You probably at least have a general idea of when your furnace is showing signs of wear and tear—it may not be able to keep you warm enough, your bill may be spiking, or your airflow may not seem powerful enough. But, do you know which problems are actually putting your safety at risk?
Furnaces, particularly gas-powered furnaces, can be hazardous if not properly cared for. No, they’re not inherently dangerous, but natural gas is nothing to mess around with. If you don’t get your furnace the tune-ups it needs each year to stay in good shape, you could find yourself facing health hazards and operational problems. So, what are the signs that something is terribly wrong?
The Smell of Gas
Are you noticing some odd odors in your household? Perhaps it’s a smell that resembles rotten eggs? This could mean it’s a gas leak. Gas doesn’t have a natural odor, your utility company puts this smell in so that you’ll know when you have a gas leak—therefore that means if you smell it, it’s time to call for emergency services.
In fact, any unusual odor coming from your furnace is cause for concern. In addition to the smell of gas, you’ll want to pay attention to chemical odors or burning smells—you could be dealing with something like a cracked heat exchanger, damaged flue, or even an electrical problem. The former can lead to carbon monoxide gas in your living space which is not only dangerous, it can be deadly.
A Clicking Noise
Remember that cracked heat exchanger we mentioned above? This is more likely to occur in aging furnaces that perhaps haven’t received proper, professional care throughout the year, but cracked heat exchangers happen when corrosion shows up, or if the furnace gets rattled too much due to other damage.
The heat exchangers expand and contract with the temperature fluctuations, and when there is a crack in one of these components, you may hear clicking along with that. Don’t ignore this! It can become an emergency situation very quickly.
The Pilot Light Isn’t Blue
The best way to determine if your furnace is experiencing detrimental problems is to check the color of your pilot light’s flame. If it’s yellow, beware—this is a telltale sign that some party of your system is failing. It’s typically a combustion problem going on, which means you need to call for furnace repairs ASAP. Combustion problems lead to carbon monoxide exposure like we mentioned above. This can be dangerous, and potentially deadly.
The Furnace Won’t Turn On
While this is an obvious sign of something amiss with your heating system—if it won’t turn on at all—it may not necessarily seem like an emergency. But the fact of the matter is, if you don’t know what’s causing the problem, it warrants an emergency call—especially if it’s a gas-powered system. This is one of those things that is just not worth taking a chance on. We want to restore your heat for you, but we also want to keep you safe!