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7 Warning Signs your Heating System needs Attention

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Chances are, your home will throw you an unexpected repair curveball at some point. Fortunately, when your home heating and cooling system needs attention, it will send out warning signs so you’re not caught off guard. Tuning in to the following seven signs can help prevent your heater from breaking down when you need it most.




1. Increased Energy Bills - If your home is kept at a reasonably comfortable temperature but produces an unusually high energy bill, it means your system is struggling to keep up with your heating needs. A sudden spike in your utility bill over the last couple of months (unrelated to extreme weather) suggests your heating system might need some attention.


2. A Sudden Onset of Health Issues - When your system isn’t working properly, it can negatively impact the quality of your indoor air. If you or your family members are experiencing new symptoms—including eye, nose, or throat irritation, a cough, or headache—your heating system may be the culprit.


3. Unusual Odors - There are three distinct odors that should alert you to a problem with your system:

  • If you smell something overheating, your system may have a malfunctioning component. If you think there’s a problem with your HVAC’s electrical system, cut off all power to the unit and contact a home comfort specialist immediately.

  • A musty smell is a sign that moisture has gotten into the air ducts, and mold is accumulating. This reduces your indoor air quality and puts those with allergies at risk.

  • A rotten egg smell could indicate a natural gas leak and must be handled immediately by a home comfort specialist. If you suspect you have a natural gas leak, evacuate your home at once and do not return until the issue has been resolved.

4. Strange Noises - A heating system in peak condition should operate quietly. If you hear unusual sounds—such as squealing, rattling, or banging—it's best to contact a professional to help identify the source. Similarly, if your system is constantly running or cycling on and off excessively, it may require repair or replacement.


5. Unexplained Water - If you see standing water where it shouldn’t be, you could have a leak, which can cause damage to your unit or home. While some equipment creates condensation during operation, these systems are designed to properly drain and dispose of water. So when you see signs of puddling, contact a skilled HVAC technician to identify the problem and render a repair.


6. Changes in Room-to-Room Temperature - A well-functioning system will have minimal temperature fluctuations around doors and windows. If you notice sudden changes in temperature between rooms or floors as well as unexpected drafts, it’s a good idea to have your system checked by a professional.


7. End of Lifespan - The longevity of a typical heater is 15 years. If you suspect your system is reaching the end of its lifespan, but don’t know the exact age, check the unit for an installation date or a code that indicates when the parts were made. If you’re seeing any of the above signs and your heater was installed close to 15 years ago, it’s a good idea to contact a home comfort specialist to review your replacement options.


Heating System Installation, Maintenance, and Repair in NH and MA

A heating system that fails in the middle of winter can be an expensive and inconvenient nightmare. If you are experiencing one of these warning signs, or are due for an annual maintenance check, schedule an appointment with one of our skilled technicians today. Our team will help you navigate the intricacies of your system and repair any trouble spots before they become worse.


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Main Stream Mechanical

25 Macy Street, Suite C

Amesbury, MA 01913

978-834-0849   |   877-800-HVAC

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About Main Stream

Main Stream Mechanical, Inc. is a full-service plumbing, heating, and air conditioning company. We service a large portion of Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.