Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to start 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, knowing 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 monitoring 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 uncertain about the problem or aren't equipped with the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a reputable HVAC company like Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning. We can accurately diagnose the issue and perform the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace ready to go ASAP.
Here's more about what causes a furnace to leak water and eight other prevalent heating dilemmas:
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 may be due to a plugged condensate drain line or a malfunctioning condensate pump. Another potential 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 imperative to manage water leaks promptly to prevent more damage to your furnace. Reaching out to a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.
2. My Furnace Blows 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 clogged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It also may be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety precaution.
If your furnace won’t blow hot air, it's better to contact a professional HVAC specialist to diagnose and fix the problem. They can provide an accurate assessment and recommend the proper solution.
3. My Furnace Struggles to Keep Up
A widespread reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home lacks insulation, which can cause heat loss and reduced 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 adequately warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also cause insufficient heating.
To correct this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to keep warm air in and cold air out of your home. Also, examine the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries still function.
If the problem lingers, consider contacting an experienced HVAC company, such as Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning, who can inspect your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or adjusting 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 phoning a professional. Ensure the thermostat is set correctly and the batteries are fresh. If the furnace still doesn't turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the furnace.
If there is power but your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to contact 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 multiple times at short intervals instead of running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can lead to inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your furnace.
If you suspect your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to look at your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged 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 be sure it is pointing in the right direction. If that doesn’t do the trick, go to 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 a good idea to call experts like the staff at Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning. Prompt professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and reduce the chance of additional complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Hums All the Time
Whenever your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a sign of a malfunction with the electrical components or the blower motor. Therefore, if you notice your furnace making a humming noise, it is critical to take action.
If the noise persists, it is best to employ a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Makes Loud Noises
If your furnace is emitting a constant loud noise, it's important to handle the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety risks. One common reason is a failing blower motor or fan, which can create a grinding or screeching sound. Another potential cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may produce a squealing or rattling noise.
Because of the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's better to consult with 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 desired temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, see if the circuit breaker or fuse controlling the furnace is sending power to the unit. If these basic checks don't take care of the problem, you can inspect the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to ensure they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.
If those steps don’t work, call a heating specialist for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is on but Not Igniting
Like a a furnace not turning on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be the result of a dirty air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, checking the air filter and assessing your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other likely causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Signs of these include the furnace repeatedly attempting to ignite without success, no heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be simply solved by HVAC pros like the team at Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning.