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How to Know There’s Something Wrong with Your Furnace

Nobody likes to think about having their furnace break down in the middle of winter. Not only will it leave you without heat during the coldest months of the year, but repairing or replacing a broken furnace is expensive. 

While there will likely come a time when you have to replace your furnace with something new, you can avoid this for years by paying attention to your HVAC system and looking for signs that there is something wrong with your furnace. If you can catch these problems before they get out of hand, you can often fix them while they’re still relatively minor, which is a lot cheaper than paying for a whole new furnace. 

With that being said, here are some signs that there is something wrong with your furnace.

Higher Utility Bills

A heating bill that is higher than usual isn’t necessarily a sign that something is wrong with your furnace; it could simply mean that you’re running your furnace too much or turning your heat up too high. 

On the other hand, if you haven’t been making any drastic adjustments to your thermostat and you’re still paying higher bills, you might have a problem. Your furnace may not be as efficient as it once was, and it has to work harder just to maintain a comfortable temperature. When this happens, you should at the very least contact an HVAC professional to give your furnace a check-up.

Cycling On and Off

Whenever you adjust the heat on your thermostat, your furnace will turn on and gradually heat your home until it reaches the desired temperature. Once it gets to that temperature, it will shut itself off and only turn back on if the temperature starts to fall. Ideally, you should barely notice when this happens; you might notice a slight whoosh sound every few hours if you notice anything at all, but that’s it. If you notice that your furnace is almost constantly turning itself on and off when you haven’t been adjusting the temperature, something is preventing it from completing its full heating cycle and should be fixed.

Strange Sounds Coming From Your Furnace

A furnace that is working properly should be almost silent. You might notice the aforementioned whoosh when it turns on, but that’s it. If you hear rattling, clicking, squeaking, or popping from your furnace or your ducts, it’s probably time to schedule a maintenance call to a business that offers services in furnace replacement in St. Albert, or at a location near you.

Strange Smells

If you’ve ever been in an old building with an old furnace when the heat is turned on, you’ve probably noticed a dusty or burning smell coming from the vents. This is usually a sign that the furnace needs maintenance or the ducts need cleaning.

As unpleasant as the smell of burning dust can be, it isn’t a sign of anything truly dangerous in your HVAC system; it’s really a sign that your ducts and furnace need to be cleaned. However, if you smell rotten eggs coming from your furnace, you likely have a gas leak that could be incredibly dangerous for you and your family. Get out of your home as quickly as possible and call a professional who can fix the problem.

Cold Spots in Your Home

If you notice that certain parts of your home are always cold even when your heat is turned on, there might be a problem with your HVAC system. This could be a matter of needing your ducts and air vents cleaned, or it could be a sign that your furnace is failing. Of course, cold spots in your home could also be caused by inadequate insulation or failing weather stripping on a window, so consider all possibilities before you immediately decide that your furnace isn’t working properly.

Old Age

The average lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 20 years. While it’s unlikely that your furnace will completely break down after two decades, it will definitely be showing its age by this time. It won’t work as efficiently, it will likely make a lot of noise, and it will be more prone to breakdowns.


A furnace is something that many homeowners take for granted, but it’s just as prone to problems as any other appliance in your home. Keep an eye out for these issues, and be ready to contact an HVAC repair contractor if you suspect that something is wrong.