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 affect your home at any moment.
Regardless of the problem, knowing how your heating system works and a little bit about some frequent furnace problems is essential in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional support. By noting 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 uncertain about the problem or aren't equipped with the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a reputable HVAC company like Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc.. We can accurately identify 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 dilemmas:
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 malfunctioning condensate pump. Another likely cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can be responsible for water—as well as dangerous gases—coming out of the furnace.
It is imperative to correct water leaks immediately to prevent further damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc. is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue properly.
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 mechanism.
If your furnace does not blow hot air, it's best to contact a professional HVAC tech to diagnose and fix the problem. They can provide an accurate assessment and suggest 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 lower efficiency. Another reason your furnace is having difficulties is because it’s not big enough for your home, so it can’t make enough heat to effectively 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, check the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries are working.
If the problem won’t go away, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc., who can assess your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or modifying 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 calling a pro. Check if the thermostat is set properly and the batteries are not dead. If the furnace still doesn't turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to make sure power is reaching the unit.
If there is power but your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may be with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to contact an experienced HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, it means it is turning on and off frequently at short intervals instead of running in regular cycles like it ought to. This can result in inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your heating system.
If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to look at your unit’s air filter. Filters should be switched out regularly to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is clogged with debris you should exchange it for a clean one—and ensure it is pointing in the right direction. Second, check 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 Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc.. 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 sign of a malfunction with the electrical parts or the blower motor. For this reason, if you notice your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.
If the noise persists, it is a good idea to 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 address the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety concerns. One common reason 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 emit a squealing or rattling noise.
Given 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 will not 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 sending power to the unit. If these basic checks don't take care of the problem, you can inspect 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 get the job done, call a heating specialist for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Much like a furnace not turning 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 likely causes of a furnace not igniting include a faulty igniter or nonfunctional flame sensor. Signs of these include the furnace repeatedly trying 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 addressed by HVAC pros like the team at Phelps Heating & Cooling, Inc..