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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Scary HVAC Problems to Look Out for During the Halloween Season

Homeowners Beware!

Halloween is a time of year when people voluntarily get the creeps. Between spooky costumes and decorations, homeowners strive to make their homes a safe haven from the trappings of this eerie season. However, the real horror show is at home. 

The HVAC in a home is supposed to be one of the things that makes a home comfortable, but too often, it is the source of problems that can do more than send shivers down the owner's spine. As temperatures drop and everyone fires up the furnace for the first time, here are a few common haunting problems this time of year.  

Carbon Monoxide Leaks From Gas Appliances

detectorsThere's nothing better than coming in from a cool fall night and getting toasty by a fireplace or enjoying the furnace's warmth. While all of the wood and gas-burning appliances in the home are intended to be comforts, there are times that they can be the source of harmful, invisible threats. 

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that is the byproduct of combustion. Home sources of carbon monoxide can be anything that produces a flame, like:

  • Clothes dryers
  • Water heaters
  • Furnaces
  • Boilers 
  • Gas stoves
  • Fireplaces

Carbon monoxide presents a serious threat to health. Serious exposure can require hospitalization. Even short exposure to carbon monoxide can cause symptoms of: 

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain

Since carbon monoxide can't be detected by humans the best way to stay safe is to maintain all appliances and install carbon monoxide detectors in the recommended places. 

Mold Growth From Excess Moisture 

moldMold growth may seem more of a summer problem since it thrives in a humid environment. However, mold can grow rapidly during any season, and certain conditions may speed its growth during the fall. 

Condensation is a major contributor to mold growth, and this time of year, condensation is everywhere. Most often, condensation forms when cold and warm air meet. Cool fall temperatures meeting warm air from furnaces is the perfect recipe for condensation inside air ducts and around windows. 

If musty odors are constantly present in a home, then mold growth is hiding somewhere. Scheduling fall maintenance and using dehumidifiers during this season can inhibit its growth. 

Tips to Prevent Overheating Furnaces 

Modern furnaces are very safe appliances. Decades of hard-learned lessons have taught manufacturers that furnaces can never be too safe. But, even with numerous safety devices, accidents can lead to overheating furnaces that may lead to fires. Prevention is the best path to take to stay safe from overheating furnaces. 

The first step in preventing an overheating furnace is regularly changing the filter. Clean air filters installed every three months allow for free air movement through the furnace. This allows heat to be more efficiently moved and greatly reduces the likelihood of overheating. 

Secondly, fall heater maintenance is the next best step in keeping heaters safe. Fall maintenance allows a professional to address any problems that might compromise safety. Additionally, it will help the heater run more efficiently, saving money in the long run. 

About 360 Air Tech

360 Air Tech is the local choice for heating and cooling maintenance and repair. Background-checked technicians are always ready to offer same-day service to address safety and comfort issues. Call today to get on-time HVAC service in Williamsburg, VA.