Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you throw the switch to power up your heating system when the weather gets cold and it won’t start, common furnace problems can affect your home at any moment.
Regardless of the problem, knowing how your heating system works and a little bit about some frequent furnace problems is vital in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional support. By monitoring the furnace's behavior, listening for unusual 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 a professional HVAC company like Air-Right Energy Design. 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 common heating issues:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water released during the combustion process is not properly draining away. This could be due to a blocked 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—leaking out of the furnace.
It is necessary to deal with water leaks immediately to prevent further damage to your furnace. Reaching out to a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Air-Right Energy Design 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 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 does not blow hot air, it's better to contact a skilled HVAC specialist to diagnose and fix the problem. They can provide an accurate assessment and recommend 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 is lacking insulation, which can cause heat loss and reduced efficiency. Another reason your furnace is falling short is because it’s not powerful enough for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to effectively warm the space. A defective thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in inconsistent heating.
To correct this, first check your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to protect your home. Also, look at the thermostat to make sure it’s set right and the batteries are working.
If the problem lingers, consider contacting an experienced HVAC company, such as Air-Right Energy Design, who can inspect 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 few steps you can take to troubleshoot before calling a heating specialist. Ensure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are good. If the furnace still doesn't power 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 lie with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to consult an experienced HVAC professional 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 rather than running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can lead to inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your unit.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be changed on a regular basis to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is dirty you should exchange it for a clean one—and ensure 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 team at Air-Right Energy Design. Immediate professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and reduce the chance of more complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Is Making a Humming Noise
If your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a sign of problems with the electrical components or the blower motor. Therefore, if you detect your furnace making a humming noise, it is crucial to take action.
If the noise doesn't go away, it is a good idea to contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is producing a constant loud noise, it's important to deal with the issue promptly to prevent further damage or potential safety risks. One common cause of this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can generate a grinding or screeching sound. Another possible cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may produce a squealing or rattling noise.
Given 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 preferred temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are good. Then, see if the circuit breaker or fuse that controls the furnace is working right. If these basic checks don't fix 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, phone an expert for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Similar to a furnace not turning on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be the result of a plugged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, examining the air filter and looking over your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Signs 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 very easily repaired by HVAC professionals like the team at Air-Right Energy Design.