Common Winter Furnace Problems And How To Troubleshoot

furnace troubleshooting

Simple furnace troubleshooting is a skill that every homeowner should learn. This will come in handy when the cold autumn and winter months come. Furnaces are built tough but they are not invincible. Sooner or later, these hardy systems will show problems and issues that will affect the comfort and safety of your home. Although not every problem can and should be approached through a DIY method, there are certain furnace troubleshooting steps you can do.

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Furnace Troubleshooting Tips For Every Homeowner

In this article, we discuss some common furnace troubleshooting tips that any homeowner can accomplish.

Lack Of Furnace Maintenance

A furnace gets overworked during cold months and is expected to be operational in other months. Without a regular furnace maintenance schedule, heating equipment has a higher likelihood of breaking down due to wear-and-tear and component damage. Regular maintenance is actually fairly simple. Combine gas furnace troubleshooting, an annual furnace tune-up, and HVAC repair when and where necessary by a certified HVAC company to ensure that the furnace is working efficiently. Do not wait until the damage is extensive before calling an HVAC contractor. By that time, there may be irreparable issues that could cost a lot of money to fix.

Troubleshoot: Get the unit inspected by a professional at least once annually.

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Dirty Furnace Filter

When performing gas furnace troubleshooting on a unit that is several years old, a common issue you are likely to come across is a dirty filter. Air filters control the level of particulates in the air that is distributed throughout the house. They ensure that the air you breathe is clean and safe. Over time, air filters collect so much dust, dirt, and debris that they become clogged and less efficient.

Troubleshoot: Check the filter on a monthly basis. When it is dirty, take out the air filter and clean it or replace it.


Electric Ignition Or Pilot Control Problems

A problem with the electric ignition may be the result of an electrical issue. If the pilot is out, the furnace will fail to heat the home. If your furnace uses an electronic igniter, do not light it manually. Re-light it only if the furnace has power but be sure you use the owner’s manual for reference.

Troubleshoot: Check the circuit breaker. If it tripped, simply fix this issue, then continue to check the unit itself. Look for clogs or drafts. If the unit still fails to re-light, call a licensed HVAC contractor immediately.

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Malfunctioning Thermostat

If a furnace will not turn on with the thermostat, it is likely that the component is faulty or damaged. This is usually a fairly easy troubleshooting job and not likely to be costly unless the component itself has to be replaced or upgraded. If the thermostat fails to show temperature readings, the problem may be with the batteries.

Troubleshoot: Reset the thermostat by turning the furnace switch on and off, or shutting down the power to the unit completely. Replace old batteries with fresh ones periodically. If these steps fail, call an HVAC technician to inspect the unit.

malfunctioning thermostat

Furnace Blowing Cold Air

There are several possible reasons why a furnace does not produce warm air. It could be due to the wrong temperature setting, a clogged filter, lack of gas or power, or the pilot light going out. It could also be that the furnace has an insufficient capacity for the space it is supposed to heat up.

Troubleshoot: Check the sizing of the furnace for the home by calling an HVAC company. If it is too small, you will need an upgrade. Clean or replace the air filter, check the pilot light and fuel, or check the power. Ensure that the thermostat is on the right setting.

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Furnace Is Frequently Cycling

Frequent or short cycling refers to a type of malfunction wherein the furnace switches on and off frequently. Cycling is fairly noticeable because it shows up as short and constant bursts of activity. It could occur due to improper temperature reading, dirty air filters, wrong furnace sizing, or overheating.

Troubleshoot: Check if the thermostat is working properly or is damaged. If the thermostat receives direct light or heat from an external source such as the sun or a stove, it is likely to give off the wrong temperature reading. Call an HVAC contractor to see if the furnace is the right size for your home. If the furnace has a damaged heat exchanger, call your local HVAC contractor right away.

furnace short-cycling

Furnace Blower Continuously Runs

A furnace blower that keeps running when it is expected to stop may have a problem with the limit switch. In some models, the fan limit switch can be turned off manually. If this is the case, simply check if it is in the manual or automatic position and make the proper adjustments accordingly.

Troubleshoot: Leaving the limit switch at the automatic setting will stop the fan from running continuously. However, if the problem is a damaged limit switch, have a licensed HVAC contractor check the unit.

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Furnace Produces Unusual Noise Or Smells

There are certain noises a furnace makes that are warning sounds that you should not ignore. These are clicking, booming, clanging, and screeching noises. If it produces an unusual smell, it could also be a sign of trouble.

Troubleshoot: If the problem is airflow, check the air filters and possible airflow blockage. If the burner is clogged or if the problem is mechanical, do not attempt to fix the problem yourself. Instead, call a professional heating expert.

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Homeowners should be able to perform simple heating system troubleshooting steps safely as long as they have the right information. Learn to understand how your furnace works and what you can safely do. In some cases, the problem you have does not even require a professional. The better you understand your furnace, the more efficiently it can work for you.

Point Bay Fuel offers superior heating and cooling services in the area. We hire the best NATE certified technicians who can provide you with excellent HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Each of our techs has the knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

Need a heating system repair or replacement? No worries. You are in good hands with Point Bay Fuel. We guarantee the most competitive furnace repair and replacement costs in the area. If you happen to need a replacement system, we can recommend the best one for your home while staying within your budget. As always, we prioritize energy efficiency, comfort, indoor air quality, and more. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today for a free, in-home estimate.

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