Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to turn on your heating system in the fall and it won’t start, common furnace problems can impact your home at any moment.
Regardless of the issue, learning how your heating system works and a little bit about some typical furnace problems is essential in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional assistance. By noting 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 lack the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call an experienced HVAC company like Tri City Fuel & Heating. We can accurately diagnose the issue and perform the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace working again ASAP.
Here's more about what causes a furnace to leak water and eight other prevalent heating dilemmas:
1. The Furnace Is Leaking
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 might be due to a clogged condensate drain line or a broken 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—coming out of the furnace.
It is imperative to deal with water leaks immediately to prevent more damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Tri City Fuel & Heating is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.
2. My Furnace Makes 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 plugged 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 will not blow hot air, it's a good idea to contact a trained HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can give an accurate assessment and recommend the proper solution.
3. My Furnace Struggles to Keep 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 cause heat loss and reduced efficiency. Another reason your furnace is struggling is because it’s not powerful enough for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to adequately warm the space. A defective thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in inconsistent heating.
To address this, first look at 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 aren’t dead.
If the problem lingers, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Tri City Fuel & Heating, 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 Isn't Running at All
If your furnace is not working, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot before phoning a heating specialist. Make sure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are fresh. If the furnace still doesn't turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to verify power is reaching the unit.
If there is power but your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to reach out to an experienced HVAC technician for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, it means it is turning on and off often at short intervals as opposed to running in regular cycles like it ought to. This can lead to inefficiency, higher energy bills and potential damage to your furnace.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to check your unit’s air filter. Filters should be changed regularly to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is dirty you should exchange it for a clean one—and make sure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, go to your thermostat and verify 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 team at Tri City Fuel & Heating. Immediate professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and reduce the chance of further complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Is Making a Humming Noise
Whenever your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a symptom of an issue 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 Noisy
If your furnace is emitting a persistent loud noise, it's important to handle the issue quickly to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. One common cause of this is a broken blower motor or fan, which can make a grinding or screeching sound. Another potential cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may produce a squealing or rattling noise.
Because of the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's best to consult with 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 desired temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are functioning. Then, see if the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't take care of 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, call a professional for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is on but Not Igniting
Much like a furnace that won't turn 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 assessing your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other potential causes of a furnace not igniting are a faulty igniter or nonfunctional flame sensor. Symptoms of these include the furnace repeatedly attempting 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 repaired by HVAC professionals like the team at Tri City Fuel & Heating.