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Look Out for These Signs of Heater Malfunction as the Seasons Change

Cardinal heater maintenance

Solve These Heaters Issues Now, Before Winter Is in Full Swing!

For many homeowners, the days slide past quickly. Summer turns to autumn, and then autumn turns to winter before they’ve had a chance to prepare. Unfortunately, all sorts of problems can come with heating systems that have been collecting dust all year. This is why it’s a good idea to check for common heater issues before the cold sets in. Read on to discover what to look for as the days start to grow colder. 

Blowing Cold Air When the Heater’s On

One of the easiest (and most unpleasant) ways to know that a heater is malfunctioning is a lack of hot air from the vents. The first thing homeowners should check if this is the case is the thermostat. The fan control should be set to “auto,” the heater on, and the temperature at the appropriate number. 

Another common issue that can cause cold air to blow when the heater is on involves the flame sensor. If this part becomes dirty, it can malfunction. Often, homeowners will turn the heat on, feel warm air for a few moments, and then only cold air. A dirty flame sensor usually causes this, and could lead to air pollution in the home

Mysterious Noises

scared men

No heaters operate silently. But, there are normal noises and abnormal ones. It’s the latter that homeowners should look out for. These can range from squealing, rumbling, bumping, hissing, grinding, rattling, and popping. The severity of the issue depends on the specific sound. For instance, grinding often means a motor problem, while rattling may signal a loose panel.

Below are some common sounds and the issues that may be causing them. 

  • Squealing - Usually an issue with a belt. Belts can slip and cause noise, or they can get old and need replacement. 
  • Popping - When heard near vents, this is usually caused by vent expansion as they heat, which is normal. 
  • Thumping - Often a sign that the blower wheel or the motor has become unbalanced. 

Pilot Lights Should Be Blue, Not Yellow

Another common cause of home heater issues is a problem with the pilot light. Those homeowners experiencing trouble should visually inspect their pilot light. A blue pilot light is normal, while a yellow one is not. Pilot lights can also turn green and red, none of which are normal. This is typically caused by a dirty air intake valve or contamination of the gas in a furnace. A yellow pilot light may mean a carbon monoxide leak, which needs to be addressed as soon as possible. 

yellow flame

Homeowners who notice that their pilot light is not blue are advised to immediately shut off their gas and furnace and call an HVAC technician. It may be caused by something as simple as dirt or too much air, but it’s better not to take chances in these situations. 

About Cardinal Heating and Air Conditioning

Cardinal has been serving homeowners with pride since 1984. They provide honest, upfront pricing on every job. Their techs are clean, professional, friendly, and expertly trained. They’ve also been voted the best heating and cooling company in Sun Prairie five times in a row. Call them now for excellent heater services!