Everyone notices how pleasant and relaxing it is when winter is gone for good. But most people don’t notice all the hell their heating system has been through that makes this welcoming time of peace so apparent.

Think about a home without a heater and the temperature is somewhere in the 40-degree range. Chilly, isn’t it? That’s why heating for cold winter months is a big necessity.

Americans take their heating systems very seriously. As a matter of fact, American homes use air-tight sealants that control interior air leakage rates from 15% to 50%.

Despite this, just like any other appliance, heaters can become dysfunctional or lose efficiency while operating seemingly normally. These indicators may be quite subtle. Thus, we must equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge about these systems.

In this article, we will talk about the warning indications that your heating system could be broken and what you can do to keep it in excellent working condition.

How To Tell If Your Heater Is Broken

Blowing cold air

This is among the most typical indications that a heater is broken. If you ever experience cold air from your heater, you must not ignore this. Sometimes, having a preset temperature on your system and failing to change it might occasionally be the cause of this.

Even if it occasionally happens, consider consulting an experienced HVAC technician.

Strange noises

A heating system making a pounding noise often means that something is damaged or has become loose in some other way. If you occasionally hear something striking against something within, like a belt, something could be wrong.

Any pounding, scraping, screeching, or rattling coming from your appliance is cause for concern.

Prevention is better than cure. Hence, the issue should be identified before it worsens.

High power consumption

Once you turn on the heater for the winter, you may expect a rise in your power bills. Even if the weather has been quite steady, you still want to be on the watch for a sudden, rapid spike. The abrupt increase indicates that the system is operating more aggressively than is necessary.

Help should be sought if the change is accompanied by less heating.

Frequent alerts from Carbon monoxide (CO) detector

The HVAC system constantly emits carbon monoxide. It is produced as a result of the combustion of fuels to generate heat. CO is a lethal gas that has no color or odor.

We have carbon monoxide detectors in our house because, without them, you wouldn’t realize there was an issue until you felt the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

In most cases, when everything is working properly, carbon monoxide is expelled from the house via the exhaust system. However, if your heater fails, the gas might build up inside your home and be lethal.

The first signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are nausea or headaches, followed by absolute unconsciousness.

Uneven temperature in the house

If your home has an HVAC system installed and there is just one thermostat, heat should be available in every room with a radiator. Your heater is malfunctioning if you switch on the heat and discover that only half of your house is at the proper temperature.

It’s possible that some of the rooms in your house are inadequately or completely uninsulated. . If that’s the case, house insulation will solve the issue; if it still doesn’t work, your heater is probably faulty.

How to keep your heater running in good condition

Change air filters regularly

According to Energy Star, you should change your air filters every three months. This includes not only those from your central air conditioner but also those from your heater.

Dirty air filters restrict the blower of your heater from moving air through your home’s ventilation system. If you leave the filter unused for an extended period of time, it may become clogged with dust, dirt, and other debris.

Air filters that are clogged not only contaminate your indoor air and can cause allergies and disease, but they also make your unit work harder than it has to. This might cause damage and repairs to your heater over time.

Keep the system clean

Your system’s functionality and heating efficiency will both be improved by flushing out that caked-on filth. There may be certain safety issues while cleaning the heating unit’s inside crevices. So instead of attempting to clean it yourself, we advise you to get in touch with a qualified HVAC service firm.

On the other hand, cleaning the exterior unit is considerably easier. Take away any items, such as boxes, documents, furniture, and storage containers, that are close to or on top of your unit. Keep these items at a safe distance from you and your family in order to avoid any ventilation problems and reduce the chance of a fire.

Proper insulation

Your home will remain warm and keep the cold away if the insulation is installed properly. You can ensure that all the air in your home stays inside by sealing gaps and holes, which will allow your heating system to run more efficiently.

Regular maintenance

Professionals should do routine maintenance checks on the heating system, especially as winter approaches. This way, you won’t have to wait in subfreezing temperatures if your heating system has to be replaced or repaired.

In a similar vein, it means that you will be completely at ease knowing that your heater is in top working order when the temperature does begin to drop. The likelihood that your heater may break down when you start using it in the winter will rise if you neglect routine or yearly inspections.


Heating systems can be complicated, and like any other appliance, they could become dysfunctional at some point. If you suspect that your heater is not working properly, make use of this guide to gain a clearer understanding of your system’s issues.

If you are unclear about the best course of action, you should consult with a reliable HVAC specialist to better understand your situation.

Christopher Gray

Christopher Gray

Christopher Gray, an accomplished professional with over a decade of experience in the technical and mechanical domain, is known for his in-depth articles that simplify complex concepts. Christopher holds a Mechanical Engineering degree. Before dedicating himself to writing, he worked with leading engineering firms, gaining hands-on systems design and maintenance expertise. When not delving into the latest industry trends, Christopher enjoys model building and exploring historical sites.

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