Now that fall is in full swing, many homeowners struggle with whether to turn on the heat or hold out a little while longer. Regardless of which camp you fall into, one thing is certain – you have to turn it on eventually. And when you do, you want it to work.

But we all know how tough Nebraska winters can be on heating systems. And with constant use, the risk of breakdowns increases, especially with older systems. The good news is that, oftentimes, a heating system lets us know that something is amiss. All you have to do is pay attention.

Be on the lookout for these 6 early warning signs that your heating system needs some attention.

Age of System

Nothing lasts forever, heating equipment included. As heating systems age, they begin to exhibit more frequent malfunctions, indicating that they are approaching the end of their expected lifespan. Check the age of your system and if you notice an increase in the frequency and cost of repairs, it may be time to budget for a new, more energy-efficient model.

Frequent Repairs

While an aging system may experience an increase in repairs, a younger unit that is poorly maintained or improperly installed can also experience more frequent breakdowns. Either way, it’s best to have your system looked at by a licensed pro to decide the right course of action.

Higher Heating Bills

As a system ages, it loses it’s ability to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. This loss of efficiency translates into higher utility bills as the system struggles to provide the warm air it used to with ease. If you’re noticing higher than normal heating bills that can’t be explained by rate increases or usage, it could be the system to blame.

Unusual Noises

Other than the subtle sound of cycling on and off, your heating system should not be making noise. If you hear popping, grinding, banging, or clanking, have your system checked out by a licensed HVAC professional. Depending on the cause, you may be looking at a simple fix or a more costly repair and even replacement.

Unusual Odors

Take note of any strange smells coming from your heating system. A burning smell can be a sign that a component is overheating. A musty smell often indicates the presence of moisture and potentially mold in the air ducts. A rotten egg smell indicates a natural gas leak. Evacuate your home immediately and contact your gas company from a safe location.

Pilot Flame Color

A gas furnace should have a steady, vibrant, blue flame. A weak or flickering flame may indicate that gas is not being completely burned. A yellow flame is a strong indicator that carbon monoxide is not venting away from the system safely. Call a licensed HVAC company right away.

Whether you think it’s time for a new heating system, or it’s been a while since yours was inspected and tuned-up, contact Zach Heating & Cooling. Our family of home comfort specialists is trained and equipped to install, service, and maintain all makes and models of heating systems so you can rest assured you’ll be toasty warm all winter long.