Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to turn on your heating system in the fall and it won’t start, common furnace problems can impact your home at any moment.
Regardless of the issue, knowing 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 services. By watching 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 uncertain about the problem or aren't equipped with the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call an experienced HVAC company like GV Heating & Air. 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. The Furnace Is Leaking
A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water released during the combustion process is not effectively draining away. This might be due to a clogged condensate drain line or a malfunctioning 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—coming out of the furnace.
It is imperative to correct water leaks quickly to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Contacting a professional HVAC technician like the crew at GV Heating & Air 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 are a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a plugged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It could also be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety measure.
If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's best to contact a skilled HVAC technician 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 common 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 lower efficiency. Another reason your furnace is struggling is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t make enough heat to adequately warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also produce uneven 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 see if it’s set right and the batteries aren’t dead.
If the problem continues, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as GV Heating & Air, who can inspect 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 some steps you can take to troubleshoot before calling a professional. Ensure the thermostat is set properly and the batteries are fresh. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to verify power is reaching the unit.
If there is power but your furnace won't ignite, the problem may be with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's a good idea to reach out to a knowledgeable HVAC technician 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 rather than running in regular cycles like it ought to. This can lead to inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your unit.
If you think your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be switched out when they are dirty to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is dirty you should exchange it for a clean one—and be sure it is pointing in the right direction. Second, 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 a good idea to call experts like the crew at GV Heating & Air. Immediate professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and prevent more complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Won't Stop Humming
When your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is an indication of a malfunction with the electrical parts or the blower motor. Therefore, if you detect your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.
If the noise doesn't go away, it is best to contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Makes Loud Noises
If your furnace is making a consistent loud noise, it's important to address the issue quickly to prevent further damage or potential safety concerns. One common cause of this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can create a grinding or screeching sound. Another possible 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 safer to get a hold of a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On
If your furnace refuses to turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the right temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are functioning. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to 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 ensure 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
Similar to a furnace that will not on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be caused by a dirty air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, examining the air filter and taking a peek at your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting include a faulty igniter or faulty flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace continually trying 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 professionals like the team at GV Heating & Air.