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 strike your home at any moment.
Regardless of the cause, knowing how your heating system works and a little bit about some frequent furnace problems is crucial in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional services. By monitoring the furnace's behavior, listening for peculiar 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 lack the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a reputable HVAC company like Bell Mechanical Services. We can accurately pinpoint the issue and execute the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace working again ASAP.
Here's more about what causes a furnace to leak water and eight other frequent 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 produced during the combustion process is not properly draining away. This could be due to a plugged condensate drain line or a failing condensate pump. Another likely cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can be responsible for water—as well as dangerous gases—leaking out of the furnace.
It is important to manage water leaks promptly to prevent more damage to your furnace. Reaching out to a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Bell Mechanical Services is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue successfully.
2. My Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air
Some potential 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 is also possible your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety measure.
If your furnace won’t blow hot air, it's a good idea to contact a skilled HVAC tech to diagnose and fix the problem. They can give an accurate assessment and recommend the correct solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A frequent reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home doesn’t have enough insulation, which can cause heat loss and decreased efficiency. Another reason your furnace is struggling is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t produce enough heat to adequately warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in uneven heating.
To handle 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, check the thermostat to make sure it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem lingers, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Bell Mechanical Services, who can assess your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or adjusting 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 pro. Ensure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are good. 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 no heat, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to contact an experienced HVAC technician for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, it 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 suspect your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to check your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged regularly to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is clogged with debris you should exchange it for a clean one—and be sure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, 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 crew at Bell Mechanical Services. Prompt professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and prevent additional 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 sign of problems with the electrical elements or the blower motor. Because of this, if you notice your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.
If the noise persists, it is better that you employ a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is producing a constant loud noise, it's important to handle the issue promptly to prevent further damage or potential safety concerns. One common reason is a failing blower motor or fan, which can create a grinding or screeching sound. Another common 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 contact a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On
If your furnace will not turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the desired temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse controlling the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't resolve 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, phone a professional for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Much like a furnace that won't turn on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be caused by a clogged 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 could be a faulty igniter or faulty flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace repeatedly 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 simply fixed by HVAC pros like the team at Bell Mechanical Services.