A furnace is indispensable in most areas of the country, especially during winter months when the weather becomes unbearably cold. Indeed, your heating system provides you great convenience and makes your home a comfortable place to live in.
Without it, you would have to bundle up and huddle around the fireplace just to stay warm. With the modern convenience of furnaces and other heating systems, however, you can move around your home at ease. Unfortunately, like any complicated piece of machinery, furnaces eventually develop problems and require repairs and/or replacements.
In order to keep your furnace efficient and effective, regular maintenance is required. In addition to preventing problems down the road, annual furnace maintenance also keeps your warranties in effect. While fall furnace maintenance can prevent most problems from developing in the cold winter months, there is still a chance of running into the following furnace troubles.
Top 7 Furnace Problems
Here’s a list of the most common furnace problems you want to watch out for this fall and winter.
1. Dirty Filters and Dirty Air
Dirty filters may not seem like a big concern for most of you, but they are extremely significant for the efficiency and performance of both your cooling and heating systems. Since the air in your home is constantly flowing through your air filter, dirt and dust is picked up every time the system is running. These airborne particulates can quickly clog the filter, affecting both airflow and air quality.
When that happens, your furnace (or air conditioner, depending on the season) will find it more difficult to work efficiently. In fact, clogged filters may even cause the system to shut down. This is a safety mechanism on newer systems to prevent further damage to the system due to dirty air and lack of airflow. If your furnace won’t start, the first thing you want to check is the air filter. Often, just by cleaning or replacing your air filter, you can get the system running again. Learn your different air filter options and how to clean/replace a furnace air filter.
Replacing your air filter is the most important thing you can do as a homeowner to maintain your heating and cooling systems. Not only will it help keep your HVAC system running at peak performance levels, it will also help improve the quality of your indoor air.
Here are some of the advantages of regularly replacing your air filter:
- Lower energy bills
- Improved indoor air quality
- Reduced stress on HVAC components
- Prevents breakdowns and other HVAC problems
2. Malfunctioning Electric Ignition and Pilot Control Issues
When these parts get damaged, it will be difficult to keep your home or business warm. So be very observant and seek the help of professionals once you encounter problems. Remember, a malfunctioning pilot light may be caused by thermocouple issues, drafts, or clogs in the heating system.
In order to maintain an efficient furnace, you will want to make sure your pilot light is healthy. You can observe your pilot light flame by following the steps below:
- Remove the furnace cover panel and look at the pilot light flame. Bad pilot light signs include:
- Yellow, orange, red or purple flames
- Flickering, wavering, or splitting flames
- Flames higher than 2 inches or shorter than 1 inch
- If you have a natural gas furnace, the flame should be a bright blue with a little tinge of orange or yellow on the tip. Propane-fueled furnaces should have a bluish-green flame with a small yellow tip. If the flame is not blue, contact an HVAC professional right away.
- If the pilot light is completely out, you can relight it by following the furnace’s owner manual and manufacturer instructions. Sometimes, the instructions are attached to the furnace. If you have any doubts or questions about relighting your pilot light, contact R. A. Styron.
If your furnace pilot light is not blue, that’s a sign that your fuel is not burning correctly and/or efficiently. Don’t try to correct furnace flame color yourself. Contact a professional if your pilot light is any other color than blue.
If you smell gas, turn off your HVAC system, evacuate the home, and call your local gas company. Then contact your HVAC company.
3. Faulty Thermostat
A faulty thermostat may lead to problems with the furnace’s fan or may also affect your home’s comfort levels. In other words, the furnace may not be able to warm up your home when the thermostat is not working.
Here are some quick thermostat troubleshooting tips:
- Make sure the thermostat is set to “heat” and the fan set to “automatic.”
- You may need to change the batteries.
- To avoid false reading, make sure your thermostat is located away from all heat sources, including direct sunlight, heating vents, cooking equipment, space heaters, and lamps. If you need to relocate your thermostat, contact a professional HVAC company.
- Use a leveling device to make sure the thermostat is completely level. If you have a mercury thermostat, the thermostat will not work properly if it isn’t level.
4. Furnace Not Heating Up at All
If a furnace fails to warm up your home at all, it may have issues with the thermostat setting or its power supply (electric or gas). It could be caused by a damaged pilot light, too.
Make sure your thermostat is set to “heat,” not “cool” or “fan.” If the thermostat has batteries and is set to the proper settings, but still isn’t blowing warm air, then contact the professionals at R. A. Styron.
5. Frequent On and Off
If your furnace turns on and off quite too frequently, it may indicate a clogged filter, a wrong thermostat setting or improper airflow. After checking things like dirty air filter and thermostat settings, have professionals check the appliance for you.
6. Continuously Running Blower
If your furnace’s blower continuously runs, there may be a problem with the limit switch. If the problem is confirmed, that part should be replaced immediately.
7. Noisy Furnace
A noisy furnace that produces rumbling, rattling or squeaking sounds isn’t in good condition at all. These kinds of reverberations indicate a problem with the appliance itself, a clogged burner or airflow issues.