Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to turn on your heating system in the fall and it won’t start, common furnace problems can impact your home at any moment.
Regardless of the issue, knowing how your heating system works and a little bit about some common furnace problems is essential in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional support. By monitoring the furnace's behavior, listening for unusual 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 aren't equipped with the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like Strine's. We can accurately pinpoint the issue and perform the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace working again ASAP.
Here's more about what causes a furnace to leak water and eight other frequent heating dilemmas:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water released during the combustion process is not properly draining away. This could be due to a blocked condensate drain line or a malfunctioning 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—escaping from the furnace.
It is imperative to correct water leaks promptly to prevent more damage to your furnace. Contacting a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Strine's is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.
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 include a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a plugged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It also may be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety precaution.
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 offer an accurate assessment and suggest the proper solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A frequent reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home doesn’t have enough insulation, which can lead to heat loss and lower efficiency. Another reason your furnace is having difficulties is because it’s not powerful enough for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to effectively warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in uneven heating.
To correct this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to insulate your home. Also, look at the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem won’t go away, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Strine's, who can inspect your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or adjusting 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 pro. Check if the thermostat is set correctly and the batteries are fresh. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to make sure power is reaching the unit.
If there is power but your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may lie with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's a good idea to consult a knowledgeable HVAC technician for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, this means it is turning on and off frequently at short intervals rather than running in regular cycles like it ought to. This can lead to inefficiency, increased energy consumption and potential damage to your unit.
If you think your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to check 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. Second, check your thermostat and look to see if it’s set right and the batteries are good.
If those two things don’t work, it’s smart to call experts like the staff at Strine's. Immediate professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and prevent 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 an indication of an issue with the electrical hardware or the blower motor. For this reason, if you hear your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.
If the noise doesn't go away, it is better that you employ a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is making a consistent loud noise, it's important to deal with the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. One common problem that causes this is a broken blower motor or fan, which can make a grinding or screeching sound. Another common cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may emit a squealing or rattling noise.
Given the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's better to contact a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On
If your furnace refuses to turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the desired temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't take care of the problem, you can examine 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 get the job done, 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 plugged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, examining the air filter and taking a peek at your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other likely causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Signs of these include the furnace continually attempting to ignite without success, an absence of heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be very easily addressed by HVAC pros like the team at Strine's.