7 Common Central Heating Problems (and What You Can Do About Them)

A typical furnace has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. But it won’t always be working its best. You’re sure to experience some heating problems throughout its service life.

Is your home experiencing central heating problems? It happens to everyone. If you know how to diagnose and solve the basic issues, you can avoid some big headaches and repair costs.

Want to become a savvier homeowner? Take a moment out of your day to brush up on these central heating problems and solutions.

1. Furnace Blowing Cool Air

It’s the dead of winter and you hear the air kick on, only to realize it’s lukewarm at best. That’s a troubling sign. However, it could be a simple fix.

Is your thermostat set correctly? Make sure it’s adjusted to “Cool” and not “Heat.” If the thermostat seems fine, you’ll have to diagnose the problem from the furnace itself.
Furnace Blowing Cool Air
Check the air filter and replace it if necessary. A dirty one can cause a slew of problems, and this is one of them.

Is the cold air only affecting some of the rooms? Your home may have some messy or unsealed ductwork. Check vents in other areas of the home to detect any temperature changes.

Lastly, there could be a problem with the pilot light. Most furnaces have a display that tells you if it’s working, so give this a look.

Still having heating problems? Then you should contact furnace repair professionals for help.

2. Musty Smells From Furnace

The air coming from the heater is warm — but it smells off. Although this is easy to ignore, you’d best not. The culprit could be mold, which presents a serious health hazard.

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There’s no easy way to clean this up with DIY tips. You can further diagnose the problem by inspecting different duct sections for mold. Maybe the smell is only coming from certain vents, and not from the furnace itself.

But odds are the mold is within the HVAC system. It’s commonplace since the device can provide the ideal growth environment when things go wrong.Call in an HVAC specialist right away and schedule a cleaning.

3. Furnace Keeps Cycling

Is your furnace turning on and off, over and over again? This is also known as short-cycling, and it’s a sign something’s wrong.

Some thermostats give you control over the length of individual cycles. If possible, increase yours and see if that makes a difference. You may also want to lower your thermostat’s temperature, as short-cycling could indicate your heater can’t keep up.
Furnace Keeps Cycling
Still having issues? Your thermostat could be broken even on the correct settings.Replace the filter beforehand, just to make sure.

Otherwise, install a new thermostat. If it’s still acting up, that’s when you should request professional advice.

4. No Air From Furnace

The furnace is on, but nothing’s coming out. The good thing about this ailment is it’s easy to diagnose. It’s either the blower or the motor pulley.

Disconnect your furnace from the gas and electricity. Then access the interior of the furnace. The pulley should be at the bottom of the system.

A belt, known as the blower pulley, connects the blower to the motor. If the belt is snapped or damaged, you’ll want to replace it.

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But if everything looks good here, the blower itself is likely broken or too dirty to function. At this point, seek a professional central heating solution.

5. Unusual Energy Bill

Some central heating faults don’t have immediate symptoms. But you should keep an eye on your energy bills throughout the colder months. If you see a massive energy bill with no explanation, your heater could be to blame.

As always, make sure the filter is clean so the furnace is running at max efficiency. However, the culprit is usually the outdoor heat pump.

Ice buildup or an electrical problem can impair your heat pump’s ability to function. Your heater will become less efficient in response and consume an inordinate amount of electricity.
Unusual Energy Bill

6. Furnace Won’t Turn Off

As we’ve already established, there are plenty of central heating thermostat problems. This is one of them. Maybe your furnace is running nonstop because the thermostat has been set to “Fan” by mistake.

But otherwise, the thermostat could be malfunctioning. Reset it if you think it’s gone a bit haywire.

The only other possibility is an internal issue with the blower pulley system, which we talked about earlier. However, you won’t be able to take care of this one by yourself. Disable your furnace in the meantime and call up a furnace repairman.

7. Smells Like Furnace Is Burning

Any burnt smells require your immediate attention. This scent could seep in through the air vents but also from the heating system itself. Don’t leave it on to see what happens.

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Disable your furnace right away and try to sniff out the source. If you’re lucky, you may discover that the dirt on the filter is a bit singed. Clean this up before kicking it back on.

However, the burned odor could be coming from dust or dirt deeper in the system. You may need to get the ductwork cleaned out before turning it back on.

Solve Your Central Heating Problems

The fact of the matter is all mechanical systems break down over time. You don’t want to be sitting around in the cold when central heating problems prop up. With the solutions to these common problems in mind, you may be able to solve some of them yourself.

As a homeowner, there’s a lot to learn. Stay in the know and search our website for more home advice.