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Martin Heat & Air Blog

Ways to Tell You’ve Got a Faulty Furnace


When your furnace won’t turn on, you know you’ve got a furnace problem. 

When the furnace seems to turn on but the house has no heat whatsoever, you know you’ve got a furnace problem.

Those are all obvious cases. Not all furnace malfunctions are polite enough to explain to you so directly that something’s wrong. Furnace malfunctions often start subtle before they escalate and you suddenly find yourself scrambling to arrange for heating repair in North Myrtle Beach, SC from our experts.

We are always happy to help with any HVAC problem you have, and we offer 24-hour service to come to your aid. But we know you’d much rather have a healthy furnace that doesn’t interfere with your coziness on a cold winter night, and the best way to avoid emergencies is to catch furnace problems when they’re still small. You can schedule repairs at your convenience rather than the furnace forcing you. 

Let’s look over some of the ways you can tell that it’s time to schedule furnace repairs to head off much bigger problems later on.

Weird Noises

What counts as a “weird noise” from your furnace? Simple: anything you aren’t used to hearing. Furnaces make the same set of sounds when working normally, such as a whoosh as the burners ignite, some clicking as the ignition starts, some clicking as the furnace cools down, and the whir of the blower fan. Electric furnaces are even quieter. But watch out for these out-of-the-ordinary noises:

  • Mechanical grinding and shrieking
  • Persistent, loud clicking
  • Loud booming
  • Rattling and cleaning
  • Whistling
  • Electric humming

Odd Smells

Your furnace shouldn’t make any noticeable odors except for a dusty, acrid scent when it first comes on for the season. (This is just dust on the heat exchanger burning off.) If you notice odors like a rotten-egg smell, acrid burning, or mold, shut the furnace off right away and call technicians for assistance.

Abbreviated Heating Cycles

When your furnace turns on to start a standard heating cycle, it should run for at least 15 minutes before it cycles down and waits until it’s needed again. A common indication of a malfunctioning furnace is when it keeps shutting down early, often after only 10 minutes, and then turns back on again a short time later.

There are multiple reasons this may happen—and we recommend you first check on the filter to see if it’s clogged—and many of them are serious issues. Don’t let your furnace keep doing this: have professionals examine it. 

Uneven Heating

Your furnace is running and the center of the house is the temperature you expect. But you’ve got family members complaining that their rooms are too cold, or you’ve noticed areas of the house aren’t as warm as the others.

Uneven heating often warns that a furnace is losing its heating capacity for some reason, and this calls for professionals to check on it. (Although we again recommend you check on the filter first, and maybe the settings on the thermostat.) 

High Energy Bills

A malfunctioning furnace will usually expend more energy to do its job, and you’ll see this reflected in your utility bills for the month. Suspicious jumps in energy costs on those bills are often a major warning that you need to have the furnace repaired.

Rely on Martin Heat & Air. We’re more than HVAC services; we give you peace of mind. 

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