Signs of Heater Malfunction During a Season Change

Solve Heater Problems Before Winter Starts

Colder days are ahead as the fall comes to an end and quickly turns into winter. Pretty soon, there will be snow on the ground instead of leaves. Homeowners should prepare for the coming winter months and make sure everything is in place to keep them cozy and comfortable. This includes checking out the HVAC system.

The heater is a critical component in the HVAC system, and in the winter, it’s used daily. A pile of blankets won’t do much good when the heater is broken, and it’s -10°F. Therefore, homeowners should pay attention to these three common signs of a broken heater and get the problem resolved before the temperatures drop lower.

Blowing Cold Air, Not Warm

One telltale sign of heater problems is when the heater starts blowing cold air instead of warm air. The job of a heater at its most basic level is to distribute warm air through the home. If it can no longer do that, there is something very wrong with it. There are several reasons this can happen.

It could be a dirty air filter blocking the warm air from traveling through the ductwork. It could be a broken pilot light. It could be a tripped breaker. Or it could even be that the thermostat is set too low. No matter the underlying cause, homeowners should treat this problem with urgency and try to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Loud, Strange Noises

Believe it or not, houses do communicate with their homeowners. Homeowners just need to listen to what the house is trying to say. When something is wrong with the heater, it will often communicate this problem through loud or unusual noises.

  • Scraping noises: Scraping and grinding noises often suggest that there is something wrong with the blower wheel. It may be failing because it’s old and worn out or because of poor maintenance. Either way, it likely needs to be replaced.
  • Banging noises: This is often a sign of an air duct issue due to temperature fluctuations. When the temperature changes frequently, it can cause the duct walls to shift and result in this loud noise. Banging noises can also be a sign of a dirty gas burner. When dirt builds up, it can delay ignition. Once the burners finally ignite, the gas buildup will result in a loud bang.
  • Screeching noises: This noise can suggest an issue with various heater components such as the blower motor, blower belt, or shaft bearings, likely due to poor oiling and lubrication of the components. Homeowners need to make sure they keep up with all heater maintenance to prevent this problem from happening.

A Yellow Pilot Light

Generally speaking, pilot lights should burn blue. This deep blue is the natural color of a flame that is receiving the right amount of oxygen. If the oxygen becomes restricted, the flame will start to turn yellow instead. The yellow flame can result in two significant problems:

  1. The yellow flame does not burn as hot as the blue flame, so it will frequently go out and cause the gas supply to shut off, resulting in a malfunctioning heater.
  2. A yellow pilot light cannot burn up all the carbon monoxide, so the poisonous gas can leak into the air resulting in serious health concerns.

The most common cause of a yellow pilot light is the buildup of dirt on the air intake valve. Once homeowners notice a yellow pilot light, they should contact a professional HVAC technician right away.

About Rosenthal Heating & Air Conditioning

Rosenthal Heating & Air Conditioning is dedicated to providing high-quality heating and air conditioning services, fast! For more than 25 years, their friendly technicians have been focused on providing comfort and safety, and they’ll do everything in their power to help solve any problem, big or small. Contact them today for top-quality heater repair in Southeast Wisconsin.