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Olive’s Guide to Red Flags for Heating Repair


It’s deep winter. Sometimes the temperatures will rise a bit, and then they’ll fall into the deep blue. That doesn’t mean you have to have the blues, however. Winter is often lovely and festive, and I’m not just saying that because I have a nice warm fur coat. I say it because I know the power of a great heating system at keeping families warm until the spring thaw arrives.

Everyone here at MK Russell & Abbott wants you to keep enjoying that pleasant warmth in your home. That’s why the staff asked me to type up a list of warning signs that you may need our assistance to repair your heater. (Why did the job fall to me? The rest of the staff is out helping repair people’s heaters!)

Funky Odors

Are there strange smells coming from the vents in your home? An acrid burning smell, or a musty odor? These aren’t good signs, and can indicate a number of different problems. The acrid odor could mean a clogged filter (that’s simple to fix) or a motor that’s burning out (that requires professionals to fix). Musty odors can indicate mold growth somewhere, which is something that can affect heat pumps. Professionals will pinpoint the problem.

Bizarre Sounds

This is one of the most common types of warnings, and it covers a wide range of different noises.

  • Grinding: Likely a motor that’s straining or burning out.
  • Clanking: Something is wrong in the air handler, such as a bent fan blade.
  • Hissing: In a heat pump, this means that the system is losing refrigerant.
  • Clicking: For a furnace, a clicking sound after the blower turns off might be a cracked heat exchanger—and this is something that requires professional repair immediately.

Lying Thermostat Numbers

You set the thermostat to a nice warm temperature (not too high, please; that’s a waste of energy), but then the house simply doesn’t feel like it’s warm enough. Is the thermostat number a lie? Well, it might be: broken thermostats can happen, and usually they’ll need to be replaced. But it might be something wrong in the heating system itself.

Pilot Light Changing Color

If your home has an older gas furnace that still uses a pilot light to ignite the burners (newer models have electronic ignition systems), changes in the color of the flame from blue to yellow, green, or red are big warning signs that the furnace needs to be repaired.

Frightening Heating Bills

You don’t want to look at your heating bill and suddenly feel a sense of dread because it’s higher than you’ve ever seen it. But if this should happen, please don’t panic. This is an opportunity… to have the heater fixed and get those bills back down to normal! After you check on the air filter to make sure that it isn’t clogged, get in touch with our repair people.

It’s easy to call for furnace repairs in Friendsville, TN—or repairs for any kind of heating system—we’re here to see you get the help you need.

Stay warm,