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What Happens If You Neglect Servicing Your Heater in Big Bear?

Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating


As we prepare for the fall and winter seasons in Big Bear, we must take the necessary steps to ensure a warm and comfortable home throughout the cold months. Most wise homeowners take the time to winterize their plumbing, clear out debris from their drains and gutters, and bring in personal items for safekeeping. Despite these preparations, many people overlook the importance of servicing their heaters before the cold arrives. 

The purpose of this article is to discuss some consequences of not performing routine maintenance on your heater in Big Bear. To help you prepare for another cold season, we will also provide common signs that signify a required tune-up for your heater. 

What If You Don’t Service Your Heater?

Neglecting servicing your heater is neglecting its health. The results of such neglect will range from excessive repairs to poor air quality or an early heater replacement. Let’s look at some of the most concerning problems caused by a lack of heating maintenance. 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

As local experts in heating, the Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating technicians are most concerned with carbon monoxide poising. In fact, it is often dubbed the “silent killer.” This problem is caused by a crack in the heat exchanger, the heater’s component that removes toxic gases. 


As the heater expands and contracts during the exchange of temperatures, it tends to develop cracks. These cracks are small but grow over time. During maintenance visits, a heating technician will assess the heat exchanger for cracks and provide the necessary Big Bear heater repairs


The inspection for gas leaks alone is a good enough reason to service your heater, as carbon monoxide causes grave and often irreversible damage. According to the National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Association, carbon monoxide poisoning leads to 1,200 deaths and 50,000 emergency room visits. 

Poor Indoor Air Quality

Maintaining indoor air quality is another reason to keep up with heating maintenance.  The furnace inside your home accumulates dust, grime, and debris. All that gunk will travel through the air duct, vents, and into your home. With time you will notice an increase in humidity and mugginess inside your home. You may also experience more significant accumulations of dust which lead to allergies, asthma, chronic respiratory issues, headaches, and other adverse health events. 


It is also not uncommon to see the development of mold in the furnace, especially if your home was recently treated for mold. Because it travels through the air, it may spread into the ducts and vents. A heating service technician will ensure there are no signs of decay in the vents and other components of the heating system. Angi’s List describes how to spot mold in your furnace and how it will affect your home. 

Increased Repairs

An obvious sign of heating service neglect is an increase in repairs. Regular inspections and tune-ups will prevent many repairs and prolong the lifespan of your unit. In Big Bear, we see the following common repairs in neglected heating units: 

Broken Blow Motors

Blow motors age with time and shift from their position. If their displacement is neglected, they will eventually break into smaller parts and scatter throughout the system. The great danger in this happening is that sometimes those parts will fall into the electrical system of the furnace. This problem may ignite a fire or cause the entire system to shut down. 

Clogged Furnace Burner

With time, your furnace will accumulate a buildup of gas in its burner, which a professional heating technician must clean. If this clog continues to go unnoticed, it will eventually create a blockage and a subsequent explosion. 


As if the explosion won’t cause enough damage on its own, the accumulation of gas buildup with cause corrosion in the furnace and burner nozzles. We see these issues happen in many gas furnaces, but they are entirely preventable by a regular heating inspection.   

Getting Stuck Without Heating During the Winter

All issues of increased repairs, poor air quality, and carbon monoxide leaks will lead to one main problem during Big Bear’s winter, no heating in the home. While some areas throughout the country can fare well without the convenience of heating systems, in Big Bear, it can be dangerous. 


With an average temperature of 23°F in December, Big Bear residents simply cannot afford to skip out on servicing their heating systems. As luck would have it, the most significant heating problems present themselves in the most inconvenient times when it is freezing outside. 


If you’re a resident in Big Bear, CA, and require emergency heating services, get service now by contacting our office through our webpage or telephone. Our team is on standby 24/7 to see to your heating needs!

Signs That You Need Your Heater Serviced

Heating maintenance inspections can be likened to an annual physical at a doctor’s office. Heating technicians check vital signs, such as static pressure, airflow, and bulb temperature, to ensure the unit is in good health. During this inspection, the tech will also address any of the following signs of needed heating repairs: 

Increased Energy Bills 

If you notice a steady increase in your energy bills, it may cause a poorly maintained heating unit. When energy bills go up without an increase in heating use, it is a sign of poor efficiency of the unit. This decrease is caused by a variety of factors, including the following: 

Clogged Air Filters

When air filters are packed with dust and debris, they begin to block the air from circulating throughout the home. This blockage causes the heater to work harder to warm the house, doubling the energy it uses. On average, residents in Big Bear must change the air filters every two months. 

Air Leak

Sometimes air ducts develop cracks that leak air before it can circulate through the vents. When this happens, the furnace sensors pick up on the inconsistency and will cause the heater to work harder. 

Dirty Igniter

We briefly mentioned the implications of a clogged burner or igniter above. This blockage caused by a gas buildup will slow the heat exchange in the furnace. It will also affect the efficiency of your heater and drive your bills up. One of the telltale signs of a dirty igniter is when the pilot light on the furnace turns yellow. Contact a heating repair tech to schedule service if you see this light. 

Loud Noise Coming From the Furnace

The amount of noise a furnace can create can be substantial, depending on its condition and age. However, when a heating unit is neglected of routine service, we encounter the following sounds in the heaters of Big Bear’s residents: 


Loud Popping

Popping or banging sounds are a result of a clogged burner or igniter. A heating technician must thoroughly inspect this sound to avoid significant problems in the future. 

Scraping Metal

When metal parts scrape against each other, it is usually caused by loose moving parts that are displaced within the unit. An excellent example is a loose blow motor that can also break after colliding with other unit parts. 


If you hear flapping, paper or a leaf may be stuck inside the unit’s vents. Though it may seem simple enough to retrieve, we recommend bringing a professional to do this repair. There is usually a clause in the warranty prohibiting untrained individuals from opening the unit. Doing so will void the warranty, and you may have to pay more than initially planned for repairs or replacements. 


In the event of a high-pitched screech, you may need to have the blower checked out. Sometimes the blower’s bearings wear out and cause a rubbing or screeching sound for all to hear. This sound is unmistakable and also very annoying. 


There are other sounds that a furnace produces but in general, these four are seen in neglected heaters. As a result, it is essential to ensure that the unit is regularly serviced to avoid all these problems. Remember, the sound is only a symptom of the problem, which will grow without proper repair and maintenance. 

Foul Odors in the Home

Believe it or not, heating service neglect has a smell. That smell presents itself in various ways, depending on the issue it represents. Here’s a quick list of the types of smells we observe in neglected furnaces: 


  • Musty smells: indicate mold or mildew that has been growing for a prolonged time
  • Burning plastic smells in the vents: caused by an electric problem. If you sense this odor, turn off the furnace immediately and call a local repair tech to avoid a fire. 
  • Burning smells in the furnace: are usually caused by a significant dust accumulation.


Perhaps the most concerning smell is the smell of rotten eggs, which can indicate a gas leak. Earlier in this article, we discussed the implications of gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. If you smell this in your home, it is best to shut down the furnace and vacate your home immediately. Prolonged gas leaks can cause an explosion and adverse health effects. 


Schedule A Heating Repair Service Today!

Clearly, avoiding heating system maintenance in Big Bear will lead to great inconveniences and long cold days until the heater is fixed. At Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating, we want to help you prepare for a warm and comfortable winter season. Don’t be one of the thousands stuck in the cold this winter! Contact our office today at (909) 406-7657 to schedule a heating repair or maintenance visit today.

Related Content: 4 Reasons Why You Need To Flush Your Big Bear Water Heater

If you are looking for a Big Bear plumbing, heating & air conditioning contractor, please call (909) 584-4376 or complete our online request form.