How To Know If Your Heating Unit Is Failing


Having a heating unit die out on you in the middle of the winter can be a nightmare.

Aside from feeling extremely cold in your home, you may experience problems due to a lack of heat, including health issues for your family.

The worst thing about this is that many homeowners tend to overlook any signs that their heating unit is about to fail. Some don’t even bother to check it, and choose to stick with a failing unit for the coming winter.

Most heating system issues can be repaired by an hvac contractor, but don’t expect it to be cheap, especially during winter.

Heating unit repairs during winter tend to be more costly, due to the high demand.

This is why it’s best to take pre-emptive steps, to ensure that your heating system doesn’t die on you when you need it most.

1. Age of the Heating Unit

The first thing to know is that heating units aren’t supposed to last any longer than 15 years.

There are some that can last up to 20 years, but those are the most expensive and high-end options, and that’s the maximum amount of time that a heating unit can last.

If you don’t know how old your heating unit is, you should find this out before winter comes.

Almost all heating units come with an installation date sticker stuck to them somewhere. Some even display more information about the heating unit, such as when the parts were made, where they were manufactured, the name of the manufacturer, etc.

If you just moved into a house with a heating system already installed, you can contact its previous owner and ask them for the age of the unit, as well as when it was installed.

If it was installed close to 15 years ago, then it’s time to replace it with a new one before the winter season arrives.

2. Too Noisy

It’s normal for a heating unit to create noise when turned on. But if you think that your heating unit has become too loud, or you hear strange noises coming out of it, it’s a sign that it’s about to fail.

Listen for any metallic, scraping sounds. If you hear this from your heater, it could be a sign that there’s a problem with its blower wheel or motor; the best option here would be to hire a qualified professional to repair the problem.

If you continue to ignore the issue, the blower wheel will eventually disconnect or fall out of balance from the shaft, which can cause serious damage to the unit.

The motor can also break away from its mount, which can cause similar but even more serious damage to your heating unit.

Once you hear metallic, scraping noises coming out of your unit, shut it down and call a professional to have it checked and repaired.

3. Pumps Out Cold Air

If your heating unit is pumping out cold air instead of warm air, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong with it.

If you set the thermostat to 72°F, and the air coming out of the vents is chilly, then you know that there’s something wrong.

On top of the basic malfunction, cold air coming out of your heating unit can also increase your energy consumption and your utility bills.

The cold will cause you to set your thermostat to a higher level, and spend more energy to produce more heat. More energy used means higher energy bills.

So, in the event that your heating unit is pumping cold air instead of warm air during winter, it’s a sign that you should get it fixed or better yet, replace it with a new one.

4. Uneven Heating Throughout Your Home

Uneven heating throughout your home can be caused by a number of things, which can easily be solved by the homeowner.

This problem could be caused by furniture blocking the vents, which obstructs the airflow, or it could be that the air filters are so dirty as to restrict airflow throughout your entire home.

However, if these possibilities are checked and the issue still exists, it’s time to get your heating unit checked by a professional to see if there’s a serious problem with it.

If some rooms get too hot while others aren’t getting any heat at all, it’s a sign of an inefficient heating unit that’s incapable of distributing heat evenly throughout your home.

5. Increasing Energy Bills

If you’re seeing higher-than-normal energy bills but you can’t figure out why, it’s a telling sign that your HVAC unit is failing, and this applies to both your heating and cooling systems.

Your home may be adequately warm during the first month of winter, but if your energy bill is drastically higher than the previous month, it means that your heating unit is probably running inefficiently.

It might seem as if your heating unit is working fine, and is keeping your house at ideal temperatures throughout the winter but, in reality, it’s using a lot of energy to pump out warm air.

This is a good sign that your heating unit is about to fail, and needs to be replaced with a newer model.

6. Excessive Repairs

If your heating unit is constantly in need of repair for recurring issues, causing you to spend more money, it’s best to replace it with a new one.

Switch out your faulty heating unit for a new and more energy-efficient model to save on repairs, service calls, and monthly energy bills in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Depending on the severity of the problem at hand, a failing heating unit will either need to be repaired or replaced with a new one.

As you tune up your heating system for winter, don’t forget to check the most common signs of a failing unit, to help prevent problems caused by a lack of heat during the winter.

No matter what happens, don’t ignore any of these signs, as you’ll only end up regretting it in the end.


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