It’s an odd but simple truth: things tend to stop working when we need them most.
In our nearly 100 years of serving customers here in the Hamilton and surrounding areas, we have been there to witness this time and again.
Dinner party tonight? Your stove decides to get wonky. Out-of-town guests coming to stay? Your furnace goes on the fritz.
This is exactly why we launched our popular 24/7, 365-day emergency repair service. Furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, heating boiler, radiant heater, fireplace, hot water heater, you name it – we will come to you and fix it anytime.
Here, learn what to do to get your essential home or workplace appliances fixed fast!
5 Warning Signs Your Furnace Is Heading for a Breakdown
There is no doubt the holidays can be stressful for everyone. Not surprisingly, this also includes your hard-working furnace, which has the kind of nonstop winter workload that could send anyone over the edge.
Precisely because this time of year is so hectic and unpredictable, many homeowners and business owners simply miss the warning signs that their furnace is starting to behave erratically.
Because your mind is so naturally focused elsewhere, it often comes as a shock to wake up one morning (or, worse, in the middle of the night) to discover your formerly cozy home has gotten icy-cold.
Here is a quick review of the top five warning signs your furnace may be about to stop working.
1. Old age
Old age can do a number on pretty much anyone… and anything. This includes the household or workplace furnace.
According to Energy Star, a furnace that has reached its 15th birthday is overdue for a replacement.
Not only will you net a much more reliable furnace when you make that upgrade, but you also stand to trim up to 15 percent off of your monthly energy draw in efficiency gains.
2. Odd sounds
From clanking to banging, wheezing to whining, popping to rattling, it can be hard to ignore a noisy furnace, but less easy to distinguish “normal” furnace noise from warning signs.
The best rule of thumb is that your furnace should operate quietly. It is true older furnaces may not be as whisper-quiet as a new model. But any sound that reminds you of what happens when the silverware drawer overturns in the dishwasher is designed to get your immediate attention – and should.
3. Strange smells
The one smell that could be considered “normal” for a furnace is that slightly smoky, singed, dusty smell that happens when you power your furnace back on after the extended summer break.
Sometimes dust and debris get into the ducts and cause that signature odour. But other scents, most especially including mouldy, grassy, dank smells and for sure anything that reminds you of dirty gym socks or rotten eggs, should always be investigated right away.
The most likely reason for these stronger, stranger odours is mould and mildew or a fuel leak. Both are highly dangerous. The former can be very expensive to fix and the latter warrants a call to your power company, pronto.
4. Higher heating bills
While there is no doubt you will pay more overall to run an older furnace than one of the new high-efficiency models, you should be able to establish some sort of baseline budget for your existing furnace based on previous years’ costs.
These can fluctuate when energy prices increase, but if energy prices and basic usage patterns remain largely the same and your heating bills continue to increase, this is a surefire red flag.
Higher heating bills with no other known cause are most likely the result of your furnace drawing more power to do the same job it always has. This may be due to a dusty, dirty blower motor, clogged ductwork, duct leaks, a leaking fuel line, a blocked air filter or air registers and similar causes.
All are potential fire risks and can result in major outages and even the need to replace your furnace.
5. Yellow (not blue) pilot light
A yellow pilot light is your furnace’s way of sending up an SOS. Think of it as one of those flares motorists set out around a broken-down car.
Not only does that yellow light tell you that your furnace is unable to make full use of the energy it is drawing (which will also result in a bigger energy bill), but it is also a signal that there may be a carbon monoxide leak.
If that yellow pilot light you are seeing is accompanied by the rotten egg smell mentioned in no. 3 here, power down your furnace immediately and call us!
Shipton’s 24/7, 365-Day Emergency Service
There is a reason few people notice these common furnace warning signs in spring, summer or fall: your furnace usually isn’t on during these times!
Three seasons’ worth of non-use can do strange things to a furnace. We’ve seen everything from nesting rodents and invading insects to sagging ducts and broken blowers during our emergency service calls.
And we are completely up to the task of getting your heat restored as quickly and economically as possible.
Be sure to bookmark our special after-hours emergency service hotline: 905-549-4616. Call us anytime and we will get one of our prompt, friendly, knowledgeable, uniformed service technicians dispatched to your home or workplace without delay.
You can count on Shipton’s to keep your family and workers safe and warm all winter long!