Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flip the switch to turn on your heating system when it gets chilly and it won’t start, common furnace problems can affect your home at any moment.
Regardless of the cause, understanding how your heating system works and a little bit about some frequent furnace problems is vital in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional assistance. By watching the furnace's behavior, listening for strange noises and checking for signs of damage or blockage, you can narrow down the possible causes.
If you're not sure about the problem or don't have the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like Clean Air HVAC. We can accurately diagnose the issue and perform the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace ready to go ASAP.
Here's more about what causes a furnace to leak water and eight other frequent heating issues:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water created during the combustion process is not properly draining away. This may be due to a clogged condensate drain line or a broken condensate pump. Another likely cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can lead to water—as well as dangerous gases—coming out of the furnace.
It is important to correct water leaks immediately to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Clean Air HVAC is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue successfully.
2. My Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air
Some potential causes for a furnace blowing cold air or not blowing hot air are a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a plugged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It is also possible your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety mechanism.
If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's a good idea to contact a skilled HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can provide an accurate assessment and suggest the proper solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A widespread reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home doesn’t have enough insulation, which can result in heat loss and decreased efficiency. Another reason your furnace is having difficulties is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t produce enough heat to effectively warm the space. A defective thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce inconsistent heating.
To correct this, first look at your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to keep warm air in and cold air out of your home. Also, examine the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem lingers, consider calling an experienced HVAC company, such as Clean Air HVAC, who can inspect your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or changing your thermostat settings.
4. My Furnace Is Not Working
If your furnace is not working, there are a couple of steps you can take to troubleshoot before phoning a heating specialist. Check if the thermostat is set right and the batteries are good. If the furnace still doesn't turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to make sure power is reaching the unit.
If there is power but no heat, the problem may lie with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to contact a seasoned HVAC technician for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, it means it is turning on and off frequently at short intervals rather than running in regular cycles like it ought to. This can result in inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your furnace.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be changed regularly to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is clogged with debris you should exchange it for a clean one—and be sure it is pointing in the right direction. If that doesn’t do the trick, check your thermostat and make sure it’s set right and the batteries are good.
If those two things don’t work, it’s a good idea to call experts like the staff at Clean Air HVAC. Quick professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and avoid more complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Is Making a Humming Noise
If your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a symptom of an issue with the electrical elements or the blower motor. Therefore, if you hear your furnace making a humming noise, it is crucial to take action.
If the noise doesn't go away, it is best to contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is emitting a consistent loud noise, it's important to handle the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety concerns. One common cause of this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can make a grinding or screeching sound. Another possible cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may produce a squealing or rattling noise.
Due to the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's safer to contact a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On
If your furnace will not turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the right temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are good. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't address the problem, you can inspect the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to ensure they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.
If those steps don’t do the job, phone a professional for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Like a a furnace not turning on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be the result of a dirty air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, checking the air filter and assessing your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting are a faulty igniter or faulty flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace continually attempting to ignite without success, a lack of heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be simply fixed by HVAC pros like the team at Clean Air HVAC.