How to Diagnose Issues With Your Gas or Oil Furnace

Your central heating system is a vital part of your home. You need a working furnace that can provide warmth and comfort for you during the winter months. As a homeowner, you have a lot on your plate to make sure your home runs smoothly and efficiently. And taking care of your heating system and the boiler is just one more thing to add to the list.

No matter what kind of appliance or furnace you commit to, there is always a potential for problems and issues throughout its lifetime. Whether you have an oil or gas furnace, you need to familiarize yourself with common issues so you can keep your house in good working order.

The first thing to check is always the source of the issue. Maintain and observe your furnace regularly to make sure the fuel source is operating correctly, and the burner is free of soot. Taking extra precautions and steps will help the overall life of your furnace. Here are just a few ways you can diagnose and solve issues with your heating system.

Understand the difference between gas and oil furnaces.

When it comes to picking a new furnace, you’ll have to decide on your fuel source. When debating between a gas or oil furnace, it helps to know the cost and maintenance schedules. While an oil furnace may be cheaper to install, gas costs will be much less. Likewise, gas furnaces require less maintenance and get their fuel from a supply line rather than needing it to be stored in a special vault. Gas furnaces also release fewer carbon emissions and are cleaner overall. While both options are viable, you should weigh the pros and cons of each type of furnace for their utility, efficiency rating, and costs.

If your furnace stops working, check for small issues.

Any furnace you have will have issues from time to time. If you are noticing inconsistencies with heating certain rooms or situations where your furnace stops working, that may be a sign something is going on. Start at the source to diagnose the issue. It may be something as simple as your thermostat being too high or blockage of an air filter. You may also find something more damaging, like a leak or problem with the gas line. Small issues like cleaning the vents can usually be dealt with easily and quickly. Bigger problems may require you to call in some expert help.

Strange noises are bad, especially in a new heating system.

Maybe when you check on your furnace, you notice some weird clanging or banging noises. There are several reasons why this could happen. You may have debris in an air duct; the burner needs cleaning or loose access panels. When these issues come up, you don’t want to leave them for too long. See if you can clear out debris on your own. If you can’t, most U.S. homes work with their local HVAC company for repairs and support.

A bad smell is a sign you should call an expert.

Another sense that you should listen to is your smell. If you start to notice strange smells with your home heating, that can be a hazardous sign, especially burning gas or oil. Those are dangerous substances to be near a flame, and one spark could start a house fire. Ensure any leaks are cleared up immediately and get out of the house if you smell any indoor odors.

If you suspect serious issues during the lifespan of your furnace, the best option is to contact a professional installer or repair specialist. This can help prevent hazardous situations and furnace replacement expenses. No matter the type of system or heat source, you need to have a maintenance plan in place.

Written By
Charles Moreno
Budget Analyst | Contributing Writer
Charles Moreno

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