Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to start your heating system in the fall and it won’t start, common furnace problems can impact your home at any moment.
Regardless of the cause, learning how your heating system works and a little bit about some frequent furnace problems is crucial in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional services. 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 aren't equipped with the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We can accurately identify the issue and execute 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 prevalent heating problems:
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 may be due to a blocked condensate drain line or a broken condensate pump. Another possible cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can result in water—as well as dangerous gases—coming out of the furnace.
It is imperative to manage water leaks immediately to prevent more damage to your furnace. Reaching out to a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue properly.
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 measure.
If your furnace does not blow hot air, it's best to contact a professional HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and suggest the correct 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 reduced efficiency. Another reason your furnace is having difficulties is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to effectively warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce insufficient heating.
To handle this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to protect your home. Also, examine the thermostat to make sure it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem lingers, consider calling an experienced HVAC company, such as Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, who can assess 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 professional. Ensure the thermostat is set properly and the batteries are not dead. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the system.
If there is power but no heat, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to consult an experienced HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, this means it is turning on and off often at short intervals instead of running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can result in inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your unit.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to look at your unit’s air filter. Filters should be changed on a regular basis to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is dirty you should exchange it for a clean one—and be sure it is pointing in the right direction. Second, go to 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 best to call experts like the team at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. Immediate professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and avoid further 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 sign of a malfunction with the electrical hardware or the blower motor. Therefore, if you detect your furnace making a humming noise, it is critical to take action.
If the noise doesn't go away, it is a good idea to get in touch with a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is emitting a persistent loud noise, it's important to deal with the issue promptly to prevent further damage or potential safety concerns. One common problem that causes this is a broken blower motor or fan, which can generate a grinding or screeching sound. Another common 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 better to get in touch with a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On
If your furnace won't turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the desired temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are functioning. Then, see if the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't fix 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 get the job done, call 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 caused by a clogged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, examining the air filter and looking over your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting include a faulty igniter or faulty flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace repeatedly 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 easily solved by HVAC professionals like the team at Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.