Urgent Heater Issues Happen That Don’t Mean a Breakdown

Any heater problems probably seem urgent, especially if they happen when the weather’s cold. Though not every heating-system glitch indicates a winter-comfort crisis, symptoms can often be difficult to interpret. It’s helpful at this time of the year to be able to distinguish between a routine problem that a qualified HVAC technician can resolve in a single service call versus a total breakdown that requires in-depth diagnosis and/or significant component replacement. Here are some examples of urgent heater issues that may — or may not — indicate a major breakdown.

Noticeable Noises

Muffled bangs and booms coming from the ducts after the system cycles on again are often routine — simply the sound of metal ductwork expanding as it warms. A loud squeaking or screeching sound when the unit turns on, however, may indicate a loose blower fan belt, while a harsh buzzing noise might be a defective furnace blower motor that requires replacement. These are urgent heater issues in frigid weather, but they are generally solved via a straightforward fix by a professional HVAC technician.

Odd Odors

Heating-system odors should always get attention. However, they aren’t always urgent heater issues. At seasonal startup after the furnace has been off all summer, a bitter odor from the vents may be noticed. This is usually accumulated dust burning off the gas burner and should dissipate quickly. The pungent smell of natural gas, conversely, is a red flag and always a critical safety issue. Shut down the unit, get everyone out of the house and, once safely outside, call your HVAC contractor or 911 immediately.

A Tripping Circuit Breaker

Portable space heaters utilized to augment central heating are a frequent cause of tripped circuit breakers.  Space heaters often draw more watts than a basic room circuit is rated to provide. You may need an electrician to add a dedicated circuit to accommodate space heaters.

Suspect urgent heater issues in your home? Count on the service technicians at Paitson Bros. to keep your home comfortable this winter like we have every winter since 1922.

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    By Jeff Paitson
  • About Jeff

    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

    Jeff’s belief is that the business belongs to Jesus Christ; therefore 10 percent of the company’s profits go toward the Maryland Community Church.

    Jeff is a Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce member and in his spare time, he enjoys photography.
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  • About Ethan


    Ethan Ethan Rayburn is a lifelong resident of Terre Haute and a 2005 graduate of Purdue University.

    An Eagle Scout, Ethan spent four years as a non-profit executive with the Boy Scouts of America before joining Paitson Bros. as a comfort advisor and later General Manager. In that role, Ethan has brought a renewed enthusiasm for customer care, integrity, value, and service to Paitson Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning.

    Ethan enjoys singing and was a member of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club. He also enjoys playing and coaching soccer, spending time with his family and two young boys, and volunteering his time and resources with his church, Terre Haute First Baptist Church, which he has attended from a very young age.
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