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Heating Repair: 7 Signs It’s Time To Call a Professional HVAC Company

heating repair

Fact: It’s been over a hundred years since San Francisco saw its most significant snowfall. On February 5, 1887, a record-breaking snowstorm fell and placed the city under four inches of snow.

While no other event broke that record, the Bay Area still gets near-freezing winters. And with such cold temperatures comes the risk of cold weather-related illnesses.

That should prompt you to get heating repair services if your heater is on the fritz.

So, how do you tell it’s time to call the pros? Isn’t there anything you should try first?

We’ve listed the signs your heater needs repairs and what you can do before calling the experts, so read on.

1. Doesn’t Produce Warm Air at All

If you don’t feel any warm air coming out of your air ducts or indoor air handler, you might only have a thermostat issue. Thus, this is the first thing to check; ensure it’s on heat mode and set to your desired temperature.

If your thermostat is all good, the next thing to check is the furnace disconnect switch. It resembles a regular light switch, so people can sometimes mistake it for one and flick it off by accident. In that case, all you need to do is turn it back on (it should be near the unit) so it can start sending power back to your heater.

If it’s not the disconnect switch, and you have a gas furnace, ensure its gas line shutoff valve is open. You can find this near the bottom of the unit.

If none of the above helps, it’s time to schedule heating repair services. The problem may be a clogged burner, a faulty pilot light, or failed high limit switch. Either way, it’s best to leave these in the hands of a heater repair expert.

2. Inadequate Heating

The US Department of Energy recommends setting a thermostat to 68° F in the daytime during winter. The agency also advises turning it back by 7° to 10° F from its typical setting for eight hours a day. Such methods can help cut your energy bills.

Those are some of the best ways to lower your HVAC costs, but they can be tedious work if you have an analog thermostat. Because you have to do things manually, you might forget to turn the setting back up.

When temps in the Bay Area drop at night, that can result in your heater failing to deliver adequate heat. Therefore, if your home feels a little too chilly, check your thermostat and bump its setting up.

If that doesn’t help, the thermostat might need new batteries or have already failed. If it’s the latter, it’s best to call an HVAC repair company ASAP to inspect, fix, or upgrade your thermostat.

3. Weak Airflow

Outdoor dust accounts for up to two-thirds of the dust you find indoors. Pet dander, carpet particles, and clothes fibers are other things that make up indoor dust.

Some of those air pollutants end up trapped in your air filter. After all, the primary job of the HVAC filter is to help keep your comfort systems clean. Thus, it can get clogged with debris and filth unless you wash or replace it once a month.

Severe clogging in an air filter can obstruct the air flowing in and out of your system. Hence, it can result in weak airflow, compromising your comfort or health. So, if you feel too little warm air out of your heater, check the filter and wash or replace it if it’s filthy.

However, if that doesn’t fix the problem, you might have leaky or clogged air ducts. Other possible causes include a malfunctioning or worn blower or blower motor. Your best bet is to call an HVAC repair company to examine and repair these components.

4. Loud and Odd Noises

Reverberating sounds from a gas furnace can result from burners clogged with soot. Those noises indicate that the burners don’t fire up when they should, so gas builds up. Then, when the burners kick in, excessive gas combusts, resulting in a booming sound.

Your heating system can also produce banging, rattling, or scraping noises. They can arise from unfastened components or a lack of lubrication. Your blower fan might have even come loose.

Regardless of the odd noises your heater makes, they’re likely a sign of a problem. Call a qualified professional to inspect and perform necessary repairs ASAP.

5. Short Cycling

Short cycling is when your heater (or air conditioner) turns on and off intermittently.

In a heating system, short cycling can occur if the heat exchanger overheats, forcing it to shut down. It then goes back on once the exchanger cools down again.

Short cycling can result from a malfunctioning thermostat or a clogged filter. So, check those two components first; if they’re both okay, you might have a faulty heater. It’s best to call a professional HVAC technician, as short cycles can waste energy.

6. Burning Odors That Don’t Dissipate

Burning odors are common in places that don’t always use the heater, such as in Bay Area homes. Dust collects in furnace components during those months that the unit remains untouched.

So, if you smell a burning odor when you first turn your system on, it’s likely due to dust build-up.

Those smells should disappear after about 10 minutes once the furnace burns all the dust off. If they don’t, or they get stronger, turn off your heater immediately. The odors can be coming from damaged electrical components, such as melting wires.

Then, call an HVAC repair professional for assistance as soon as possible.

7. Rotten Egg Smells

Never ignore rotten egg-like odors coming from your furnace. Turn off your heating system and gas valve as soon as you get a whiff of this, as it can indicate a natural gas leak. Even at low concentrations, exposure to the gas can cause adverse health effects.

A cracked heat exchanger can also release sulfur dioxide, a combustion byproduct. Exposure to it can cause eye and nose irritation and disorientation.

Moreover, a cracked heat exchanger can also leak carbon monoxide (CO), a toxic gas. CO is hazardous and deadly because it causes asphyxiation. Indeed, it lands approximately 50,000 people in US emergency departments each year.

As soon as you’ve turned your heater off, open a few windows and then leave your house right after. Call a heater repair company once you’re outside.

Stay Safe With Prompt Heating Repair

There you have it, the top signs you need heating repair and what to try first before calling the pros.

If the tips we shared don’t help, don’t delay contacting an HVAC repair company. After all, you don’t want to fall ill due to frigid temps, and besides, a cold home can be very uncomfortable.

Do you need heating and air conditioning repair in the Bay Area? If so, ring us up now, and we’ll be happy to service your HVAC system!


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  • Avatar of Victoria Addington
    Victoria Addington Thank you for explaining that it’s best to contact a heating repair company if the thermostat fails. My friend told me that their heater is not giving them adequate heat. I better advise her to call a heating repair expert to fix their thermostat. Reply
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    Kristofer Van Wagner This post made an excellent point that when our HVAC system is emitting low wind, it is encouraged that we call a technician. It makes sense as in doing so, our HVAC unit will be properly serviced. I will definitely keep this information in mind when I look for a technician. Reply
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    John Carston It's great that you elaborated that there is dust build-up if you are smelling odor. My brother told me a couple of days ago that they are having issues with their heating system as they were hearing a strange noise, and he asked if I had any idea what would be the best option to do. Thanks to this enlightening article, I'll tell him that it will be much better if they consult a trusted heating repair service as they can provide proper repair and preventative measures. Reply
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    Braden Bills I want to make sure that I get my heating system properly maintained. It makes sense that I would want to get a professional to maintain it for me. They would be able to ensure that it doesn't cause any properly. Reply
  • Avatar of Kate Hansen
    Kate Hansen It was helpful when you said that you need repairs if you don't feel warm air coming out. My husband and I turned on our heater last week to see if it is working before winter starts, and we noticed how warm air wasn't coming out of our vents. We'll have to look into hiring an HVAC contractor that can repair our heater for us. Reply
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    Charlotte Fleet It makes complete sense to hire a professional to repair your furnace if it creates burning smells that don't go away within 10 minutes. Yesterday, my husband and I turned on our heater for the first time this year. We turned it off quickly because it was producing an unusual burning smell, so we'll have to hire furnace repair specialists immediately to fix it. Reply
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    Kristofer Van Wagner I like that this post stressed that when our furnace system is no longer producing warm air, it is time that we have them replaced or serviced. I noticed that my furnace has been lacking in producing quality air. I think I will definitely schedule an appointment to have my furnace checked. Reply
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    Owens Heating and Air Thank you for the 7 signs. Reply
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  • Avatar of Iris Smith
    Iris Smith Thank you for pointing out that a thermostat problem can be the only thing wrong if you don't feel any warm air coming from your air ducts. My heater does not disperse heat into the space. I'll contact a furnace repair professional to inspect my heater. Reply
  • Avatar of Iris Smith
    Iris Smith Thank you for mentioning that dust buildup is probably to blame if you notice a burning smell when your system initially turns on. Ever since coming into this house three years ago, I had never checked the furnace. A strange smell started to come from my furnace. I'll call the furnace repair company to assist me in inspecting and maintaining the appliance. Reply
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    Eli Richardson A few days ago, we tried to use our furnace, but my wife started sneezing and coughing, so we had to turn it off, and we suspect it's because the unit hasn't gotten maintenance for years. We moved into this house recently, and we don't know much about its HVAC units, so we'll follow your advice and get it inspected and its air ducts cleaned as soon as possible. Reply
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    Millie Hue It got me when you said that a professional is already needed regardless of what kind of odd noises you have been hearing form your system, since they already mean that there is a problem. I should tell my brother to hire a furnace repair service this weekend after I noticed that kind of issue earlier. I visited him at around seven in the evening, so it was quite cold which is why he tuned on the system. And it seems that it is producing weird sounds that shouldn't be present. Reply
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  • Avatar of Eve Mitchell
    Eve Mitchell Thanks for mentioning that short cycling is when your heater turns on and off intermittently. I'm hoping that I can call an HVAC professional tonight because I think my heater isn't working. It only runs for 15 minutes and then it turns off. Reply
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    Daisy James It was really helpful when you said that banging noises are a bad sign. For the past couple of days, I have noticed that my furnace has been making weird noises, so I was wondering if it would be a good idea to hire a professional to come and look at whatever is causing it to happen. I'll have to look into hiring an HVAC company as soon as possible. Reply
  • Avatar of Mia Evans
    Mia Evans Thanks for helping me understand that there might be a problem with the thermostat if there is no warm air coming out air ducts which is why we should get it checked. I will hire a heating repair professional to do that for me because there might the underlying issues that I may not notice if I check them on my own. And I want to make sure that the system is in good condition now that I would need it most of the time to keep you comfortable inside my house. Reply
  • Avatar of Afton Jackson
    Afton Jackson With how bad the airflow has been lately, I do think that our furnace is in desperate need of fixing. We should get that fixed immediately before the winter season reaches its peak if we want to stay warm, and that might be difficult on our own. I'll look around for an HVAC expert who can help us with this furnace and get it to work properly again with better airflow. Reply
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