Regular furnace maintenance is critical to optimum heating performance and, moreover, safe operation all winter long. Gas-fired forced-air furnaces are sturdy beasts and may not give obvious warnings of developing problems.

If something begins to malfunction in an old furnace, will you realize it soon enough to prevent unexpected heating loss in your home and/or even hazards to your family’s health and safety?

If not, first of all, make sure your heating system is professionally installed and that regular furnace maintenance is performed by qualified HVAC technicians. In addition to that, be alert to these signs of potential furnace problems:

  • Rising heating costs — If your gas bill’s going up noticeably, loss of combustion efficiency could be the problem. Because combustion malfunctions could also trigger an increase in hazardous byproducts like carbon monoxide gas, contact an HVAC service provider ASAP.
  • Frequent repairs — An increase in service calls often means an older furnace is reaching the end of its expected service life—normally averaging 15 years. Unfortunately,  you’ll probably be faced with still more expensive repairs in the imminent future, too. Once a tipping point is reached, replacing the old failing furnace with a new, more energy-efficient model is the most cost-effective option.
  • Burner flame flickering yellow instead of steady blue — This is an indicator of combustion problems that could include an obstructed vent, dirty burners or a cracked heat exchanger. Any possible issues with the heat exchanger should be checked promptly by a qualified HVAC tech due to the risk of carbon monoxide infiltration.
  • Inconsistent heating performance — If rooms that used to stay comfortable are now perpetually chilly, the furnace may be losing BTU output. A service technician will check gas pressure, ductwork condition and other possible causes.
  • Strange noises — Gas-fired furnaces in proper working order are usually quiet. However, a “roaring” burner, explosive ignition booms when the burner lights, or squeaks and squeals from the blower moving parts are all signs of wear and tear, as well as potential safety hazards.

For more about furnace maintenance as well as recognizing the warning signs of furnace failure, ask the professionals at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.