Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you throw the switch to turn on 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, learning 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 services. By watching 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 not sure about the problem or don't have the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a reputable HVAC company like JTech Mechanical. We can accurately diagnose the issue and perform 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 common heating problems:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking 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 effectively draining away. This may be due to a blocked condensate drain line or a failing condensate pump. Another likely cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can lead to water—as well as dangerous gases—escaping from the furnace.
It is imperative to manage water leaks immediately to prevent more damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at JTech Mechanical is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue successfully.
2. My Furnace Is Blowing 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 is also possible your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety measure.
If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's a good idea to contact a skilled HVAC specialist to diagnose and fix the problem. They can provide an accurate assessment and suggest the correct solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A widespread reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home lacks insulation, which can result in heat loss and reduced efficiency. Another reason your furnace is having difficulties is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to adequately warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce inconsistent heating.
To deal with this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to protect your home. Also, check the thermostat to make sure it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem lingers, consider calling an experienced HVAC company, such as JTech Mechanical, 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 Is Not Working
If your furnace is not working, there are a couple of steps you can take to troubleshoot before calling a professional. Make sure the thermostat is set properly and the batteries are good. If the furnace still doesn't start, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to make sure 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 contact a seasoned HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, it means it is turning on and off often at short intervals instead of running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can result in inefficiency, increased energy consumption and potential damage to your furnace.
If you think your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to look at your unit’s air filter. Filters should be changed when they are dirty to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is plugged with dirt you should exchange it for a clean one—and make sure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, check your thermostat and make sure 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 JTech Mechanical. Immediate professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and avoid more 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 problems with the electrical elements or the blower motor. Because of this, if you hear your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.
If the noise doesn't go away, it is best to get in touch with a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is making a consistent loud noise, it's important to deal with the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety concerns. One common problem that causes 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 make a squealing or rattling noise.
Because of the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's safer to get a hold of a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning 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, see if the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is sending power to the unit. If these basic checks don't fix the problem, you can check 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, contact an expert for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Like a a furnace that will not on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be caused by a plugged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, checking the air filter and looking over your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or nonfunctional flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace continuously trying to ignite without success, no heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be simply addressed by HVAC professionals like the team at JTech Mechanical.