Just because California doesn’t get as cold as states further north doesn’t mean that no one living here needs a furnace. In fact, 2019 brought record-breaking cold temperatures and snowy weather to the sunshine state. While we hope that trend doesn’t continue into 2020, we still want to make sure you’re prepared if it does.
A good way to prepare for cold weather is to familiarize yourself with how your home’s furnace works. The most important thing you should learn about your furnace (for rather obvious reasons!) is how to tell if there’s something seriously wrong with it. We can help with that. Here are the basic things every homeowner should know about furnace emergencies and how to spot them:
What’s the difference between routine maintenance and a furnace emergency?
Routine furnace maintenance includes the efforts that keep emergencies from happening in the first place. Examples of routine furnace maintenance you should complete regularly include:
- Cleaning and replacing air filters.
- Making sure the thermostat is set and/or programmed properly.
- Keeping the blower assembly clean.
- Cleaning the ducts, vents, and fans.
- Calling a professional to inspect it at least once per year.
These are preventative measures you can take to help keep your furnace from ever facing an emergency. A furnace emergency is anytime your furnace is at immediate risk of a complete breakdown.
What are the most critical signs of a furnace emergency?
If you’re noticing one or more of these signs, it’s a huge signifier that you’re facing an imminent furnace emergency:
- You smell gas. This one is obvious, but it still bears mentioning. If you’re smelling an odd odor, that means your system could have a gas leak. The second you notice an odd smell, you need to act. Combustion gases in your home are a huge, imminent danger. When it comes to your furnace, the cause of this leak could be a damaged flue or heat exchanger. Shut the entire system down if you notice a chemical smell and immediately call for professional help.
- Your furnace has completely stopped working. If your furnace isn’t working, it’s an emergency. Especially during winter. Just because it isn’t working doesn’t mean that there still aren’t things at play within the system that could cause further harm. Get it addressed as quickly as possible so these things aren’t allowed to develop into further problems.
- Your pilot light isn’t blue. Pilot lights need to be blue. If you look at yours and see that it’s yellow, that means something has gone wrong during the process of combustion.
- You’re hearing weird, loud banging noises. Loud banging noises are usually a sign of something within the furnace being loose, damaged, or faulty. This isn’t always an emergency, but there’s a chance it is. It’s better to have the sound diagnosed instead of avoided.
What should I do if I suspect I have a furnace emergency?
Call the professionals, right away. An emergency is called an emergency for a reason. We understand that the potential financial or time loss that comes with emergency HVAC services can be daunting. That said: a significant problem left to develop further will almost always end up wasting even more of your time and money. It’s also potentially dangerous. Furnaces that aren’t functioning properly can produce dangerous levels of CO2 or, in the worst-case scenarios, lead to electrical fires.
In California, furnaces don’t get as much heavy use as in other areas of the country. That doesn’t mean they aren’t important and needed, however. That’s why the team at Mike Diamond is always ready and able to help you maintain the integrity of your HVAC system. Whether it’s for an emergency or a regular furnace tune-up, we’re only a call away.