Let the Chills Come from a Scary Movie, Not a Broken Heater!

3 Telltale Signs the Heater Needs Repairing

On Halloween night, there’s nothing like curling up on the couch with snacks and getting absorbed in a good scary movie, whether it’s a familiar favorite or a first-time viewing. Of course, homeowners should be ready for a real-life fright every time a trick-or-treater rings the doorbell in the middle of a creepy scene. 

But candy-crazed trick-or-treaters aren’t the only thing stalking the streets and going from house to house on Halloween night – the early autumn chill is also on the prowl. So, if homeowners have a broken or malfunctioning heater on their hands, they may find themselves hiding under a blanket, not from fictional ghouls and ghosts, but to get through the night without freezing! To ensure homeowners get goosebumps from their chosen horror flick and not a drafty house, here are a few signs that the heater needs repairs!

The Home Isn’t Getting Warm Enough

The most obvious sign of a broken heater is if the home never seems to heat up, even with the heater running. There may be weak airflow, no air, or cold air coming from the vents. The system may run constantly and fail to bring the temperature up, or it may run only briefly before shutting off again (an issue called short cycling). 

In any case, this problem can be caused by various factors. Dirt and dust on the heating coils or other internal components may interfere with the heat transfer process. Gas burners may be dirty or faulty, or an electric heating element may have failed. The blower fan could be struggling (or out of commission) due to a worn bearing, broken fan belt, or electrical issue. The furnace may be overheating, causing it to shut off. The air ducts may be clogged or leaky. Or the problem may be as simple as a dirty air filter impeding airflow. 

Because there are so many possible causes of this issue, it’s always best to have a heating repair professional diagnose the problem as soon as possible – especially because some of these problems can be dangerous or cause major damage to the unit if left unchecked.

The Heater Is Making Unusual Sounds

sounds at homeAnother common indicator of trouble with the heating system is if strange sounds are coming from the heater. Here are a few strange heater noises homeowners should listen for:

  • Booming or banging - These may simply be caused by metal ductwork expanding due to temperature or air pressure changes, but they could also be caused by small gas explosions in the heat exchanger due to delayed ignition – the former is normal. Still, the latter is a serious issue that demands immediate attention.
  • Squealing or grinding - These usually indicate a dry or damaged fan bearing, worn fan belt, or misaligned blower wheel, all of which are relatively simple fixes for a pro.
  • Rumbling or rattling - These are typically caused by excessive vibration or a loose part inside the blower assembly. 
  • Loud humming - This is usually the result of an issue with the blower motor or capacitor and often precedes overheating of the motor.
  • Whistling or whining - This spooky, ghostly sound is usually caused by air rushing through the gaps around a dirt-clogged air filter or a leak in the ductwork.

Apart from being downright creepy or frightening, many of these sounds indicate a dire need for heater repair, so homeowners should call a pro if they hear them.

Unexplained Spike In the Energy Bill

electric billA more subtle sign of a malfunctioning heater is if the energy bill seems unusually high. HVAC systems tend to consume more energy than any other single appliance, so big spikes in usage can often be traced to the heater or AC.

Several issues could be to blame – a dirty air filter may be impeding airflow, a broken bearing or belt may be slowing down the blower motor, faulty wiring may be pulling more amperage to the system than normal, hot air could be escaping through leaky ducts… the list goes on. In any of these cases, something is causing the heater to work harder and consume more energy than it normally needs (be it electricity, gas, or both) to meet the demands of the thermostat.

If homeowners have noticed an uptick in energy usage that they don’t have an explanation for, their best bet is to call a pro for heating system repair. Once a technician has diagnosed and repaired the issue to restore the heater to peak efficiency, the home will be nice and cozy for scary movie night, and homeowners will also save money on their energy bills!

About 360 Air Tech

360 Air Tech has been the preferred resource for heater repair and maintenance in Williamsburg and the surrounding communities for years. Their licensed, insured, background-checked, and drug-tested technicians always arrive on time in fully-stocked trucks and leave every home better than they found it. They offer up-front pricing, financing, free estimates, same-day service, a rewarding membership program, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every job – so homeowners should look no further for heater repair services in Williamsburg, VA!

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