Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to turn on your heating system when the weather gets cold and it won’t start, common furnace problems can strike your home at any moment.
Regardless of the problem, 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 assistance. 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 don't have the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like Kilbourne Heating & AC. We can accurately identify 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 prevalent heating issues:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for several reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water created during the combustion process is not completely 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 lead to water—as well as dangerous gases—escaping from the furnace.
It is necessary to correct water leaks quickly to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Reaching out to a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Kilbourne Heating & AC is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.
2. My Furnace Blows Cold Air/Lack of Heat
Some possible causes for a furnace blowing cold air or not blowing hot air could be a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a blocked 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 does not blow hot air, it's a good idea to contact a professional HVAC specialist to diagnose and fix the problem. They can give an accurate assessment and advise you on the proper solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A common reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home is lacking insulation, which can lead to heat loss and lower efficiency. Another reason your furnace is falling short is because it’s not powerful enough for your home, so it can’t produce enough heat to effectively warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in uneven heating.
To deal with this, first check your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to keep warm air in and cold air out of your home. Also, look at the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem lingers, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Kilbourne Heating & AC, 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 phoning a professional. Ensure the thermostat is set properly and the batteries are good. If the furnace still doesn't turn 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 blow hot air, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's a good idea to consult a seasoned HVAC technician for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, that means it is turning on and off frequently at short intervals rather than running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can lead to inefficiency, higher energy bills and potential damage to your furnace.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to check your unit’s air filter. Filters should be switched out regularly to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is dirty you should exchange it for a clean one—and ensure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, go to your thermostat and make sure it’s set right and the batteries are good.
If those two things don’t work, it’s smart to call experts like the crew at Kilbourne Heating & AC. Quick 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
When your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is an indication 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 crucial to take action.
If the noise continues, it is a good idea to contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Noisy
If your furnace is producing a constant loud noise, it's important to address 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 create a grinding or screeching sound. Another common cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may emit a squealing or rattling noise.
Given the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's better to consult with 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 good. Then, check if 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 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 work, call a heating specialist for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Much like 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, examining the air filter and looking over your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting include a faulty igniter or nonfunctional flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace continually attempting to ignite without success, no heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be easily fixed by HVAC specialists like the team at Kilbourne Heating & AC.