A typical household furnace can operate reliably for 20 to 30 years.
Of course, how long and how well your furnace serves you depends on how well you take care of it. Part of that care entails staying on the lookout for common furnace problems and dealing with them promptly.
So, what furnace issues are you likely to encounter in the course of your heating system’s lifetime? More importantly, how can you tackle these problems and restore your furnace to proper working order?
If you’re asking these questions, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a guide on furnace problems and their solutions.
Your Furnace Doesn’t Produce Heat
There’s only one reason you invest in a furnace: to have warm air throughout your home. You want everyone living in your home to be comfortable when it gets cold outside. A furnace that isn’t blowing hot air is a major cause for alarm.
So what could be the issue here?
First, it could be that the fan setting on your thermostat is on. This means that although your home furnace system is blowing air throughout your living space, that air isn’t getting warmed up. The simple solution here is to turn off the setting.
Another possible reason your furnace doesn’t produce heat is that you’ve not turned on the thermostat or set it to heat. It could also be that you’ve set the temperature setting on your thermostat too low. Check the thermostat and set it correctly.
It could also be that there’s no flame to ignite your furnace’s fuel and warm your indoor air. Your furnace’s pilot light ignites the fuel. When the pilot light has a malfunction, the flame has trouble catching, hence you won’t have warm air.
If you suspect a pilot light problem or something you can’t fix on your own, talk to this heating repair service for help.
The Furnace Frequently Turns On and Off
Typically, furnaces cycle on and off to maintain the set temperature on your thermostat. It may do so several times per hour, heating a room to the desired temperature before cycling off and then on again when that temperature drops lower than the set level.
Sometimes, however, the furnace can start to short cycle. You may notice the heating system turning on and off with abnormal frequency. That’s a sure sign that you have a problem.
The issue here might be that the furnace isn’t getting proper airflow inside the system. This causes the furnace to overheat. The safety switch in the furnace immediately shuts down the entire system, hence the frequent on and off cycles.
Often, lack of proper airflow is caused by clogged air filters. The solution is to replace the air filter. If doing so doesn’t resolve the problem, call in a furnace repair expert to inspect the heating system and fix it.
The Furnace Does Not Turn on Automatically
When there’s no issue with your heating system, it automatically turns on and starts blowing hot air after getting the signal from your thermostat. But if this isn’t happening and your indoors are getting chillier, then you have a problem.
It could be that the circuit breaker is turned off, preventing the furnace from turning on. Go to the breaker box and flip the appropriate switch to get everything working once again.
The problem could also be that the setting on the thermostat is too low. In this case, your furnace will not turn on until the thermostat registers that setting. The solution is to set the temperature on the thermostat higher.
Other possible causes of this issue include a clogged air filter or faulty ignition.
Your Furnace Is Noisy
Just about every furnace makes some noise while running. For instance, you may hear a click once your thermostat has reached a certain temperature and is sending a signal to your furnace. Once the air starts to travel through the ductwork, you may hear a whooshing sound.
The usual sounds of a normally operating furnace are relatively low and won’t bother you. But if you hear banging, knocking, scraping, or screeching, you have a problem.
A knocking or rattling sound may indicate a loose part that needs adjusting and tightening. Rumbling noises may be a sign that fuel was left in your system’s combustion chamber after you shut off the system.
Regardless of the sounds you hear, it’s best to shut off the furnace and call in a furnace repair expert.
Your Furnace Leaks Water
If you’ve noticed water pooling around your furnace’s base for a while, it’s likely that your furnace has a condensation leak.
Modern high-efficiency furnaces come with a cool exhaust feature. They have condensation pipes that direct the water formed as combustion fuel cools to a drain.
If you’ve noticed a pool of water near your furnace, it could be that the condensation pipe is clogged. It could also be that the pipe is damaged for some reason and is thus leaking. Either way, you need to get the system checked out by a qualified furnace repair technician.
Address Furnace Problems Appropriately
You depend on your furnace to keep you and your loved ones warm and comfortable when the weather gets cold, so it’s only understandable to get concerned when it starts to malfunction. Thankfully, most furnace problems are easy to fix. For more complicated issues, you can always talk to a furnace repair expert to help you out.
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