There’s nothing quite like waking up on a cold morning to find your house is almost as cold inside as outside. Or to turn up the heat to get things a little warmer only to find there’s no heat coming out.
Furnace problems are no fun, in fact, they’re downright worrisome. How will we stay warm? How much will the repair cost?
Don’t assume because you don’t have heat the worst has happened. Sometimes when a furnace is not working it can be something small and easy to fix.
Read on for 9 common furnace problems to consider if you are not getting heat from your furnace.
When a furnace isn’t producing heat, one of the most common problems is related to the furnace filter.
From just doing their job day in and day out the furnace picks up dust and dirt from your home and inside the ductwork. That’s the whole job of the filter, to catch that before it gets to the mechanical parts of the furnace.
When the furnace filter is dirty, it can move the warm air from the furnace and you won’t feel it in your house.
Replacing your furnace filters should be part of your regular furnace maintenance.
The thermostat tells you what temperature it wants the furnace to heat your house. It tells it to turn on if it’s cold and likewise to click off if it’s at the desired temperature.
Your furnace could be in perfect working order and the problem is with the thermostat.
First, make sure the thermostat is actually turned on. It can’t tell the furnace to work unless it is powered on. Be sure to check the batteries on your thermostat. Changing thermostat batteries should also be part of your regular maintenance routine.
3. Electric Ignition or Pilot Light
If your furnace won’t turn on, once thing to consider is the pilot light.
If you have an older furnace that runs with a constantly lit pilot light and this blows out, your furnace won’t click on to make heat. The pilot needs to be relit.
If you have a more modern furnace, an electric ignition lights your pilot light as heat is needed. If your ignition system runs with a thermocouple, it might be time to call the furnace repair service.
Airflow issues can arise in a few ways. The first was already addressed, through your air filter if it’s clogged.
If air is not coming through your vents, check to make sure the vents are opened up.
Another issue related to airflow is leaking in your ductwork. The furnace might be making the heat but before it can be delivered to the rooms in your house it’s escaping.
Finally, be sure to look around your furnace. So many people pile things in their basements and the furnace area gets more and more congested and even dirty. This prevents the furnace from working at its peak.
5. Heat Exchanger
Your furnace has something called a heat exchanger. Over time, with no regular maintenance, the heat exchanger can start to crack.
If the heat exchanger starts to crack, carbon monoxide can be released back into your home. If you have a carbon monoxide detector (and you should) and it is giving you warnings, it’s time to have your furnace checked out.
Regular furnace maintenance helps to avoid this issue.
When a furnace is cycling it means it is turning on and off over and over again.
This doesn’t make for good energy efficiency and indicates there is some problem going on with the furnace.
Often a cycling furnace means the filter is clogged and air can’t get through causing the furnace to turn on and off.
If the furnace filter is good and there appears to be good airflow around the furnace, you want to contact a furnace specialist as there may be something more serious going on.
7. Not Enough Heat
Again, check the filter as this often the cause when the furnace is producing heat but just not enough.
If the filter is clean and you are still not getting enough heat, make sure the vents in the cold room are open.
Check the airflow around the furnace air.
Is there a big temperature differential between rooms? Start to look at visible ductwork. Feel the ducts for warmth or warm air escaping.
If none of these are the answer, it’s time to bring in the furnace specialist.
8. No Heat
If your furnace is producing no heat, don’t panic and assume the worst.
First, check the thermostat is on, clicked to heat and has good working batteries. Once those things are checked, try turning the thermostat up to see if it will kick on and get you heat.
It might also mean the circuit breaker blew. Flip the circuit breaker switch on your electrical panel and then click it back on.
If those things don’t work, it’s time to call the professionals.
9. Noisy Sounds
You get to know the sounds of your furnace. You hear it click on. You hear the blower sending warm air into your ducts. You know what it sounds like when it clicks off too.
If suddenly, you are hearing out of the ordinary sounds from your furnace, pay attention. Your furnace should not squeak, rattle or rumble.
Again, it could be a sign of something minor like a clogged furnace filter.
It could also be a sign there is a belt loose or some pending mechanical issue. If you go through this checklist and are still hearing out of the ordinary noises from your furnace, call in a professional for an inspection.
Avoid Furnace Problems and Stay Warm
Your furnace is one of those things in your house you just rely on to do its job and keep you warm. Yet, your furnace needs a little love on occasion to keep everyone warm.
Be a smart homeowner and practice regular furnace maintenance to avoid unwanted furnace problems.
If you find something a little out of your expertise level, contact us. We can help get your furnace in good working order in no time. We even offer 24-hour emergency service if you need it.Time for an HVAC Upgrade? » « Virtual HVAC Diagnostics are Now Available