Furnace maintenance is the thorough inspection and tune-up of your heating system. It's a preventive…
Few issues are more uncomfortable than having cold, sleepless nights during the winter season. It’s one thing if you simply have to pull up the covers. But it’s a whole different situation if a furnace malfunction is behind your chilly environment.
Whether you have a high-efficiency or a conventional furnace, it’s essential to understand how the system works. It would help to know some basics — this will help you figure out what to do when something’s wrong. With a little experience, you can troubleshoot some simple furnace issues.
Here are some of the most common furnace problems and how to fix them. In certain cases, you’ll need a professional technician to complete the repair.
1. Malfunctioning Thermostat
If your furnace isn’t working to your expectations and there’s no sign of usual suspects such as broken hoses, the thermostat could be the issue. However, this shouldn’t worry you that much since thermostat problems are usually cheaper and easier to rectify than issues with the furnace itself.
In most cases, dust accumulation or faulty/aging wiring lead to thermostat malfunctions. This makes it hard for the thermostat to interact with your heating system, thus interfering with temperature regulation in your home. Although these issues can also arise due to the furnace, you should first look at the thermostat if the system:
- Stops producing heat
- Produces erratic amounts of heat
- Cycles more frequently than necessary
- Produces less heat than normal
Here’s an overview of some thermostat related issues and their solutions.
To ensure your furnace is functioning properly, its components must be properly matched with the thermostat. Residential applications are prone to low-voltage operations. The matching is usually based on the capability, capacity, and type of furnace.
You should always be careful never to install the wrong kind of thermostat. After all, you don’t want to ruin your system because of a miscommunication between the thermostat and your furnace.
To be safe, consult with a furnace expert or bring along your old thermostat the next time you go shopping for new equipment.
Missing wire connections and faulty or aged wires can break the link between your thermostat and your heating system. This can lead to a high interruption in service. Has your furnace stopped working? If yes, try checking your thermostat’s wiring.
To rectify this issue, you can tighten the loose connections and make the necessary replacements. Since low-voltage thermostats use small-gauge wires, you can always feel safe working with them. However, if you have doubts, you can rely on the help of a knowledgeable heating technician.
Inaccurate Temperature Readings
Is your furnace kicking on when it shouldn’t or failing to turn on when it should? This can happen due to an inaccurate temperature reading. It would help to check that your thermostat is correctly installed in a proper location. To that end, heat sources such as radiant heaters and fireplaces shouldn’t be anywhere near your thermostat.
2. Frequent Cycles
Having an effectively working furnace is vital, especially with the weather brewing colder temperatures. However, furnaces can sometimes falter if they’ve been inactive during the better part of the summer.
Short-cycling is one of the most common issues homeowners face with their furnaces. This is when your furnace turns on only for a short time before turning off. Such a state can prevent your home from warming up properly and may also damage your furnace.
But what causes these short-cycles? Have a look at some of the main factors behind frequent short-cycling.
Your Furnace Is Too Big
When short-cycling occurs immediately after the installation process, it means the furnace itself might be the cause. Your furnace may either be too strong or too big for your living space in such a situation.
Wondering how this can happen? It’s simple. An oversized furnace uses a lot of energy, which leads to uneven distribution of warm air in your home. This, in turn, causes the furnace to turn on and off frequently. To solve this issue, you may need to replace your heater. Before making a new purchase, ask a technician to take a look.
Your Furnace Is Overheating
An overheating furnace has a mechanism that turns the system off to prevent damage. This, in turn, causes short-cycling. Overheating happens because of restricted airflow, which traps the hot air in the furnace. To rectify this, you should schedule repair services immediately.
3. Pilot Light or Ignition Issues
Gas furnaces offer one of the most effective methods for home heating. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re problem-free. Like any other mechanical appliances, they can break down anytime.
If you have a gas system, you’re likely to find yourself in a situation where your furnace won’t ignite. To fix this, you can follow some simple troubleshooting steps that may save you from spending a lot of money.
Check Your Gas Supply
Checking your gas supply is one of the first steps of figuring out the reason behind your ignition issues. If you’re a natural gas user, it’s best not to try this step on your own since natural gas is highly flammable. That’s why this is a job best left for professionals.
On the other hand, if you’re using propane or LP gas, you can quickly determine your system’s gas supply by merely using a pressure gauge. The pressure gauge should read 25 or above. If not, you can reach out to a gas company for a fill-up, and you’ll have the problem solved.
Check Your Air Filters
Believe it or not, many homeowners rarely check their filters when their furnaces fail to start up. Instead, they end up footing expensive service call bills. A gas furnace uses a mixture of LP or natural gas and air. If there’s a restricted airflow in your system, it won’t produce the necessary mixture, leading to ignition issues.
Next time your furnace fails to ignite, check the air filters and remove anything that might interfere with the airflow. However, if your furnace’s pilot light won’t stay lit, it’s wise to call in a professional to look for several possible causes.
For electric ignitor furnaces, it’s in your best interest to consider checking your flame sensor’s condition. This safety feature shuts down your system when it detects gas. They also tend to shut down once they get dirty. Cleaning them can help restore the condition of your furnace.
Rely on the Experts
When troubleshooting your furnace fails to work, never hesitate to contact a licensed and certified HVAC contractor such as IT Landes. We have the equipment and experience to pinpoint most furnace issues in just a matter of seconds.
Since the 1920s, homeowners in Bucks and Montgomery have relied on us for comprehensive and affordable heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services. We service the industry’s most advanced HVAC systems and geothermal appliances for all-year-round home comfort. To learn more, call us at IT Landes in Harleysville, PA.