Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to power up your heating system in the fall and it won’t start, common furnace problems can affect your home at any moment.
Regardless of the issue, understanding how your heating system works and a little bit about some common furnace problems is essential in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional support. By observing 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 aren't equipped with the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call an experienced HVAC company like James Heating & A/C, Inc. We can accurately identify the issue and execute 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 common heating problems:
1. Your Furnace Leaks 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 effectively draining away. This might 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 be responsible for water—as well as dangerous gases—coming out of the furnace.
It is important to manage water leaks promptly to prevent more damage to your furnace. Reaching out to a professional HVAC technician like the crew at James Heating & A/C, Inc is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.
2. My Furnace Makes Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air
Some possible 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 plugged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It is also possible your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety precaution.
If your furnace does not blow hot air, it's better to contact a skilled HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can give an accurate assessment and suggest the appropriate 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 lacks insulation, which can lead to heat loss and decreased efficiency. Another reason your furnace is struggling is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to effectively warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in insufficient heating.
To deal with this, first check your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to protect your home. Also, look at the thermostat to see if it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem won’t go away, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as James Heating & A/C, Inc, who can look over your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or changing 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 calling a professional. Make sure the thermostat is set properly and the batteries are fresh. 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 your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may be with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's a good idea to contact a knowledgeable HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Turns On and Off
If your furnace is short cycling, it means it is turning on and off frequently at short intervals as opposed to running in regular cycles like it should. This can cause inefficiency, increased energy consumption and potential damage to your heating system.
If you think your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to check your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged regularly to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is dirty you should exchange it for a clean one—and make sure it is pointing in the right direction. Second, check 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 team at James Heating & A/C, Inc. Prompt professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and prevent additional complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Won't Stop Humming
When 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 notice your furnace making a humming noise, it is critical to take action.
If the noise persists, it is better that you employ a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Noisy
If your furnace is making a persistent loud noise, it's important to address the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. One common cause of this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can create a grinding or screeching sound. Another possible cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may make a squealing or rattling noise.
Because of the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's best to contact a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Won't Start
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 working. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse controlling the furnace is sending power to the unit. If these basic checks don't address 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 do the job, phone a heating specialist for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is on but 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 common causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or faulty flame sensor. Signs of these include the furnace continually attempting 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 simply fixed by HVAC professionals like the team at James Heating & A/C, Inc.