Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to turn on your heating system when the weather gets cold and it won’t start, common furnace problems can strike your home at any moment.
Regardless of the cause, understanding 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 watching 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 unsure about the problem or lack the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like E.B. Air. 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 issues:
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 completely draining away. This might be due to a clogged condensate drain line or a malfunctioning 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 promptly to prevent further damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at E.B. Air is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.
2. My Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air
Some potential 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 could also be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety mechanism.
If your furnace won’t blow hot air, it's best to contact a skilled HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and advise you on the proper solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A widespread reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home is lacking insulation, which can result in 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 make enough heat to completely warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce inconsistent heating.
To handle 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 are working.
If the problem continues, consider contacting an experienced HVAC company, such as E.B. Air, who can inspect 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 a couple of steps you can take to troubleshoot before phoning a heating specialist. Ensure the thermostat is set correctly and the batteries are good. If the furnace still doesn't turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to make sure power is reaching the furnace.
If there is power but your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may be with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to contact a seasoned HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, this means it is turning on and off often at short intervals rather than running in regular cycles like it should. 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 look at your unit’s air filter. Filters should be changed on a regular basis to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is plugged with dirt you should exchange it for a clean one—and ensure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, look at 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 crew at E.B. Air. Immediate 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 an indication of a malfunction with the electrical parts or the blower motor. For this reason, if you notice your furnace making a humming noise, it is crucial to take action.
If the noise persists, it is a good idea to get in touch with 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 promptly to prevent further damage or potential safety risks. One common problem that causes this is a malfunctioning 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.
Due to the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's better to get in touch 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 working. Then, check if the circuit breaker or fuse controlling the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't fix the problem, you can inspect the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to verify they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.
If those steps don’t do the job, call a heating specialist 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, checking the air filter and assessing your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other potential causes of a furnace not igniting include a faulty igniter or faulty flame sensor. Signs of these include the furnace continually 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 fixed by HVAC specialists like the team at E.B. Air.