5 Common Furnace Problems and How to Fix Them

During winter, the furnace is king: its importance being made abundantly clear when it starts to break down. We have created a list of common furnace problems that could happen to your system. While some issues will require professional help, it is still a good idea to be prepared with some basic knowledge so that if a small complication does arise, you can do some simple maintenance and avoid costly repairs in the future. 

#1 A clogged air filter

Air filters keep dust and debris from entering the system, meaning the air will flow freely and the unit will run efficiently. If the air filters are dirty and clogged the whole system has to work harder to maintain the right temperature; this can lead to overheating and a premature shutdown. A dirty filter is the number one cause for a furnace malfunction, fortunately this is also the easiest to fix. Simple maintenance is key. Check your filters once a month and replace or clean them when necessary. 

#2 A broken thermostat

Thermostats are important as they regulate your whole heating system. Here is a short checklist for you to go through before you contact a professional:

  1. Check it is set to heat: This may sound silly, but it has been known to happen.
  2. Check the batteries: Another obvious one, but also a commonplace. Your device needs enough power to activate the furnace.
  3. Make sure the device is away from heat sources: Do this to avoid false readings.
  4. Clean it: Remove the cover, brush away any dust or dirt using a cotton swab or a soft cloth. If you see corrosion use an electrical contact cleaner. 
  5. Calibrate it: Get a trusted thermometer and tape it to the wall, after 15 minutes check the variance. If it is +/- 3˚F it is deemed acceptable, if not call for service.

When in doubt call a professional, calibrations and adjustments can sometimes be trickier and more in depth than people want to deal with. Just know the better your thermostat works the more reliable and economical your whole HVAC system will be. 

#3 Power to your furnace

If numbers one and two are not the culprits, your problem could be power. First off, check that the furnace switch was not accidentally turned off, again, it can happen! Next, check the electrical panel and reset the breaker. If the power is still an issue or there is an electrical damage the next steps might be out of your comfort zone. Our advice is that its best to leave electrical issues to the professionals. 

#4 Pilot light won’t ignite 

Heating systems that run on gas or propane will not ignite without a pilot light. Routine maintenance is especially important with these types of systems and chances are the components are dirty as they are prone to soot buildup overtime. The most common sign of a dirty pilot light is the absence of one, but a pilot light that burns yellow or orange and makes a rumbling sound also means it needs cleaning. Call a professional to clean or replace the components. If you have an older system and the light has simply blown out, you may be able to reignite it yourself. Consult the manual and remember, if at any time you smell gas, evacuate and call your gas company. Again, if you feel at all uncomfortable with handling these issues your local professional would be happy to help. 

#5 A constantly running furnace blower

You might have problems with your limit switch. Try setting your thermostat to a temperature lower than the current room temp and make sure the fan is set to Auto. If the fan continues to run, check the limit switch (located under the supply plenum) and make sure it is also set to Auto. If it isn’t, and its set instead to manual override this might be why the blower motor is continuously running. If it is already set to Auto you might have wiring issues or problems with the fan limit switch and you should call a pro for either of these. 

Hopefully these tips prove useful and you are able to fix your furnace troubles easily, if not don’t hesitate to call us at Luxury Heating & Cooling, we will get your furnace up and running and your home cozy and warm again in no time. Don’t forget that scheduled maintenance can prevent small problems from becoming big ones. Keep warm this winter; in the season when the furnace is king, long live the king.