Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you throw the switch to start your heating system when it gets chilly and it won’t start, common furnace problems can affect your home at any moment.
Regardless of the cause, 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 services. By watching 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 lack the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call an experienced HVAC company like Ambient Air. We can accurately diagnose 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 frequent heating problems:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for several 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 blocked condensate drain line or a failing condensate pump. Another possible 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 address water leaks immediately to prevent more damage to your furnace. Reaching out to a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Ambient Air 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 could be a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a clogged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It is also possible your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety mechanism.
If your furnace does not blow hot air, it's best to contact a trained HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and suggest 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 doesn’t have enough insulation, which can lead to heat loss and decreased efficiency. Another reason your furnace is having difficulties is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to completely warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also cause inconsistent heating.
To deal with this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to protect your home. Also, check the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem continues, consider calling an experienced HVAC company, such as Ambient Air, 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 contacting a pro. Make sure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are not dead. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the unit.
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 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 rather than running in regular cycles like it ought to. 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 switched out when they are dirty to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is clogged with debris 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 best to call experts like the staff at Ambient Air. Prompt professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and prevent additional 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 sign of an issue with the electrical hardware or the blower motor. For this reason, if you hear your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.
If the noise persists, it is a good idea to contact 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 handle the issue promptly to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. One common problem that causes this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can make a grinding or screeching sound. Another common 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 in touch with a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On
If your furnace refuses to turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the right temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are functioning. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse that controls the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't address 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 work, phone a professional for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Much like a furnace that will not on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be the result of a plugged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, inspecting 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. Indications of these include the furnace continuously attempting to ignite without success, an absence of heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be simply solved by HVAC pros like the team at Ambient Air.