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Mike Smith Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC Blog

5 Ways to Know if Your Heater Needs Repair ASAP


Most people are experts in just one or two areas. Someone might be great at fixing cars but at a loss when it comes to computer problems. Someone might be brilliant at gardening but a terrible cook. No one should feel the need to be an expert at everything. That’s what experts are for! When it comes to your own home, you should feel empowered to learn some basics about the systems that keep it running.

While you should always leave the actual repair to the experts, you don’t have to stay in the dark about your own heating system. The most important thing to know is when to call in the experts.

How can you tell when your heater is working fine and when it’s in dire need of repair? Here are some clues you’ll spot if your heater is in trouble. 

Short Cycling

The heating cycle is meant to last 15 or even 20 minutes. If you hear your heater starting up much more often than that, it is short cycling. This can happen because of airflow problems or overheating because the limit switch will shut the system down when too much heat builds up. After it cools for a minute or two, it will try again. This constant repetition of the startup cycle wastes energy (and increases your energy bill) and also puts a lot of strain on the system. It’s time for heater repair in Sterlington, LA!

Inconsistent Heat

Perhaps the temperature fluctuates too much or doesn’t match the temperature you’ve set your thermostat to, which could be a furnace problem but could also mean your thermostat needs recalibration. Or perhaps some rooms get nice and cozy while others never get warm enough. This could mean a problem with your ductwork or, if you have a boiler, with the manifold which distributes the heat throughout the system. Either way, repairs can get your home reliably cozy again.

Strange Smells

When you first start up your heat for the season, a brief smell of hot dust is perfectly normal. This smell should clear up within an hour or so. If the burning smell doesn’t go away, or if it occurs at another time during the year when your heater has been in regular use, it’s time for repairs. And if you have a gas furnace and you smell an eggy, sulfur smell, that’s a sign of a gas leak. You should leave your home and call for emergency repairs. 


Your heating system should only make quiet, consistent noises: the hum of the heating cycle and the whir of the fan. If you hear anything surprising, it’s a sign of a problem. What might you hear? Here are some of the possibilities.

  • Whoosh-BOOM: Perhaps the ignition is delayed, and too much gas is building up before it lights.
  • Grumble-groan: The motor bearings may have worn down.
  • Screech: The belt may be tearing or coming loose from its position.
  • Rattle: A loose duct, loose screw, or off-kilter fan could make this noise.
  • Click-click-click: Take this one seriously just in case it’s a crack in the heat exchanger, which can allow carbon monoxide to escape into your home.

Now you might not be an expert, but you have a handy toolkit for making sure you know when it’s time to call one!

Contact Mike Smith Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC. We provide “Professional grade service.”

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