This is the time of year our service professionals get a lot of calls regarding concerns over their furnace systems. We certainly encourage you inquiring, since ignoring a potential problem could leave you with a safety hazard. This is especially true if you have an older (10-15+ years old) system, and/or a gas-powered furnace.
We’d like to give you a quick reference guide though, with our most frequently asked questions, so that you have better peace of mind. Read on as we uncover the 2 most common questions we’ve gotten this season as well as some general safety information to make sure you have a happy, safe winter ahead!
Question #1: Why Does My Furnace Smell?
Not to answer a question with a question, but, did you just turn it on for the first time this year? When homeowners switch their furnaces on after a year of non-use, it’s natural for it to have a funny smell. That is, it’s natural for a few days. Over the year, dust and debris can settle on the coils and burners. So when your furnace is running and generating heat, this dust will burn off and create a potentially unpleasant odor.
That said, if the smell persists 4-5 days or longer, it’s definitely time to give the folks at Kool Breeze a call! We’ll inspect the unit and ensure there’s not something more insidious going on, such as an electrical issue or a malfunctioning burner or heat exchanger.
Question #2: Why Is There Black Dust on My Vents?
There are a number of factors that contribute to this dust buildup—candles burning, the use of warmers, and even pet hair. There’s nothing to be concerned about! But, it can impact the efficiency and efficacy of your furnace. So, the best thing you can do is give us a call and we’ll do a thorough cleaning of your system, plus inspect your unit to ensure everything is functioning properly.
Furnace Safety Tips
Have you scheduled maintenance yet for the season? Professional, annual furnace maintenance allows our technicians to thoroughly inspect your entire furnace, inside and out. We’ll clean it and check for any parts that need adjustment or repair. This will help ensure that your furnace is operating as it should and give you the peace of mind that your heater is in good shape each and every year. Our number one safety tip would be just that—schedule annual maintenance for your furnace!
It also pays to know the signs that you need furnace service and the signs you may have a CO leak (plus what causes a CO leak).
Signs It’s Time to Call for Furnace Service
First off, how old is your furnace? Furnaces beyond 15 years of age are typically on their way out as far as useful service life goes. Beyond that point, they become inefficient and can start accumulating harmful problems like a cracked heat exchanger, which can lead to harmful CO leaks (more on that below). Other than old age, other signs you can watch out for include:
- Strange or Loud Noises from the Unit
- Odd Smells
- Higher-than-Average Utility Bills
- Low Airflow
- Cool Air Coming from the Vents
Give us a call right away if you notice any of these signs!
Warning Signs of a CO Leak
There are heat exchangers within your furnace that receive and contain the hot combustion gasses created by the furnace jets. The air coming out of your vents first goes over these heat exchangers. If a heat exchanger gets damaged, however, this can allow CO (carbon monoxide) to enter your indoor air.
Every home in the country that houses gas appliances should be equipped with CO detectors. If your CO detector goes off, this is a clear sign you have a leak and you need to turn off your appliances and give an emergency call to your utility company. Other signs you have a CO leak include:
CO is a tasteless and odorless gas, and it’s vital that if members of your household are experiencing these symptoms, you have it checked out.