Having adequate heat when it is cold or freezing outside is essential. Having your furnace act up when it is cold outside can cause your home to go from comfortable to uncomfortable fast. It is necessary to understand the signs that your furnace is not working correctly and that it needs emergency assistance.
Smell Heating Oil or Gas
The fuel that is used to heat up your furnace, be it natural gas or heating oil, should be contained within the system. You should never be able to smell it when your furnace is operating, or as is the case with heating oil, see it dripping out of your system. If you see or smell the fuel that powers your furnace, you need to turn off the system immediately and call for help. You may also want to get out of your home and open it up to vent. If you think you smell heating oil or gas, always take the situation seriously.
Carbon Monoxide Sensors Engaged
You can't always smell when gas is leaking out of your furnace, which is why you should have carbon monoxide sensors installed throughout your home. If your CO detectors start to sound off near your furnace, this is not something you should ignore.
You are going to want to turn off the furnace if you can do so safely. Then, you will want to open up all the windows and get out of your home. You should first call the fire department to check the CO levels in your home and turn off your gas line. You should then get an emergency heating service to come out to your home and figure out why your unit was leaking gas. A CO leak is severe and requires immediate attention from a heating service and the fire department.
A furnace is not designed to operate silently. However, it should make routine noises that you are comfortable with. If your furnace starts to make loud noises, such as rumbling, humming, rattling, banging, or squeaking sound, you shouldn't ignore those sounds. Those sounds are a sign that something is not working or operating properly inside of your furnace. Continuing to operate it when making those types of sounds could result in even more damage to the system.
If you ever see or smell fuel coming out of your furnace or your CO detectors go off, turn it off and get out of the house until emergency assistance arrives and an emergency heating repair team can assess your unit. If your unit starts to make strange, loud noises, you should turn it off and get it looked at immediately to prevent more damage to the system.