Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you throw the switch to start 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, learning how your heating system works and a little bit about some typical furnace problems is crucial in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional support. By noting 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 Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces. We can accurately diagnose the issue and execute the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace up and running ASAP.
Here's more about what causes a furnace to leak water and eight other frequent heating issues:
1. The Furnace Is Leaking
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 properly draining away. This could be due to a clogged condensate drain line or a malfunctioning condensate pump. Another possible cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can be responsible for water—as well as dangerous gases—escaping from the furnace.
It is important to address water leaks promptly to prevent more damage to your furnace. Contacting a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue successfully.
2. My Furnace Makes Cold Air/Lack of Heat
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 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 does not 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 appropriate solution.
3. My Furnace Struggles to Keep Up
A common reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home is lacking 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 produce enough heat to completely warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce uneven heating.
To deal with this, first look at your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to insulate your home. Also, examine the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries are working.
If the problem continues, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces, 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 Won't Work
If your furnace is not working, there are a couple of steps you can take to troubleshoot before contacting a heating specialist. Check if the thermostat is set properly and the batteries are not dead. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to make sure power is reaching the system.
If there is power but your furnace won't ignite, the problem may be with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to reach out to a seasoned HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, this means it is turning on and off often at short intervals instead of running in regular cycles like it ought to. This can result in inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your unit.
If you suspect your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged on a regular basis to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is clogged with debris you should exchange it for a clean one—and make sure it is pointing in the right direction. If that doesn’t do the trick, look at your thermostat and look to see if it’s set right and the batteries are good.
If those two things don’t work, it’s best to call experts like the team at Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces. Quick 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 Hums All the Time
When your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a sign of problems with the electrical components or the blower motor. Because of this, if you hear your furnace making a humming noise, it is crucial to take action.
If the noise continues, it is better that you contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is making a persistent loud noise, it's important to handle the issue promptly to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. One common cause of this is a malfunctioning 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.
Due to 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 Won't Start
If your furnace will not turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the right temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are functioning. Then, check if the circuit breaker or fuse that controls the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't address 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 a professional for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Like a a furnace not turning on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be caused by a plugged 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 likely causes of a furnace not igniting include a faulty igniter or faulty flame sensor. Symptoms 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 easily repaired by HVAC pros like the team at Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces.