Most Common Furnace Problems
When the weather is cold, the last thing you want to deal with is a broken heater or furnace. With proper maintenance, heating systems are usually reliable, but sometimes, these complex machines will stop working or operate inefficiently. At HVAC Philly, our technicians are experts in heater and furnace repair. With over 20 years of experience servicing Philadelphia and Bucks county, we can keep your furnace running smoothly so you don’t go a day in discomfort. Read on for our guide on identifying the most common heater problems.
Let’s start with the basics. You’d be surprised to know how many service calls we get that could have been avoided with basic maintenance. Furnaces that aren’t maintained are prone to break down and operate inefficiently. Keeping your furnace clean and replacing the filter are easy and effective ways to avoid these types of problems. Read our previous blog on steps you can take to keep your furnace running at the top of its game.
Furnace Isn’t Adequately Heating
If your furnace is turned on but is only providing some heat, there are several possible causes. The easiest to check is the filter. An old clogged filter that hasn’t been replaced will restrict airflow and put a strain on your system causing inefficient operation. Another possibility is that the gas burners could be in need of cleaning or adjustment. If this is the case, you should call your local HVAC technician to safely fix the problem. Sometimes your furnace will be running properly, and you’ll still have a problem of inadequate heat. It’s possible that you need to insulate or seal your ducts because you might find that they’re leaky. There’s also a possibility that your furnace simply isn’t the right size for your house.
Furnace Isn’t Heating at All
If your furnace has been heating without a problem and suddenly stops working, the first and most simple step is to check your thermostat. If you have a digital thermostat, check the batteries to make sure that they don’t need to be replaced. Thermostats do break from time to time, so you may need to replace yours altogether. If you determine that the thermostat isn’t the problem, move on to your circuit breaker. In most homes, your furnace will be on its own circuit, so you should check to make sure that a fuse didn’t blow and interrupt your home heating. If your thermostat is working and you didn’t blow a fuse, it’s time to explore the possibility that there’s a problem with the furnace’s ignition system.
Ignition/Pilot Light Not Working
Most new furnaces use an electronic ignition system to operate, while older furnaces use a standing pilot light. If the pilot light won’t light at all, check to make sure the gas is turned on or that there is enough fuel supply if you have an oil furnace. If the pilot light won’t stay lit, then there’s a possibility that it’s clogged and needs to be cleared out. To fix this problem, make sure your furnace is off and insert a thin wire into the hole where the pilot light comes from and clear out any debris. If you are still having problems, check for a pilot light adjustment knob and turn it to ensure that there is a steady flame with no yellow showing.
If you have an electronic ignition system, your furnace either uses a spark of electricity or a heating element (think light bulb filament) to ignite the burners. Since these systems are more complex than the traditional pilot light driven furnace, there are a number of reasons why they may not be working. Ignitions switches last from three to five years, so it’s possible that your switch has reached the end of its life span. Luckily, these switches are cheap and easy to switch out.
Furnace Switches on and off Repeatedly
If you feel like your heating system is switching on and off far too often, you might have a problem with what is referred to as ‘short cycling’. Again, this could be a problem with a faulty thermostat, or your thermostat could be too close to a heat vent causing it to get inaccurate temperature readings. If your thermostat is in working order, check your air filter to make sure it’s clean and pointing in the right direction. There are a number of other problems that could cause your system to short cycle such as a faulty flame sensor, air duct blockage, and more. If you can’t figure out the cause yourself, it’s best to call a HVAC technician.
We hope these tips will come in handy if your furnace ever stops working. For quality furnace repair and all of your other HVAC needs, don’t hesitate to call our trusted HVAC Philly technicians at 215-725-6111 for a free estimate.