Signs It’s Time to Call a Furnace Expert


Finding out that something is wrong with your home is never a fun experience. However, putting your head in the sand and hoping it goes away is a recipe for disaster. When you notice an issue, especially with your home heating system, it’s better to take action sooner rather than later.

If you’ve never dealt with a furnace issue before, you may not be aware when a problem necessitates an expert opinion. Here are some telling signs that it’s time to call a home heating expert.

You’ve Turned off the Air Conditioning for the Season

Living room with dining space
Used with permission of Atelier Noël

You may be wondering what turning off the air conditioning has to do with calling a furnace expert. Typically, turning the air conditioning off for the season indicates that the days are getting cooler. While you might have a couple of months before you need to turn on the heat, there’s no better time to call for a furnace tune-up.

As you get into the cooler months, furnace experts book up quickly. You’ll want to schedule a furnace tune-up appointment to ensure everything is in good working order before the first cold front hits. Annual tune-ups also help extend your furnace’s lifespan and prevent emergency calls.

You Notice Unusual Smells

If you notice unusual smells coming from your vents, it’s time to call a furnace specialist immediately. A burning smell is normal when you first turn on the heat after a long time, but that only applies to baseboard heaters. If you smell rotten eggs, it indicates a potentially dangerous leak (read more at

If you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to turn the heat off and leave the property until the issue has been addressed.

You Hear Unusual Sounds

Kitchen with dining table
Used with permission of Emily Followill

Furnaces tend to run in the background as a form of ambient noise. You may hear some tinks and clinks as the heater kicks in, or the whirr of the fans. However, these sounds should fade into the background as you get used to them.

If you notice you’re suddenly more aware of your furnace sounds or hear grinding or hissing, there’s an issue. Record the sound, turn off the furnace and call a specialist. The sound could mean something simple like a loose piece getting bumped around or something more serious such as a has leak.

Your Pilot Light Changes Color

If your pilot light changes color from a brilliant blue to the yellow of a candle flame, call a furnace specialist immediately. Typically when this change occurs, it means that the fuel isn’t getting burned off sufficiently. As such, your home could be filled with carbon monoxide — a deadly toxic gas that has no odor, color or taste.

It could also mean that there are fumes in the air that could light and cause a fire or explosion.

Your Furnace Is Short Cycling

Short cycling is when your furnace starts to kick in, then suddenly stops. It’s a sound (or absence of sound) you’ll recognize immediately when it happens. When your furnace short cycles, it’s not completing the heating cycle and burning up a lot of electricity as it tries to kick in again and again.

Your Thermostat Seems Inaccurate

Part of the bright designed living room with chair, table and pillows in the basket below the table, and a mirror on the wall above the table with flowers and books
Used with permission of Lisa Furey Interiors

Finally, if you notice cool air coming from your vents or the thermostat seems incorrect, it’s time to call a furnace specialist to see what’s happening. If you notice this leading to extreme temperatures, call for an emergency appointment.

Your Furnace Is More Than 15 Years Old

If your furnace is more than 15 years old, it’s likely reaching the end of its lifespan. You may not notice an issue with your furnace; it could be working fine. However, it’s around this point that things start to happen. Your furnace may not break, but it could start running more inefficiently.

Regardless of whether you notice a problem or not, this is the time to start thinking about your replacement options. Talk to a local furnace expert to determine what new, energy-efficient options are available and get a quote to start planning.

Learning to recognize these signs and get ahead of any potential issues will save you time and money while protecting your safety and comfort at home.

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