Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flip the switch to turn on your heating system in the fall and it won’t start, common furnace problems can impact your home at any moment.
Regardless of the problem, understanding 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 noting 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 unsure about the problem or lack the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call an experienced HVAC company like Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning. We can accurately identify the issue and perform 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 frequent heating dilemmas:
1. The Furnace Is Leaking
A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water created during the combustion process is not properly draining away. This may be due to a blocked condensate drain line or a broken condensate pump. Another likely cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can result in water—as well as dangerous gases—escaping from the furnace.
It is important to correct water leaks quickly to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue successfully.
2. My Furnace Blows 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 also may be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety mechanism.
If your furnace won’t blow hot air, it's a good idea to contact a trained HVAC tech to diagnose and fix the problem. They can give an accurate assessment and suggest the appropriate 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 cause heat loss and decreased efficiency. Another reason your furnace is falling short is because it’s not big enough for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to effectively warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce uneven heating.
To address this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to insulate your home. Also, examine the thermostat to make sure it’s set right and the batteries are working.
If the problem continues, consider calling an experienced HVAC company, such as Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning, who can assess your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or modifying your thermostat settings.
4. My Furnace Isn't Running at All
If your furnace is not working, there are some steps you can take to troubleshoot before contacting a heating specialist. Ensure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are fresh. If the furnace still doesn't start, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to verify power is reaching the unit.
If there is power but no heat, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's a good idea to reach out to a knowledgeable HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Short Cycles
If your furnace is short cycling, that means it is turning on and off frequently at short intervals instead of running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can cause inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your heating system.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to look at your unit’s air filter. Filters should be switched out 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 be sure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, go to your thermostat and make sure it’s set right and the batteries are good.
If those two things don’t work, it’s smart to call experts like the staff at Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning. Immediate 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
If your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a symptom of a malfunction with the electrical elements or the blower motor. Therefore, if you notice your furnace making a humming noise, it is critical to take action.
If the noise continues, it is a good idea to contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Noisy
If your furnace is producing a consistent loud noise, it's important to handle the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety concerns. One common problem that causes this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can make a grinding or screeching sound. Another potential 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 refuses to 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 functioning properly. If these basic checks don't take care of the problem, you can inspect the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to make sure 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 on but Not Igniting
Like a a furnace that won't turn on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be the result of a clogged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, checking the air filter and taking a peek at your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or faulty flame sensor. Symptoms of these include the furnace repeatedly making an attempt 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 easily repaired by HVAC pros like the team at Gopher Heating and Air Conditioning.