Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flip the switch to start 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 issue, learning how your heating system works and a little bit about some frequent furnace problems is essential in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional support. By watching 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 aren't equipped with the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a reputable HVAC company like H&C Heating and Cooling. We can accurately pinpoint 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 frequent heating problems:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for a number of reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water produced during the combustion process is not effectively draining away. This could be due to a plugged condensate drain line or a broken condensate pump. Another possible cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can be responsible for water—as well as dangerous gases—escaping from the furnace.
It is imperative to correct water leaks immediately to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Contacting a professional HVAC technician like the crew at H&C Heating and Cooling 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 blocked air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It is also possible your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety precaution.
If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's a good idea to contact a skilled HVAC tech to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and recommend the proper solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A common reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home doesn’t have enough insulation, which can cause heat loss and lower efficiency. Another reason your furnace is having difficulties is because it’s not big enough for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to adequately warm the space. A defective thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce inconsistent heating.
To correct this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to insulate 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 H&C Heating and Cooling, 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 some steps you can take to troubleshoot before contacting a heating specialist. Ensure the thermostat is set correctly and the batteries are fresh. If the furnace still doesn't start, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the furnace.
If there is power but your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may lie with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to reach out to a seasoned HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, that means it is turning on and off frequently at short intervals rather than running in regular cycles like it should. This can result in inefficiency, higher energy bills and potential damage to your furnace.
If you think your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged on a regular basis to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is plugged with dirt you should exchange it for a clean one—and be sure it is pointing in the right direction. If that doesn’t do the trick, look at your thermostat and make sure 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 H&C Heating and Cooling. Quick professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and reduce the chance of additional complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Is Making a Humming Noise
If your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is an indication of an issue with the electrical elements or the blower motor. Therefore, if you notice your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.
If the noise doesn't go away, it is best to contact 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 handle the issue promptly to prevent further damage or potential safety risks. One common problem that causes this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can make a grinding or screeching sound. Another common cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may emit a squealing or rattling noise.
Given the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's best to contact a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On
If your furnace will not turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the preferred temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are good. Then, check if the circuit breaker or fuse that controls the furnace is sending power to the unit. If these basic checks don't resolve the problem, you can examine 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 heating specialist 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, examining the air filter and taking a peek at your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting are a faulty igniter or nonfunctional flame sensor. Signs of these include the furnace continually making an attempt to ignite without success, no heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be very easily solved by HVAC specialists like the team at H&C Heating and Cooling.