As the leaves turn to vibrant red, orange and yellow, and the autumn air turns crisp and cold, heating season is heading into full swing. Now is the time to troubleshoot potential furnace issues, before they become more serious. Here are a few potential watch outs and tips on how to address them:

Your furnace doesn’t put out heat:  Is the gas on? Are registers open and clear? Is your thermostat physically set to “Heat.” Make sure it’s on Heat and set the temperature high enough to turn on the furnace. If your thermostat uses batteries, versus being wired into the house electrical system, they may simply need replacing. Fixing these simple things will most often solve the problem! 

The heat smells funny:  Filter maintenance prevents buildup of grime that can smell. Also, make sure the area around your furnace is clear and clean, with no risk of anything coming in contact that could cause an odor or worse.  If, however you ever smell gas, leave the premises immediately.  Do not attempt to find the problem, look for a leak or tinker with the furnace.  Move to a safe place and call 911 to dispatch trained professionals.   

There are strange sounds:  Rattling sounds when you first turn on heat can indicate loose screws or fasteners on the furnace exterior that are easy to tighten.  Benign popping sounds may occur as metal heats/expands and then cools/contracts.  However, if such sounds persist or worsen, call a professional.  If the sounds are grinding, scraping, squealing or thumping, you should call right away.  

Your heat is not running as efficiently: Make sure that you chance your furnace filters monthly. Clogged filters cause heat and pressure to build in the furnace. Newer furnaces sense this and may shut down. Older furnaces continue running, but with less heat output.

Schedule an annual check-up: It is recommended that you have your HVAC comprehensively checked and tuned-up annually.  A professional furnace technician is qualified to check, clean and assess all key connections, motors, burners, pressures and other parts and systems to ensure your gas furnace is operating safely and optimally.  They can also find issues or repairs that the untrained eye might miss.

Maintaining your gas furnace can be simple and cost effective. With winter months soon ahead, there’s no better time than today to make a maintenance appointment.