When temperatures start to drop, your furnace must be ready for the season. If you notice any furnace problems, you should immediately begin troubleshooting and contact a professional to help you get it running correctly again.
Before you make any calls, take a few moments to go through some steps for troubleshooting furnaces. This can help you to determine if you need professional help or can remedy the issue yourself. Here is a look at some common problems and the way to fix them.
The Furnace Won’t Reach Set Temperature
If your furnace is running but isn’t heating your home correctly, you may have a few different issues.
One of the most common is a problem with your thermostat. It could simply be dirty, causing it to operate improperly. Or, you may have a broken or disconnected wire. Alternatively, the thermostat may be broken or need a recalibration. When your furnace comes on, but no heat comes out, you could still have thermostat issues, so it is a good idea to get things checked out by a professional.
The issue may also be dirty ducts or vents. You can check this at the vents. If the air is not blowing out properly, then you likely need to do a duct cleaning. You can do this yourself or call a service to do it for you.
The Furnace Won’t Stay On
If your furnace switches on and off too often, then it could also be a thermostat issue. These devices are rather touchy and do wear out over time.
There may also be a thermocouple issue. The thermocouple is a heat sensor. It helps to close the gas valve to prevent gas leaks, but if it stops working correctly, it may cut off the gas when it shouldn’t. Usually, you can identify this because the pilot light goes on and off, too.
One last potential issue is a bad blower motor, which you may notice when the furnace blower won’t turn on. When the blower isn’t operating right, the furnace will kick itself off to prevent overheating.
All of these problems will most likely require you to call for professional help.
The Furnace Makes a Whistling Sound
If you have a furnace whistle or other odd sound, you likely have an issue with a moving part. It could be a frayed belt or bad bearings in your blower motor.
A whistle usually signifies there is a problem with the blower. This sound comes from the motor overworking, resulting from dirty ducts, obstructions in the vents or ducts, or a dirty air filter. These are issues you can often fix yourself by cleaning or replacing the filter.
There could be other sounds, such as the furnace making a clicking noise. Such sounds may indicate a deeper issue within the furnace that requires replacement parts.
You may be able to handle these issues yourself, but unless you know about furnace repair, you should leave belt replacement to a professional.
The Furnace Does Not Ignite
After a long summer, you flip the switch to turn on your furnace, and nothing happens. If your furnace is not igniting, you have a few things to check.
The first, of course, is the thermostat. Operation issues like this are often due to something wrong with the thermostat. However, it could also be operator error. Make sure you have the thermostat set to furnace and not air conditioning. Also, look for error codes on the display.
You may have a gas line issue. Check to be sure somebody didn’t turn off the valve. You can check another gas appliance in your home. When other machines work, you know gas is successfully entering your home. If you suspect a gas line issue, call a professional. It is too dangerous to try to fix yourself.
Check the pilot light as well. When it isn’t lighting, that indicates it could be the issue. There could be a problem with the ignition device or something preventing it from lighting. You might be able to fix them by cleaning. It could also be a safety stop, which would require a professional to check it out.
Another possible issue is a tripped breaker, so check your breaker box. Resetting the breaker could help, but do note when this is a recurring problem, you will need to get a professional to look at it as it could pose a safety hazard.
You should call a professional if you cannot find the issue after some initial furnace ignition troubleshoot checks. It could be an issue that engaged the safety shut-off and requires further investigation to ensure your furnace operates safely.
The Furnace Takes a Long Time to Turn on
You may feel it takes forever for your furnace to kick on the first time you turn it on for the season, but if you notice it seems to continue to struggle to work, you may have more severe furnace problems. A wide range of things could be provoking these problems, and you’ll need to check each one.
The first thing to do is make sure your furnace and all the components are clean and free of dust. Change the air filter, clean out your ducts and vents, and blow off the furnace itself to remove debris. Over the summer, it may collect dust that will prevent the system from working properly.
When the issue is debris build-up, you may also notice a furnace burning smell when igniting. Look for this tell-tale sign as an indication that it needs a good, thorough.
If you notice a white build-up, this could be sulfur. It is a byproduct of natural gas. You should have a professional cleaning done to remove it. The technician can also check for any other potential issues that could be impacting the operation.
When your furnace is slow in turning on, it can allow gas to build up. This delay may trip the safety feature in your system, which then stops it from kicking on. You should get a professional to check it out.
Delayed ignition can be dangerous because it does allow gas to leak. It can also damage your furnace. So, this is one problem you should not ignore or try to fix yourself. Call a technician who can carefully inspect your system and fix whatever is wrong.
The Blower of the Furnace Continuously Runs
While you want your furnace to jump right to life when you turn it on during the first cold spell of the season, you do not want it to run continuously. Not only is that going to cost you a lot of money in energy, but it is also bad for the system.
There are multiple reasons why your furnace may run continuously. Always look at the thermostat first. Since this is a common reason for many system issues, you want to check it out for the proper operation.
You may also have a switch issue. The limit switch could need replacing, which is a professional job. You can check it to see what the setting is. If it is on the manual setting or another wrong setting, then changing this could remedy the issue.
Your blower may also have something going on with it that prevents it from stopping. For example, when the furnace turns on but with no heat, it could indicate something wrong with the blower where it isn’t operating.
You can try to manually turn on and off just the fan to look for responsiveness. When it is not working, you can further troubleshoot the blower itself or call a professional to check it out.
The Furnace Not Getting Gas
If your furnace fails to kick on and blow out hot air, it may not be getting gas. You should note that any issues involving the gas coming to the furnace usually require a professional’s touch. However, you can take a few troubleshooting steps to understand what type of problem is occurring.
Make sure you have the gas on. Sometimes, you or someone else may turn the gas off to the furnace. When doing your spring maintenance, the technician may have turned it off. Just check that the valve is open. The furnace should kick on once you open the valve.
You should also check other gas appliances. If they are not working, there is no gas coming into your home. There could be an outage or maintenance in your area. You can call your gas company to check.
Beyond this, you need a professional to check out what is happening. Often when the gas shuts off, it is a safety mechanism of the system. There may be something more seriously wrong that could allow gas or carbon monoxide to leak, creating a hazardous situation.
A professional would be the best at fixing the problem without causing any further safety issues for your and your family.
When you have furnace issues, it can be frustrating. However, many times, the problems are something simple you can fix yourself. Some furnace troubleshooting can help you narrow down what is going on and determine if it is something you can repair on your own or something that requires a call to the professionals.
Keep in mind that your furnace can be a hazard when it is not operating properly. Any issues are serious, so check things out and call in a professional technician when you cannot quickly and safely fix the problem yourself.
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