Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flip the switch to power up your heating system when the weather gets cold and it won’t start, common furnace problems can strike your home at any moment.
Regardless of the problem, knowing 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 support. By monitoring the furnace's behavior, listening for peculiar 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 don't have the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a reputable HVAC company like Watts Electric & AC. We can accurately identify the issue and complete the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace up and running 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 produced during the combustion process is not properly draining away. This could be due to a blocked condensate drain line or a failing condensate pump. Another potential cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can result in water—as well as dangerous gases—escaping from the furnace.
It is imperative to manage water leaks quickly to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Contacting a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Watts Electric & AC is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue successfully.
2. My Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air
Some likely causes for a furnace blowing cold air or not blowing hot air could be a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a clogged 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 does 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 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 doesn’t have enough insulation, which can result in heat loss and reduced efficiency. Another reason your furnace is struggling is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t make enough heat to adequately warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also cause inconsistent heating.
To correct this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to insulate your home. Also, check the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem continues, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Watts Electric & AC, 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 few steps you can take to troubleshoot before phoning a pro. Make sure the thermostat is set correctly and the batteries are not dead. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to make sure power is reaching the furnace.
If there is power but no heat, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's a good idea to contact an experienced HVAC technician for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, that means it is turning on and off multiple times at short intervals rather than running in regular cycles like it ought to. This can cause inefficiency, higher energy bills 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 when they are dirty to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is clogged with debris you should exchange it for a clean one—and ensure it is pointing in the right direction. If that doesn’t do the trick, check your thermostat and make sure it’s set right and the batteries are good.
If those two things don’t work, it’s smart to call experts like the crew at Watts Electric & AC. Quick professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and avoid more complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Is Making a Humming Noise
When your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is an indication of a malfunction with the electrical hardware or the blower motor. Therefore, if you hear your furnace making a humming noise, it is crucial to take action.
If the noise persists, it is best to contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is making a persistent loud noise, it's important to handle the issue quickly to prevent further damage or potential safety risks. One common problem that causes this is a broken blower motor or fan, which can generate a grinding or screeching sound. Another possible 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 a hold of 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 right temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are functioning. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is sending power to the unit. If these basic checks don't take care of the problem, you can check the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to verify they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.
If those steps don’t get the job done, contact an expert for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Similar to a furnace that won't turn on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be the result of a plugged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, checking out the air filter and looking over your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace continually trying 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 simply fixed by HVAC professionals like the team at Watts Electric & AC.