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Serving the South Puget Sound and Western Washington Areas Since 1976

Serving the South Puget Sound and Southwest Washington Areas Since 1976

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Sunset Air Blog

Troubling Furnace Symptoms: Beware!


Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way for you to completely avoid the need for furnace repair throughout the lifespan of your heating system? Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Eventually, you’ll encounter some kind of problem with your system and you’ll need a trusted technician to come make repairs. The best thing you can do to mitigate how bad these repair needs get is learning to recognize the signs that your system needs repair (and get them on your schedule right away), which we’ll get to below.

Severe furnace problems can also be prevented with routine maintenance. Every fall, before you need your furnace the most, you should be scheduling a tune-up. During these maintenance sessions, our technicians thoroughly inspect your system, clean it, adjust components that need it, and—you guessed it—alert you to small repair needs before they grow bigger. If you haven’t scheduled maintenance yet this year, please give us a call to schedule that service right now. In the meantime, read on to learn several signs of furnace troubles.

Cool Air Coming from Your Vents

There are some symptoms you might encounter with a malfunctioning furnace that are very subtle to begin with. But a heater that’s blowing cool air from its vents is not one of them. This could mean that you’re dealing with a fuel combustion problem, or maybe even a leak in the ductwork to a particular area of your home. Whatever the case may be, you need to have your system professionally inspected and repaired to restore system function.

Increased Heating Costs

There’s something tricky about heating problems—sometimes, you won’t actually notice a drop off in the system’s heating output. You may simply just turn up your thermostat and feel “warm enough,” so you figure everything is okay. But how much are you paying for heating?

If you look at your heating bills and they’re about the same as what you paid last year, then you likely don’t have anything to worry about. But if they’re significantly higher, or if they’re significantly higher than what your neighbors are paying for similar use, then you are looking at a furnace that for whatever reason has stopped working as efficiently as it once did.

Burning Odors

When you run your furnace for the first time this year, you might smell a bit of a dusty odor. This is understandable, since the heater has been off for months, and some dust is burning off of its components.

If you continually smell burning coming from your heater, however, then you need to contact us right away. These symptoms suggest that something is amiss with your heater, and it could be putting your safety in jeopardy.


Does it seem like your heating system is running erratically? Meaning, it starts up, runs quite briefly, then cycles back down just as quickly? If so, your furnace is going through a process called short-cycling. This might be caused by something as simple as a clogged up air filter—be sure to check this.

Your air filter should be changed every 1-3 months during periods of use. Another potential issue is a faulty thermocouple, which is more serious. If you notice your system short-cycling and changing the air filter doesn’t resolve it, be sure to give our pros a call right away.

For expert furnace service in Tacoma, WA, reach out to Sunset Air today!

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