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 impact your home at any moment.
Regardless of the problem, 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 support. By observing 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 uncertain about the problem or don't have the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call an experienced HVAC company like Heartland Heating & Cooling. We can accurately pinpoint the issue and execute 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 frequent heating dilemmas:
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 released during the combustion process is not effectively draining away. This might be due to a plugged condensate drain line or a broken condensate pump. Another potential cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can lead to water—as well as dangerous gases—leaking out of the furnace.
It is imperative to correct water leaks immediately to prevent further damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Heartland Heating & Cooling is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue properly.
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 include a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a blocked 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 better to contact a trained 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 lead to 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 make enough heat to completely warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in insufficient 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 won’t go away, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Heartland Heating & Cooling, who can look over 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 phoning a heating specialist. Make sure the thermostat is set properly and the batteries are fresh. If the furnace still doesn't turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the system.
If there is power but your furnace won't ignite, the problem may lie with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to reach out to a knowledgeable 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 frequently at short intervals as opposed to running in regular cycles like it ought to. This can result in inefficiency, increased energy consumption and potential damage to your furnace.
If you suspect your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to check your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged when they are dirty 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. 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 Heartland Heating & 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
When your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a symptom of a malfunction with the electrical components or the blower motor. For this reason, if you detect your furnace making a humming noise, it is crucial to take action.
If the noise doesn't go away, it is better that you employ 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 quickly to prevent further damage or potential safety concerns. One common cause of this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can create a grinding or screeching sound. Another potential cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may emit a squealing or rattling noise.
Because of the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's safer 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 right temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, see if the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't address the problem, you can check the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to make sure they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.
If those steps don’t do the job, call 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 plugged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, examining the air filter and assessing your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other likely causes of a furnace not igniting are a faulty igniter or faulty flame sensor. Symptoms of these include the furnace continuously 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 very easily solved by HVAC pros like the team at Heartland Heating & Cooling.