Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to start your heating system in the fall and it won’t start, common furnace problems can strike your home at any moment.
Regardless of the problem, learning how your heating system works and a little bit about some common furnace problems is crucial in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional support. By watching 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 not sure about the problem or don't have the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning. We can accurately pinpoint the issue and execute 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 problems:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water created during the combustion process is not properly draining away. This could be due to a clogged 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—coming out of the furnace.
It is necessary to manage water leaks quickly to prevent more damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning 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 are a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a blocked air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It could also be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety precaution.
If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's better to contact a professional HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can give an accurate assessment and advise you on the correct 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 lacks insulation, which can cause heat loss and lower efficiency. Another reason your furnace is falling short is because it’s not big enough for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to adequately warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in uneven heating.
To address this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to protect your home. Also, examine the thermostat to see if it’s set right and the batteries still function.
If the problem continues, consider calling an experienced HVAC company, such as Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning, who can assess your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or changing 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 calling 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 verify power is reaching the system.
If there is power but no heat, the problem may be with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to consult 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 lead to inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your heating system.
If you suspect your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to check your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged 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, 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 a good idea to call experts like the crew at Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning. Prompt professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and prevent 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 a symptom of a malfunction with the electrical parts or the blower motor. Therefore, if you detect your furnace making a humming noise, it is critical to take action.
If the noise continues, it is a good idea to contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is emitting a constant loud noise, it's important to handle the issue right away 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 common 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 better to contact a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On
If your furnace won't turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the right temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are functioning. Then, see if the circuit breaker or fuse controlling the furnace is sending power to the unit. If these basic checks don't resolve the problem, you can inspect 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 work, phone a professional 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 caused by a clogged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, examining the air filter and assessing 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. Indications of these include the furnace repeatedly making an attempt 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 addressed by HVAC pros like the team at Thurston Heating & Air Conditioning.