Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flip the switch to power up your heating system when it gets chilly 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 support. By observing 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 Select Comfort Systems. We can accurately diagnose the issue and complete 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 prevalent heating dilemmas:
1. Your Furnace Leaks Water
A furnace can leak water for several 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 clogged 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—coming out of the furnace.
It is important to correct water leaks promptly to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Select Comfort Systems is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue properly.
2. My Furnace Blows 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 mechanism.
If your furnace won’t blow hot air, it's better to contact a trained HVAC tech to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and advise you on the correct solution.
3. My Furnace Struggles to Keep Up
A frequent reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home is lacking insulation, which can lead to heat loss and reduced efficiency. Another reason your furnace is falling short is because it’s not big enough for your home, so it can’t produce enough heat to completely warm the space. A defective thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce insufficient heating.
To address this, first look at 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 still function.
If the problem won’t go away, consider calling an experienced HVAC company, such as Select Comfort Systems, 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 Won't Work
If your furnace is not working, there are some 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 turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to make sure power is reaching the system.
If there is power but no heat, the problem may be with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to contact an experienced HVAC technician for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Turns On and Off
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 should. This can cause inefficiency, higher energy bills and potential damage to your furnace.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged regularly to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is clogged with debris you should exchange it for a clean one—and ensure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, check 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 crew at Select Comfort Systems. Prompt 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 Hums All the Time
If your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a symptom of problems with the electrical elements or the blower motor. Because of this, if you detect your furnace making a humming noise, it is critical to take action.
If the noise continues, it is best to contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is producing a persistent loud noise, it's important to deal with 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 common cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may make a squealing or rattling noise.
Due to 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 Can't Turn On
If your furnace won't turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the desired temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, check if the circuit breaker or fuse that controls 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 ensure they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.
If those steps don’t work, phone 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, examining the air filter and looking over your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting are a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace repeatedly trying 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 very easily addressed by HVAC pros like the team at Select Comfort Systems.