Furnace Issues to Look Out for and How to Fix Them
The heating season is here. This means you’re counting on your furnace to control the temperature of your home without any issues or incidents. Firstly, it’s important for your heating system to receive an annual furnace maintenance tune-up. But there’s always the possibility of a mechanical issue appearing out of the blue. Professional maintenance and proper upkeep will minimize that possibility, but there are still some common furnace issues to look out for.

Here are the most common furnace issues to know, and how to avoid or fix them.

Clogged Air Filters

One of the most common furnace issues is clogged air filters (that goes for air conditioners as well). How can you tell if this is the case? You should be replacing your furnace filters, at minimum, twice per year. Depending on your home size, the number of pets, air quality, and medical needs (e.g. allergies), how often people should change their filter may vary. It is ideal to change your air filter once per month.

If your furnace has no problem turning on but then shuts off after a brief period, check for a clogged filter. Dust and lint buildup on the filter prevents the airflow from circulating properly. This then forces the furnace to work harder and less efficiently. This can also explain why your furnace could be using more energy, resulting in a higher energy bill that doesn’t correspond to the temperature of your house.

If the airflow is blocked enough, it can shut down your furnace shortly after it’s been turned on. Also, if this goes on long enough, it can result in soot deposits in your heat exchanger or damage the limit switch. If you experience these issues and find that your air filters are significantly clogged, it’s a good idea to schedule that tune-up. Especially if you haven’t done that yet this year since it could use some cleaning and inspection.

Problems with the Thermostat

If the first step of furnace troubleshooting is checking the air filters, it’s safe to say the next thing to do is to check the thermostat. It’s possible that your furnace is working just fine and is not the source of the problem. This is a fairly common issue that can be easily resolved and tends to occur most frequently with programmable thermostats.

First, set the thermostat to “heat,” and make sure that’s above the current room temperature. It may be stuck on a forgotten setting programmed before this year’s heating season began. This would account for your furnace turning on and off seemingly at random, similar to how a clogged air filter can prevent it from staying on for long. If that’s the case, a simple reset will take care of the issue.

Also, with certain thermostats, low battery life can lead to issues with the fan or maintaining consistent temperatures. Check to make sure the batteries are good and that the setting is correct.

Check the Blower Motor Panel

Make sure the blower panel is completely shut. Otherwise, a safety mechanism prevents your furnace from working. If the panel was opened for some reason and wasn’t shut properly, this could explain why your furnace isn’t working.

Check the Furnace Flame

The furnace flame should be blue. Any other color indicates that your gas furnace is not burning fuel properly and could be dangerous. Contact a professional to inspect your furnace immediately if this is the case.

If the pilot light is out, you can consult your furnace’s owner’s manual for instructions on how to safely relight it. But only do so if you’re comfortable doing this on your own. Be aware! Only attempt to relight the pilot light after turning off the gas for at least fifteen minutes. If it still smells like the gas is on, you may leak. This is another instance where you need to contact a professional right away.

Furnace Issues to Leave to the Professionals

These are some of the common issues to look into when your furnace doesn’t work properly. Other issues include a cracked heat exchanger or worn-out ball bearings. This may lead to unwanted friction in the moving parts or excessive carbon monoxide. These issues need to be addressed by a professional as soon as possible, as they can be indicative of serious safety concerns.

If you hear a loud scraping or squealing sound, if you smell something strange circulating through your home, or if you have any concerns about your furnace that you aren’t sure how to fix, contact an expert.

If you’re in South Jersey, reach out to Laury Heating Cooling & Plumbing for reliable, top-quality service. We will get your furnace in perfect working order so you can keep your home safe, comfortable, and warm until the end of the season.

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