The heating system in your Brays Island, South Carolina, home is crucial to maintaining a comfortable home in winter. The last thing you want to worry about is experiencing a breakdown that requires a major repair or replacement. Here are five signs a heating system breakdown is imminent:

Age of the System

If your heating system is more than a decade old, it could be nearing the end of its functional lifespan. Keeping up with regular maintenance can extend the life of the system by a few years, but most equipment manufacturers recommend replacing your system after 15-20 years. Your heater may also start to wear out after about 10 years, resulting in more frequent repairs and issues.

As your system increases in age, it’s best to plan for a replacement rather than feel surprised by an unexpected repair cost. Planning ahead can also reduce the risk of having your heater unexpectedly stop working on the coldest day of the year.

Blowing Cold Air

Another warning sign of a heating issue is when you feel cold air coming through the vents. When a furnace first kicks on, the air may feel cool for a few seconds, but it should warm up quickly. Continuing to blow cold air could mean that the blower fan is malfunctioning. It could also indicate a problem with the fuel source that heats the air.

If you experience this issue in your home, the first step is checking that you’ve set the system to heat. During the fall and spring seasons, the temperature can fluctuate drastically, which could require you to use your air conditioner one day and your heater the next. If your system is on the heating function and still blowing cold air, contact an HVAC professional to take a closer look.

Rising Utility Costs

Although utility bills can fluctuate between seasons, you shouldn’t see massive changes from one month to the next or year to year, particularly if your habits haven’t changed. Rising utility bills can indicate poor efficiency, which means your system has to use more energy to heat and move air. Efficiency levels often drop as furnaces age, so an older unit could be the culprit. Other issues that can impact HVAC efficiency include damaged ductwork and broken components within the heating system.

Strange Odors and Sounds

Sounds and smells can also indicate heating system trouble. Some of the warning sounds include squealing, popping, hissing, rattling and banging. Any of these noises could mean that something has come loose in the system or a component is grinding against another. If you hear the sound of your furnace turning on and off frequently, this can indicate that it wasn’t sized correctly and has to run more often to maintain a comfortable atmosphere. Cycling on and off can also mean the system is nearing the end of its lifespan and needs replacing.

If you catch a whiff of something unpleasant, you may need to contact an HVAC service technician for a repair. A musty odor often indicates the presence of moisture in the system, while the smell of rotten eggs could mean the system is leaking natural gas. An electrical burning smell often means you have an issue with the wiring, which can be dangerous as well. Therefore, you shouldn’t ignore this issue.

Excess Dust in the Air

The quality of the air you breathe can impact your overall health and well-being. Your HVAC system plays a major role in your home’s indoor air quality. A sudden increase of dust in your home often means the system is no longer able to remove contaminants from the air.

The resolution for this issue could be as simple as replacing the air filter or having your ducts cleaned. However, older units often lose the ability to clean and moisturize the air, so a replacement may be necessary.

At Howell-Chase Heating & Air Conditioning, we can diagnose heating system problems and resolve them. Give our team call at 843-305-7965 if you notice any of these warning signs in your home.

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