Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flip 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 cause, understanding 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 support. By noting 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 unsure about the problem or lack the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a reputable HVAC company like Schraer Heating & Air Conditioning. We can accurately diagnose the issue and complete 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 common heating dilemmas:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water produced during the combustion process is not completely draining away. This might 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—leaking out of the furnace.
It is important to deal with water leaks quickly to prevent further damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Schraer Heating & Air Conditioning 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 plugged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It could also be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety precaution.
If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's better to contact a trained HVAC specialist to diagnose and fix the problem. They can give an accurate assessment and recommend 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 lacks insulation, which can cause heat loss and lower efficiency. Another reason your furnace is falling short is because it’s not big enough for your home, so it can’t produce enough heat to adequately warm the space. A defective thermostat or ductwork problems can also cause uneven heating.
To address this, first look at your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to insulate your home. Also, check the thermostat to make sure it’s set right and the batteries are working.
If the problem continues, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Schraer Heating & Air Conditioning, 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 some steps you can take to troubleshoot before contacting a professional. Make sure 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 verify power is reaching the unit.
If there is power but your furnace won't ignite, 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, it means it is turning on and off often at short intervals rather than running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can cause inefficiency, increased energy consumption and potential damage to your unit.
If you suspect 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 plugged with dirt you should exchange it for a clean one—and ensure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, go to your thermostat and verify 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 Schraer Heating & Air Conditioning. 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 a symptom of a malfunction with the electrical hardware or the blower motor. Because of this, if you notice your furnace making a humming noise, it is critical to take action.
If the noise continues, it is better that you contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is emitting a persistent loud noise, it's important to address the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. One common problem that causes this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can make a grinding or screeching sound. Another potential cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may make a squealing or rattling noise.
Due to the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's best to consult with 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 preferred temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are functioning. Then, check if the circuit breaker or fuse that controls the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't fix the problem, you can check the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to verify they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.
If those steps don’t do the job, contact a heating specialist for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Like a a furnace that won't turn on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be caused by a plugged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, inspecting 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 could be a faulty igniter or nonfunctional flame sensor. Symptoms 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 simply fixed by HVAC pros like the team at Schraer Heating & Air Conditioning.