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Is Your HVAC Furnace Overheating? Three Telltale Signs

Like any electrical appliance, your HVAC system’s furnace can become overheated. When this happens, not only can your system become permanently damaged, there’s also the very real potential for your home to catch fire. It is extremely important that you and your family know the signs of your furnace becoming overheated so that you can call for assistance immediately: 


1. You notice a burning smell when your furnace is running

If you have turned on your furnace for the first time at the beginning of the cold-weather season, there may be a bit of a burning odor for a half hour or so. This is normal as your HVAC system is just responding to being exposed to heat for the first time in a while (Helpful hint: having your HVAC system professionally inspected and cleaned prior to the start of the season will prevent most of the burning smell as it will remove the dust and dirt that has accumulated in your furnace and air ducts). If the burning smell persists, this could indicate a serious – and dangerous – problem. Turn off your furnace immediately and contact Pickerington Heating & Cooling at 614-837-4026 so that one of our professional HVAC technicians can assess the situation and make any necessary repairs right away.  


2. Your furnace is making strange sounds

 Anytime your HVAC system is making unusual noises, there is cause for concern. When your system is in good working order, it will run smoothly and quietly at all times. Any sound coming from it is an indication that something is not right. However, one sound in particular that you should be concerned about is a loud humming type noise. A humming sound is an indication that the furnace’s motor is becoming overheated and is about to stop working. This can happen for a few reasons:  


• The air filter is clogged

 If you don’t change your furnace’s air filter regularly, it will become clogged with dirt and debris, preventing air from flowing through. Your system will become overworked as it continuously tries to force air through the dirty filter. This will cause it to overheat and stop working. Check the air filter every 30 days during the season when your furnace is in frequent use and change it at least once during the season.  


• The vents in your home are closed or blocked

 Many people close off the air vents in rooms or areas of the house that are infrequently used (attics, basements, spare bedrooms, etc.) in order to cut down on energy use. Unfortunately, doing this actually causes your furnace to have to work harder. Your furnace is designed to heat your home based on its size and area; by blocking off the air vents to part of your home, your furnace will become overheated from “short cycling”, meaning that the furnace starts and stops more frequently than it is designed to do in an attempt to heat the full area it is intended to heat.  


• Manually changing the temperature too often

 If you constantly reset the temperature on your thermostat, it disrupts the balanced cycles your furnace is designed to operate in. Turning the temperature up and down frequently wears out the furnace’s components very rapidly. If you are in the habit of frequently changing your thermostat’s setting, do your HVAC system in your home a favor and invest in a programmable thermostat. They are designed to change the temperature setting of your furnace without a great deal of wear and tear on your system. A programmable thermostat makes it possible for you to adjust the temperature setting in your home even when you are away with the use of an app downloaded onto your smartphone. This can also save you money on your energy bills as you can set lower temperatures for times when no one is home and when the weather is mild throughout the winter season.  


 3. Your furnace is failing to complete cycles 

 When your furnace runs for only a few moments and then shuts off again, this is an indication that it is overheating. The cycles are ending abruptly in an attempt to protect your HVAC system. It happens when the heat exchanger becomes overheated to a dangerous level, and the furnace’s high-limit switch automatically shuts the system off. Turn off your furnace and contact us right away. One of our specialists will examine your furnace, determine the issue, and make any necessary repairs immediately.  


If you suspect your HVAC system may be overheating or not working correctly, do the safe thing and call Pickerington Heating and Cooling at 614-837-4026 or visit us on the web at https://www.pickheat.com/appointments/. We will send one of our licensed HVAC professionals to inspect your system and make any necessary repairs.