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 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 assistance. 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 uncertain about the problem or don't have the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like Bishop’s HVAC. We can accurately diagnose the issue and perform 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 prevalent 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 created during the combustion process is not completely draining away. This might be due to a blocked condensate drain line or a failing condensate pump. Another possible cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can result in water—as well as dangerous gases—leaking out of the furnace.
It is necessary to address water leaks promptly to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Bishop’s HVAC is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue properly.
2. My Furnace Makes Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air
Some likely 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 clogged 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 will not blow hot air, it's a good idea to contact a trained HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can provide an accurate assessment and recommend the correct 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 lacks insulation, which can lead to heat loss and lower efficiency. Another reason your furnace is falling short is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t produce enough heat to effectively warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also cause insufficient heating.
To address 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 ensure it’s set right and the batteries still function.
If the problem lingers, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Bishop’s HVAC, 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 Isn't Running at All
If your furnace is not working, there are a couple of steps you can take to troubleshoot before contacting a professional. Ensure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are fresh. If the furnace still doesn't turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the system.
If there is power but no heat, the problem may be with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to consult an experienced 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 multiple times at short intervals rather than running in regular cycles like it should. This can lead to inefficiency, increased energy consumption and potential damage to your furnace.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged regularly to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is clogged with debris 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 best to call experts like the staff at Bishop’s HVAC. Prompt professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and avoid more complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Hums All the Time
Whenever your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is an indication of problems with the electrical elements 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 better that you get in touch with a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is producing a constant loud noise, it's important to deal with the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety risks. One common reason 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.
Given the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's safer to contact a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Won't Start
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 goes to 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 work, call a heating specialist for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Won't Ignite
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, inspecting the air filter and assessing your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other common causes of a furnace not igniting include a faulty igniter or nonfunctional flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace continually making an attempt to ignite without success, no 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 Bishop’s HVAC.