Preparing for Cooler Weather: Does my Furnace Work? 

Hear us out. We know it’s still blazing outside, but pretty soon you’ll need to check up on your furnace to ensure it’s good and ready for winter. We don’t want you to wait until November to understand whether your furnace is working properly, because if it doesn’t, you may be left shivering under a pile of blankets in December.

As your local HVAC technicians, Santa Fe Air wants to make sure your furnace runs smoothly this winter season. Keep reading to learn more about how to understand whether your furnace works. 

Why do I need to check my furnace anyway?

We hear this question all the time, and the answer is: for the safety of you and your family. A gas furnace can be heating fine and running just like it always has, except it may not be operating safely. Unlike the older furnaces that had no safety measures, the newer ones do, but it is still a gas appliance. Here’s what that means:

  • It has a venting system and gas piping that allow the furnace to run even if there is a problem.
  • The furnace can still produce high levels of carbon monoxide and continue to run.

If you inspect your furnace every year (or even better, have a professional do an in-depth check up), the chance of it becoming unsafe is extremely low. You should also install a carbon monoxide detector should on every level of your house. And don’t forget, all CO detectors need to be replaced every five years (the sensors go bad).

While we’re at it… 

Let’s talk about carbon monoxide

Again, you may think your furnace works, but carbon monoxide could be drifting through the vents without you knowing. 

What exactly is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas produced from burning fuels such as propane, gasoline, and heating oil. The fact that it is completely odorless, colorless, and non-irritating, makes it extremely dangerous. 


Well, our bodies need oxygen to survive, and we depend on the air we breathe for that oxygen. There’s a molecule in our red blood cells called hemoglobin that takes oxygen from our lungs and transports it to the rest of our body.

All of that is great for us, but when carbon monoxide sticks around, it changes everything. CO binds to hemoglobin 200x more easily than oxygen. That means, instead of transporting oxygen to your body, your red blood cells are transporting CO. In turn, our vital organs like our heart and brain begin to suffocate from the lack of oxygen, and that can become fatal if not treated.

A faulty furnace system that hasn’t been checked out, can cause a detrimental CO leak, and unless you have a CO detector (which you should definitely buy if you don’t have one), you won’t be able to catch a leak until it’s possibly too late. 

How to check if your furnace is working properly

At the end of the summer or early fall, go ahead and turn your heat on. We know it’s still going to be a little hot outside, but you don’t have to keep the heat on. It’s basically just a test, and when you’re done, you’ll feel more at ease. 

Before you do anything, make sure your thermostat is set to heat. You’d be surprised how many people forget to do this and believe their heating system doesn’t work. 

Alright, do you have a pen and paper ready? We’ve got you covered with a quick checklist to get your started. 

Schedule a heating system checkup

Every year you should schedule a heating system checkup with an HVAC professional. And yes, now is the perfect time to get on the schedule before things get too busy. A professional will come in, evaluate your furnace, and tell you if there are any repairs that need to be made. This will allow you to be proactive rather than reactive, which can save you a lot of stress and money in the long run. 

Replace your air filter

A dirty filter is going to make your furnace work in overdrive. That means your utility bill will skyrocket, and you still won’t be as comfortable as you’d like. If you haven’t replaced your air filter in a while, go ahead and do it now. You’d be surprised how such a small task can make a big impact on your home’s heating. 

Invest in a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat is something that people often overlook. These will ensure that you make the most out of your heating system and that your furnace doesn’t have to work harder than it needs to. As a result, you can increase your furnace’s lifespan, allowing it to operate safely for years and years to come. Plus, the great thing about programmable thermostats is that they keep the temperature in your home stable. We recommend keeping it cooler during bedtime and when you’re way to help control your energy bill costs. 

Clean the air vents

Over time, dust collects in your air vents, which cause them to become blocked and clogged. Whenever you’re vacuuming, run the hose through the air vents to ensure heat can properly circulate through your house. You’ll also help improve your indoor air quality

Replace your HVAC system

Let’s face it — an old HVAC system isn’t doing anything for you, trust us. When you hear “replace your HVAC system” you might think of the $$$ you’ll have to spend, but you’ll be saving a lot more money in the long run. An upgraded HVAC system will be more energy efficient and your home will stay warm without ruining your utility bill budget. 

Signs that your furnace may need a repair

If you’re thermostat is 100% on heat, here are some common signs that your furnace doesn’t work or you may need a repair (or replacement): 

Your furnace smells

This goes beyond that smell that your furnace emits when you first turn it on. An initial smell is normal and should go away as it continues to run. The issue comes from strong gas or fuel odors that linger or even get stronger. This could be a sign of a gas leak, so definitely call your local HVAC professional to check out the problem. 

Your furnace makes weird noises

There’s always going to be some kind of noise surrounding your furnace, but loud clanks, pops, bangs, and booms aren’t normal. Your furnace shouldn’t be making strange sounds in the night, and that could lead to even bigger problems if you don’t resolve the issue. 

Your furnace is accumulating dust

A well-working furnace is supposed to filter air so that your indoor air quality is up to par. But if you notice dust coming out of ducts or surrounding the furnace, that could signal that the filter isn’t doing its job. Clean air is important to keep you and your family healthy and safe. Sometimes you can solve the issue by simply changing the air filter. Other times, you might need an HVAC professional to do some in-depth duct cleaning. 

Your furnace pilot light is yellow

If your furnace is functioning properly, the pilot light will be blue. A yellow light is usually an indication that there’s an underlying problem like poor ventilation. However, oftentimes excess carbon monoxide will cause that blue color to change. This is something you should call a professional about right away. Seriously, don’t ever hold things off when carbon monoxide could be involved. 

Your furnace isn’t heating your home

So this may be an obvious one, but it’s still important. One of the biggest signs that your furnace needs a repair is a cold home despite you cranking up the heat. This leads to high energy bills that nobody wants to have. Instead of paying a huge bill with no payoff, schedule a repair. Usually the problem stems from leaking ductwork and bad thermostats. If you check this early on, you can catch that your furnace isn’t warming up your home before the weather starts cooling down. 

Let Santa Fe Air ensure your furnace stays in great shape

If you need help determining whether your furnace works, don’t worry! At Santa Fe Air, we pride ourselves on knowing all things heating, cooling, and electrical. We’re the best HVAC company in Kansas City, and we help people in the KC and Johnson County areas get the most out of their heating and cooling systems. 

No matter what, our customers receive pristine service each and every time. Through our dedication and care, we ensure we get the job done right the first time—no ifs, ands, or buts about it. 

Since 1987 (yep, you read that correctly!) we’ve provided the best service by treating our customers like family, keeping our word, and avoiding upselling just to catch an extra buck. In the end, you get to make the final decision about what’s best for our home to maximize your family’s comfort; we’re just here to help you get there! 

Get started today with a free online quote. 

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