Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to turn on your heating system when it gets chilly and it won’t start, common furnace problems can impact 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 assistance. By observing 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 West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services. We can accurately diagnose the issue and complete 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 common heating issues:
1. Your Furnace Leaks Water
A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water produced during the combustion process is not effectively draining away. This might be due to a clogged condensate drain line or a malfunctioning condensate pump. Another potential cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can lead to water—as well as dangerous gases—coming out of the furnace.
It is important to address water leaks promptly to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue properly.
2. My Furnace Blows Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air
Some possible causes for a furnace blowing cold air or not blowing hot air are a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a blocked air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It also may 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 trained HVAC tech to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and suggest the proper solution.
3. My Furnace Can't Keep Up
A common 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 struggling is because it’s not big enough for your home, so it can’t make enough heat to completely warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also cause insufficient heating.
To handle this, first look at 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 aren’t dead.
If the problem lingers, consider contacting an experienced HVAC company, such as West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services, who can inspect your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or modifying your thermostat settings.
4. My Furnace Won't Work
If your furnace is not working, there are some steps you can take to troubleshoot before calling a professional. 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 system.
If there is power but your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's a good idea to consult an experienced HVAC technician for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Short Cycles
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 is designed to do. This can cause inefficiency, increased energy consumption and potential damage to your unit.
If you suspect your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to look at your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged on a regular basis 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. Next, check your thermostat and look to see if it’s set right and the batteries are good.
If those two things don’t work, it’s best to call experts like the crew at West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services. Prompt 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 a malfunction with the electrical components or the blower motor. For this reason, if you hear your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.
If the noise persists, it is a good idea to employ a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Noisy
If your furnace is producing a persistent loud noise, it's important to address the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. One common reason is a malfunctioning blower motor or fan, which can create a grinding or screeching sound. Another potential cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may emit a squealing or rattling noise.
Because of the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's safer 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 right temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse that controls the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't take care of the problem, you can check 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 get the job done, contact a professional 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 dirty air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, inspecting the air filter and looking over your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other likely causes of a furnace not igniting are a faulty igniter or nonfunctional 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 very easily solved by HVAC professionals like the team at West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services.