Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you throw the switch to start your heating system when the weather gets cold 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 typical furnace problems is essential in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional services. By noting 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 uncertain about the problem or don't have the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a reputable HVAC company like Northern Comfort Inc. 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 prevalent heating issues:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for several reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water released during the combustion process is not effectively draining away. This may be due to a blocked condensate drain line or a malfunctioning condensate pump. Another potential cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can be responsible for water—as well as dangerous gases—leaking out of the furnace.
It is imperative to correct water leaks promptly to prevent more damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Northern Comfort Inc 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 include a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a plugged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It could also be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety measure.
If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's best to contact a trained HVAC tech to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and advise you on the correct 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 is lacking insulation, which can cause heat loss and reduced efficiency. Another reason your furnace is struggling is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t produce enough heat to adequately warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce uneven 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, look at the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries are working.
If the problem continues, consider calling an experienced HVAC company, such as Northern Comfort Inc, who can assess 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 contacting a professional. Make sure the thermostat is set properly and the batteries are not dead. If the furnace still doesn't turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to verify power is reaching the furnace.
If there is power but your furnace won't ignite, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to reach out to an experienced 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 often at short intervals as opposed to running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can cause inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your furnace.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to check your unit’s air filter. Filters should be switched out on a regular basis 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, 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 crew at Northern Comfort Inc. Quick professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and prevent further complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Is Making a Humming Noise
Whenever your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a symptom of problems with the electrical parts or the blower motor. Because of this, if you notice your furnace making a humming noise, it is critical to take action.
If the noise persists, it is better that you get in touch with a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is producing a consistent loud noise, it's important to deal with the issue promptly to prevent further damage or potential safety risks. One common problem that causes this is a broken blower motor or fan, which can create a grinding or screeching sound. Another potential cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may make a squealing or rattling noise.
Given the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's best to consult with 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 preferred temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, see if the circuit breaker or fuse controlling the furnace is sending power to the unit. If these basic checks don't fix the problem, you can check the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to make sure they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.
If those steps don’t work, contact a professional for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Much like a furnace not turning on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be the result of a clogged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, inspecting the air filter and assessing your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other likely causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or nonfunctional flame sensor. Symptoms 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 Northern Comfort Inc.