Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flip the switch to start 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 issue, knowing how your heating system works and a little bit about some common furnace problems is vital 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 aren't equipped with the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call an experienced HVAC company like Northwest Services. We can accurately diagnose the issue and perform 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 dilemmas:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for several reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water produced during the combustion process is not completely 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 lead to water—as well as dangerous gases—escaping from the furnace.
It is important to correct water leaks immediately to prevent further damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Northwest Services 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 are 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 mechanism.
If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's best to contact a professional HVAC tech to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and suggest the proper solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A frequent reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home lacks 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 malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also cause inconsistent heating.
To deal with this, first look at your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to keep warm air in and cold air out of your home. Also, examine the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem won’t go away, consider calling an experienced HVAC company, such as Northwest Services, 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 contacting a heating specialist. Make sure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are not dead. If the furnace still doesn't turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to verify power is reaching the furnace.
If there is power but no heat, the problem may lie with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to contact 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 multiple times 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 think 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 be sure it is pointing in the right direction. Second, go to your thermostat and verify it’s set right and the batteries are good.
If those two things don’t work, it’s best to call experts like the staff at Northwest Services. 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
If your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is an indication of a malfunction with the electrical hardware or the blower motor. For this reason, if you detect your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.
If the noise persists, it is best to employ a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is making a constant loud noise, it's important to deal with the issue quickly to prevent further damage or potential safety risks. One common cause of this is a broken 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 better to get a hold of 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 working. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is working right. If these basic checks don't resolve 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 work, call an expert 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 dirty air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, checking out the air filter and taking a peek at your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other potential causes of a furnace not igniting include a faulty igniter or nonfunctional flame sensor. Symptoms of these include the furnace repeatedly trying to ignite without success, no heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be simply solved by HVAC professionals like the team at Northwest Services.