Ever noticed how you ignore something when you don’t need it, and then, when you again need it, it’s not there for you anymore? Just to be clear here, we are talking about the furnace. The furnace is everybody’s best friend during cold, fall and winter days. But as soon as the mercury rises, many people forget to get it serviced and close it properly, for next winter, and this is where the problem starts.
You need to understand that after a long, harsh winter, your furnace needs to be taken care of and be prepared for next winter season. But, when you just leave it like that, it is bound to develop all kind of issues. And, when you would need it next year to warm up your house, it won’t be there for you, just like you weren't there when it needed your care.
Regular furnace repair and maintenance is a crucial task and should be there on your “critical tasks” list. Most of the furnace problems occur because of minor negligence, and the repair cost could burn a hole in your pocket. But why should you go through so much of trouble, when you can just avoid those problems by being proactive?
Now you must be thinking that how could you be proactive when you don’t even know anything about the issue or anything on how to fix it? Don’t worry; we are here to help you. In today's post, we have compiled some very common furnace problems, and some tips on how to avoid them and keep your furnace in good working condition.
1. Lack of maintenance:
As we said earlier, lack of maintenance is the most common cause for many furnace issues. According to experts, you must schedule at least one professional furnace repair and maintenance every year. These repair plans could be just after the winter (to close the furnace properly), or during fall (to get it ready for the winter). The primary purpose of these schedule repairs is to make sure that you don’t face unexpected problems with your furnace, and they also enhance the overall efficiency of the appliance.
2. Dusty filters:
With regular use, the filters of furnace accumulate a lot of dust and dirt. Over time, this dirt completely fills up the filters and clog them, resulting in reduced airflow. It makes the furnace to work much harder to circulate the air, and in some cases, may even damage the limit switch. If the filters aren't cleaned at regular intervals, they also reduce the overall efficiency of the furnace and reduces its life.
3. Normal wear and tear:
Since the furnace works non-stop all the time, its wear and tear are more than other part-time appliances. Its ‘normal’ wear and tear can cause various problems like airflow issues, heat control issues, blower issues, and overheating, etc.
4. Electric ignition or pilot control:
A faulty ignition or pilot causes many problems like thermocouple issues, clogs in the appliance, etc. and could make it difficult for the furnace to heat your home or any commercial space properly.
5. Thermostat issues:
If the thermostat is not working in its ideal behavior, you can experience troubles with fan speed, heating temperature, and overall comfort level in the house.
6. Heating issues:
There could be mainly two types of heating issues -
- The furnace doesn’t heat enough: The reasons could be a clogged up filter or wrong sized furnace for space.
- The furnace doesn’t heat at all: Heating is the main task of the furnace, and if it doesn’t perform its main task, then there is something really wrong with it. The problem could be with its thermostat settings, gas, ignition, power, or pilot light.
7. Cycling frequently:
If your furnace is cycling between ‘On’ and ‘Off’ modes too often, it means there is some issue with improper airflow, clogged filter, or bad thermostat settings.
8. Blower and noise issues:
If your blower is giving you trouble or running continuously, without cutting off, there might be a problem with the limit switch and needs a furnace repair service professional.
Similarly, rumbling and rattling sounds from the furnace are not usual. These weird sounds indicate some mechanical trouble and need an immediate professional check.
Some Furnace Repair and maintenance tips
1. Air filters:
Depending upon the usage, the air filters of the furnace must be cleaned at least once a month. Dirty air filters cause most of the problems, and cleaning the filters is the easiest and free way to avoid all the troubles. Just refer to the manufacturer’s user manual to see how to change air filters, or you can also ask your furnace repair pro to help you with it.
The thermostat is one of the most important components of the furnace, and if it’s faulty, can cause a lot of problems.
- Check the thermostat battery level if the furnace isn't producing any heat. Sometimes, even a simple step as replacing the battery can do the job.
- If you feel that the furnace isn't producing enough heat, check the thermostat and make sure it’s on ‘heat’ mode. Then, set the thermostat temperature to one degree higher than the current temperature and wait for some time.
- If the blower fan is running continuously without cutting off or is cycling too frequently, check the thermostat and make sure the fan setting is on ‘Auto’ mode.
- If everything fails, that means it’s time to buy a new thermostat. Do ask your furnace repair service to help you in buying a new thermostat and make sure it matches the type and capacity of your furnace, to avoid any unwanted problems in future.
3. Power supply:
If the furnace stops working at all or the thermostat screen goes dark/blank, check the main power cord and make sure it’s plugged in. Also, check the fuse for a blow-off and circuit-breaker for a trip.
4. Pilot light or ignition issues:
Most of the times, these problems are caused by faulty electrical components or clogging of the components. We strongly suggest that you not try to fix the ignition related issues yourself, and leave them for furnace repair pros.
5. Mechanical issues:
Mechanical wear and tear is a very common issue in machines. So, unless you are a trained furnace repair technician, let the pros handle the job. If you try to DIY it, you may void the warranty on the appliance or cause even bigger damage to the system.
6. Gas problems:
If you suspect any trouble with gas feed or valve like leakage, it could be because of a faulty pressure regulator. Call a professional immediately and vacate the house.
So, these were some common furnace issues, some tips to troubleshoot them and maintain a healthy working furnace. If you face any issue while troubleshooting the problems, call for professional help immediately. If you continue to work on it, you may cause further damage. Plus, the furnace contains some really critical components that you must not tough without proper knowledge.
Find the best and reliable furnace repair professionals in your area.
Cover photo by Bonnie Bogle on Flickr (Creative commons license 2.0)