thermostat looking coldAs the weather cools down for fall, we’re preparing to use our furnaces on a more regular basis. As such, it’s imperative that they be ready for the work ahead. Hopefully, you’ve already had your fall tune-up completed. Regardless of whether you did or not, it’s important to keep an eye out for any Tacoma, WA furnace repair needs that may arise.

The most serious of these, at least in a gas-powered furnace, is a cracked heat exchanger. Heat exchangers are essential to the operation of your furnace—without them, heat from the gas jets would never reach the air, and you’d feel nothing more than room temperature air coming from the room vents. But a damaged heat exchanger can do a lot more harm than simply not providing you with warm air.

The Dangers of a Cracked Heat Exchanger

First off, cracks can develop in a heat exchanger due to extensive age, or lack of proper heating maintenance. Rust and corrosion from when a furnace is neglected eventually can cause hairline fractures in the heat exchangers. These may look minor, however, they are anything but. These cracks expand within the furnace as the heat exchangers absorb heat, and this is where the danger comes in.

These gaps in the heat exchanger allow exhaust gas to leak from the furnace into your home. This means that harmful carbon monoxide is getting into your living space. Even the smallest amount of this colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas can cause illness.

But how can you tell if you have a cracked heat exchanger? You’ll typically hear a clicking sound coming from the inside of the furnace cabinet. If you hear this and it’s not attributed to a loose bolt or any broken piece of machinery, you are likely dealing with a damaged heat exchanger and should shut off the gas to the furnace until our professionals can come take a look.

Other Signs of Furnace Troubles

Clicking is not the only sign of a furnace in disrepair. There are other signs to watch for and indicators to listen for, which may tell you that something is amiss with your heating system. These include:

  • Squealing/Clanking: The likely culprit here is a cracked or loose blower motor fan belt. This is a serious problem that must receive attention right away, because a loose belt will start to damage other components.
  • Groaning: When your furnace’s motor bearings wear down and need replacement, they can make what sounds like a groaning sound. These motor bearings require lubrication, but even then they do wear down over time.
  • Rumbling: If you hear a rumbling noise coming from deep inside the furnace, it could mean that the burner is dirty. Ensure that you schedule regular maintenance in order to avoid this.
  • Loud Clacking or Clicking: Again, this could be a damaged heat exchanger. However, it may be the sign of something more minor, like loose outside panels that need to be screwed down tighter.

No matter what strange or unfamiliar noise you hear coming from your furnace, it’s important that you not open the cabinet of your furnace to try to figure it out on your own. Doing this can expose you to a number of risks—if you suspect a serious repair issue, shut down your furnace and call in a professional right away.

Contact Sound Heating today! We take your comfort as serious as you do.

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