Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flip 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 problem, learning how your heating system works and a little bit about some common furnace problems is vital in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional support. By monitoring the furnace's behavior, listening for strange 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 professional HVAC company like Ilten's. We can accurately identify 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 issues:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking 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 completely draining away. This could be due to a clogged condensate drain line or a broken condensate pump. Another likely 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 necessary to deal with water leaks promptly to prevent further damage to your furnace. Reaching out to a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Ilten's is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.
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 also may be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety precaution.
If your furnace won’t blow hot air, it's best to contact a trained HVAC specialist to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and recommend the correct solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A widespread reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home lacks insulation, which can result in heat loss and reduced efficiency. Another reason your furnace is struggling is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t produce enough heat to completely warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also cause inconsistent 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, look at the thermostat to see if it’s set right and the batteries are working.
If the problem lingers, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Ilten's, who can assess your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or changing 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 contacting a pro. Check if 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 make sure 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 best to reach out to 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 often at short intervals instead of running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can cause inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your unit.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be switched out regularly 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, check 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 Ilten's. Immediate professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and avoid further complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Is Making a Humming Noise
Whenever your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a symptom of a malfunction with the electrical parts or the blower motor. Therefore, if you notice your furnace making a humming noise, it is crucial to take action.
If the noise doesn't go away, it is better that you get in touch with 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 promptly to prevent further damage or potential safety risks. One common problem that causes this is a malfunctioning blower motor or fan, which can make 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 get a hold of 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 preferred temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, see if the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't address the problem, you can examine 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 a heating specialist for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Like a 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, checking out the air filter and assessing your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other potential causes of a furnace not igniting include a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace repeatedly trying 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 repaired by HVAC professionals like the team at Ilten's.