Staying comfortable and cozy in the chilly New Jersey winter means having a healthy heating system that works hard. Your furnace is one of the most integral appliances in your home during the colder months. Without heat, you face life-threatening conditions and extreme discomfort. So, how do you keep your furnace working at its best? Most experts agree that annual tune-ups and preventative maintenance are essential for your HVAC system. If you’ve skipped your last yearly maintenance, read on for warning signs that it is time to get your furnace looked at.

1. Furnace Blowing Out Cool Air

You have the furnace on, but your home isn’t getting warm. Now what? When you check, you see that the air blowing from your vents is cool rather than hot. If your heating system blows out cool air, it won’t keep you comfortable during the winter. You may soon find that your home is too cold to be bearable. You need a professional HVAC technician to inspect your furnace and find the cause. The technician can then make repairs to return warm air to your vents.

2. Home More Dusty Than Usual

Do you have dust building up on nearly every surface of your home? Are you finding it impossible to keep up with the dust? Skipping your annual tune-up means you may not have had your furnace air filter cleaned or changed. If it has been neglected, the filter may now be clogged. The air filter on your furnace stops dust and allergens from entering the heating unit and coming out in the air through your vents. When your filter is full, you’ll have more dust in your home. The furnace filter should be replaced at least every three months and more often if necessary.

3. Strange Noises

A typical furnace runs relatively quietly. You may hear the blower running or a low electrical sound as the furnace heats your home. The time for concern is when your furnace begins making loud noises such as knocking, rumbling, or humming. When these noises are out of the ordinary, you need a professional HVAC technician to take a look at your unit. Running your furnace for long periods as it continues to moan and groan could cause mechanical failure and leave you shivering in the cold.

4. Strange Odors

When you fire your furnace up for the first time each season, it is common to smell a slight burning odor. This odor is caused by all the dust in your unit and ducts getting hot. There is no need to be concerned when you smell this during the first run of the year. However, if you smell burning or foul odors regularly after you’ve been using the furnace for a while, that signals an issue. You may have a mechanical problem or something in your furnace that doesn’t belong. Hire an HVAC technician to look into the odor and make repairs for your safety and home comfort.

5. Weak Airflow From the Vents

When your furnace is running, you should be able to feel the air blowing with force out of your vents. If the heat feels as though it is just slowly seeping or barely blowing from the vents, you may have an issue. There are a few potential causes of weak airflow from your vents. You may have a leak in your duct system, which allows the air to escape from the ducts before it gets to the vent. You might have a clogged air filter that is trapping the air in the unit. For a proper diagnosis and repair, call your HVAC technician.

6. Short Cycling

Short cycling is when your furnace starts and stops more often than usual, sometimes not getting your home up to the preferred temperature. Your unit might short cycle for a variety of reasons. One main reason that your furnace may run on and off more often than it should is that the unit is too big for your home. When your furnace runs more often, you risk damaging the parts of your unit. Excessive wear and tear from frequent starting and stopping can lead to premature failure of your system. If you notice the furnace short cycling, call your HVAC company right away.

7. Inefficient Heating

If your furnace is struggling to keep your home warm, you need an HVAC technician to check it out. Your furnace, in proper working condition, should heat your home to the temperature set on the thermostat. When the furnace fails to produce enough heat to reach that temperature, there’s a problem. You could have a mechanical failure with one or more parts of the furnace. You may also have an issue with your thermostat and need to have it calibrated.

8. Uneven Heating Throughout the House

A properly maintained and operational furnace should provide even heat throughout your house. You should reach the same desired temperature in one room as you do in another. If you find one room cooler than another, you should look for reasons. It may be that the room has a drafty window or door, which the furnace cannot combat. However, if you have an unexplained reason for uneven heating, you need to check your HVAC system for the cause. The most common reason for uneven heating is leaks in your ductwork. Hire an HVAC technician to inspect your ducts and seal any leaks found.

9. Unexplained Increase in the Heating Bill

Throughout the winter, you can expect your utility bill to run a little higher than during more mild months. However, if you open your bill and the amount you owe is dramatically higher than what you normally pay, you may want to look into the possible reasons for this. If you cannot find some other excess energy usage, you should look at your furnace. Perhaps your furnace isn’t running as efficiently as it should. When your furnace has to work harder to heat your home, it uses more energy.

No Maintenance in the Last Year

Professional HVAC technicians and furnace manufacturers recommend annual HVAC maintenance and tune-ups. With its heavy workload and intricate design, your furnace needs special care. If you’ve skipped this maintenance, you risk breakdowns and failures. Over time, this could lower the life span of your furnace. To keep your HVAC system in the best shape, schedule maintenance at least once a year.

Your furnace is one of the most important appliances in your home, especially during the bitter cold of winter. Just like any other appliance, the furnace needs a little help from time to time and some extra care to stay running smoothly. If you start to notice any signs of malfunction or breakdown, you need an HVAC technician right away. Delaying repairs and skipping annual maintenance may make a big difference in how well your furnace works and how long the unit lasts. Our team at First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can handle that for you, along with any HVAC installation, repair, or maintenance you need. We also cover a complete line of plumbing assignments.

If you notice signs that your furnace needs a tune-up, call First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning right away and stay warm during the Metuchen, NJ winter.

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