How Do I Know if My Heating System Needs Repair?

cold woman wearing winter clothing and blanket indoorsNow that Old Man Winter has arrived on Long Island, you probably have needed to use your heating system to stay warm and comfortable. If your home isn’t as comfortable as you’d like, though, your heating system could use a check-up. Often, heating systems don’t just stop working altogether – there are indications that they may need repairs that occur before a complete breakdown.

The good news is that by recognizing the signs that your heating system may be in trouble, you can often prevent much more expensive repairs or replacements. In this article, we’ll talk about the various types of heating systems most people have in their homes and some of the signs they may give if they need service. And, we’ll tell you how T.F. O’Brien can help. Keep reading to learn more!

Signs Your Heating System May Need Service

It can be difficult to know if your heating system needs repair. Sometimes, finding the signs your specific equipment type might give isn’t easy. Below, we’ve outlined some of the signs for each type of heating system we install – learn more below:


Most people in the Northeastern part of the U.S. have furnaces installed in their homes. Furnaces use fuel, such as gas or oil, to supply heat throughout the home. Here are a few things you should be on the lookout for if you suspect your furnace isn’t working properly:

  • Higher than usual energy bills
  • Foul or burning odors
  • Unusual noises like grinding or squealing
  • Uneven heating throughout the home
  • Carbon monoxide alarm sounding

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, you should have your furnace checked out by a professional HVAC technician as soon as possible. If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, you should leave your home at once and call 911. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause serious illness and can be fatal.


Boilers are the second most common type of heating equipment in the Northeast. Using gas or oil, they heat water which is then sent to radiators in each room of your home. The radiators then provide your home with the warmth it needs to keep you comfortable. If your boiler isn’t working effectively, you may notice the following:

  • Radiators not heating well/no heat at all
  • Signs of water leakage near or on the boiler
  • Unusual noises such as pops and pings
  • Low water pressure
  • The pilot light will not stay lit

If you’ve checked your thermostat and that doesn’t seem to be the problem, the next step is to call your HVAC professional. Please note that a leaky boiler can do a lot of damage to your home quickly, so if you notice water collecting around your boiler or see an obvious leak, call as soon as possible.

Heat Pumps

While both ducted and ductless heat pump systems have been used for quite some time in the Southern U.S., they are steadily gaining popularity in the Northeast. That’s because heat pumps offer effective, efficient heating and cooling, all in one unit. If your heat pump needs repair, it will show some signs, including:

  • Increased energy bills for no apparent reason
  • Ice on the coil on the outdoor component
  • Short cycling
  • Poor airflow (this can indicate leaks in ductwork or a clogged filter)
  • Constant operation (please note, during extremely cold weather your heat pump will run more frequently)

Not only is it important to get your heat pump checked as soon as possible if it isn’t heating your home properly, but you’ll also want to consider that you’ll need it for cooling during the summer, too. While it can provide you with high-efficiency, year-round comfort, a problem that goes unchecked can spill over into the next season when you need it for cooling – and nobody wants a total breakdown on a hot summer day!

How can T.F. O’Brien help me get my heating system repaired?

At T.F. O’Brien, we take great pride in providing our customers with complete heating services for furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps, including repair, maintenance, and installation. Our skilled technicians can easily troubleshoot your system and provide effective repair services, helping you and your family get back to comfort quickly. If you need heating repairs, don’t wait – give T.F. O’Brien a call at 516.488.1800 and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment with you.