Common Furnace Problems and How to Fix Them

With spring right around the corner, the last thing on the minds of homeowners is their furnace. Spring is the perfect time to have your heating system maintained so that it is ready to go when the colder months arrive.

From age related deterioration to lack of maintenance, there are several reasons why furnaces stop working. Ignoring furnace issues can prove to be a grave mistake. An unaddressed problem can cause your furnace to consume more electricity in order to achieve your desired temperature or add stress to your system, cutting short its service life.

If your furnace is not working properly, but you continue to use it, the issue may snowball into a major concern and you may end up with a costly repair, or worse, you may have to replace the system earlier than you expected.

Here are some common furnace issues that can affect heating efficiency or cause your furnace to stop working.

Dirty Furnace Filter

Furnace filters are responsible for trapping contaminants such as dirt, dust, pollen and dander in indoor air. They play an important role in improving indoor air quality.

Over time, furnace filters can become clogged with contaminants. Clogged filters are unable to trap dirt, dust and other contaminants.

Clogged filters are a recipe for disaster. If you continue using a furnace with clogged filters, your indoor air quality can drop. Dust and other contaminants in your indoor air can trigger an asthma attack or aggravate seasonal allergy symptoms. They can also cause skin and other problems.

A clogged filter can cause airflow problems, forcing your furnace to work harder and longer. The motor can overheat and your furnace may shut down or may refuse to start.

Make changing dirty furnace filters in a timely manner a part of your maintenance plan. Many contractors recommend replacing filters every 90 days. If you have an aging adult, kids or pets at home or if someone in your home has a seasonal allergy, you’d want to change your filters more frequently-every 30 days or so.

Pilot Light and Ignition System Problems

Older furnaces have pilot lights. The role of the pilot light is to make sure the natural gas in the system ignites. The pilot light and ignition system of a gas furnace is prone to dirt. A dirty pilot light can affect heating efficiency and the furnace may not heat properly or stop heating at all.

The most common sign of a dirty pilot light and ignition system is the pilot light not coming on or it burning blue or yellow. To prevent problems, periodically clean your pilot light.

If you have cleaned your pilot light recently and it still goes out, try to relight it by following the instructions in your user manual. If the pilot light continues to blow out, you smell gas, or believe there is a problem with the combustion assembly, consult your contractor immediately.

Thermostat Problems 

A malfunctioning thermostat can generate wrong readings, forcing your furnace to work harder and longer. If your thermostat is not working properly, make sure it is turned to heat. Check the batteries to see if they have enough juice left.

Make sure your thermostat isn’t placed near a heat source or is kept in a place that receives direct sunlight. Periodically clean your thermostat. Inspect thermostat wiring and fix any frayed wires straightaway. If you have tried everything but your thermostat still generates inaccurate readings, it’s time to call a heater repair expert in Roseville.

Furnace Not Receiving Power

If your thermostat and air filters are working properly, but your furnace refuses to come on, there is a possibility that it is not receiving power. Maybe someone accidentally turned the switch off. Make sure your furnace is plugged in and its switch is turned on.

If the furnace switch is already turned on, the circuit breaker might have tripped. To reset the breaker, flip the switch off before turning it back on. If your furnace still does not come on or the breaker continues to trip, call a professional.

Blower Fan Runs Continuously

A continuously running blower fan can indicate a problem with your limit control switch. Make sure you are using the correct thermostat setting and the fan is set to Auto.

Check the limit switch and make sure it is also set to Auto and not manual override. If the limit switch is already set to Auto, there may be a problem with thermostat wiring or the fan limit switch.

Unusual Noises

Weird noises coming from your furnace are more than just a mild inconvenience and can indicate a serious underlying issue. If your furnace is making a scraping or grinding noise, your ball bearings may have worn out. Turn off the unit immediately and do not use it till your technician fixes the problem.

A squealing noise could mean a slipped or worn blower belt. If you do not notice any signs of damage, try tightening your blower belt. Replace a frayed blower belt as soon as possible.

South Placer heating and Air is a leading HVAC contractor serving Loomis, CA. Our NATE-certified technicians have years of experience developing customized heating and cooling solutions for our customers. We help families get the most out of their heating and cooling systems. To consult one of our technicians, call (916) 246-2089.