As the autumn air turns crisp and cold, the heating season is heading into full swing. Now is the time to troubleshoot potential furnace problems, before they become more serious. Here are a few potential furnace problem symptoms and the furnace troubleshooting steps to try before calling for furnace repair.
Your Furnace Doesn’t Produce Heat
- Check the Thermostat: Ensure the thermostat is set to “heat” and at a temperature above the current room temperature so that the thermostat calls for hot air. If your thermostat uses batteries, versus being wired into the house’s electrical system, they may simply need replacing if the low battery symbol is displayed.
- Inspect the Pilot Light or Ignition: If you have an older conventional gas furnace, check if the pilot light is lit or the ignition system is functioning. Relight the pilot light if necessary or call a professional if you have an electric ignition system that’s not working.
- Check the Gas Supply: Ensure the furnace’s gas valve leading to the furnace is open and the gas line is unobstructed.
- Inspect for Electrical Problems: Check for a tripped circuit breaker in the home’s breaker panel and make sure the furnace switch is set to “on”.
- Check the Furnace Door: If the access panel on your unit isn’t shut properly, it may prevent furnace power from coming on. Check that the furnace door is properly aligned and closed.
Weak or Insufficient Heated Air
- Clean or Replace Your Air Filter: A dirty filter can cause problems for your gas furnace, leading to less heat output. A clogged filter limits airflow and reduces heating efficiency. Keep filters clean or replace them regularly, ideally every 1-3 months.
- Check Air Vents: Ensure that all your vents around the home are open and unobstructed. This helps maintain proper airflow.
- Inspect the Pilot Light Flame: If you have a standing pilot light, check its color. A blue flame is normal; a yellow or orange flame can indicate a problem with combustion, which requires professional service.
Frequent Cycling On and Off
- Check the Furnace Filter: A dirty filter can cause overheating and trigger the furnace to shut off. Ensure the furnace filter is clean or replace it.
- Thermostat Calibration: The thermostat might need calibration or replacement if it’s causing erratic temperature swings.
- Flame Sensor Cleaning: A dirty or malfunctioning flame sensor can cause short cycling. Gently clean it with a fine emery cloth or call a professional to replace it if necessary.
Odor from Gas Furnace
- Check the Air Filter: Inspect and replace the air filter if it’s dirty or clogged, as this can cause musty or dusty smells.
- Run the Furnace: If the odor is a musty or dusty smell after a long period of inactivity, run the furnace for a while to clear out any settled debris.
- Chemical Odor: Ensure that any cleaning products, paints, or solvents stored near the furnace are removed to avoid a fire hazard and maintain proper ventilation.
- Burning Odor: If you smell burning, immediately turn off the furnace and contact a professional to inspect for accumulated dust, overheating, or other issues.
- Rotten Egg Smell: A strong rotten egg smell could indicate a gas leak. In this case, shut off the furnace, ventilate your home, and contact your gas company and a professional technician immediately. Do not attempt to fix a gas leak yourself.
Strange Noises from the Heating system
- Inspect the Furnace Cabinet: Check for loose screws or damaged parts in the furnace cabinet.
- Check Furnace Blower Motor and Fan: Inspect the blower motor and fan for loose components or damage.
- Examine Ductwork: Ensure that the ductwork is securely connected and not causing noises due to loose or damaged sections.
- Clean Burners and Flame Sensor: If there’s a popping or booming noise, clean dirty burners and inspect the flame sensor.
- Blower Motor Bearings: If the noise is a squealing or screeching sound, the blower motor belt may need to be replaced.
- Check Air Filters: Inspect and replace dirty or clogged air filters to ensure proper airflow.
- Examine Air Vents: Make sure all vents in your home are open and unobstructed to allow warm air to circulate effectively.
- Inspect Thermostat: Calibrate or replace the thermostat if it’s causing erratic temperature control.
Avoid Common Furnace Problems with Maintenance
You should have your furnace checked and tuned-up annually. A professional furnace technician is qualified to check, clean and assess all key connections, motors, burners, pressures and other parts and systems to ensure your gas furnace is operating safely and optimally. During furnace maintenance, they can also find issues or repairs that the untrained eye might miss.
Professional Furnace Repair for Any Furnace Problem
For comprehensive furnace repairs, maintenance, and expert guidance contact Ravinia Plumbing. With our experienced technicians and commitment to excellence, you can trust us to keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently, ensuring your home remains cozy and warm throughout the heating season.