Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to start your heating system in the fall and it won’t start, common furnace problems can affect 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 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 don't have the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like McFadden Heating & Cooling. We can accurately pinpoint 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 issues:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water created during the combustion process is not completely draining away. This might be due to a plugged condensate drain line or a failing condensate pump. Another possible 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 necessary to correct water leaks immediately to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Contacting a professional HVAC technician like the crew at McFadden Heating & Cooling is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue properly.
2. My Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air
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 could also be 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 professional HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can give an accurate assessment and advise you on the correct 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 doesn’t have enough insulation, which can result in 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 make enough heat to completely warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also cause insufficient heating.
To deal with this, first look at your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to protect your home. Also, check the thermostat to make sure it’s set right and the batteries still function.
If the problem continues, consider contacting an experienced HVAC company, such as McFadden Heating & Cooling, who can inspect 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 calling a professional. Ensure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are good. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to verify power is reaching the furnace.
If there is power but your furnace won't ignite, the problem may lie with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to consult an experienced HVAC professional 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 instead of running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. 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 exchanged 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. If that doesn’t do the trick, go to your thermostat and verify 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 McFadden Heating & Cooling. Quick professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and reduce the chance of further complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Is Making a Humming Noise
If your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is an indication of an issue with the electrical elements 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 a good idea to contact a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is producing a persistent loud noise, it's important to deal with the issue quickly to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. One common reason is a broken blower motor or fan, which can generate a grinding or screeching sound. Another possible cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may emit a squealing or rattling noise.
Due to the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's best 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 preferred temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, check if the circuit breaker or fuse controlling the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't fix the problem, you can inspect 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 get the job done, phone 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 clogged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, checking out the air filter and looking over your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other likely causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Symptoms of these include the furnace repeatedly attempting to ignite without success, a lack of heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be simply solved by HVAC pros like the team at McFadden Heating & Cooling.