Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you throw the switch to power up your heating system when the weather gets cold and it won’t start, common furnace problems can impact your home at any moment.
Regardless of the cause, learning how your heating system works and a little bit about some typical furnace problems is essential in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional assistance. By monitoring the furnace's behavior, listening for strange noises and checking for signs of damage or blockage, you can narrow down the possible causes.
If you're uncertain about the problem or lack the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call an experienced HVAC company like Contra Costa Heating & AC. We can accurately identify the issue and execute the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace ready to go ASAP.
Here's more about what causes a furnace to leak water and eight other prevalent heating problems:
1. My Furnace Is Leaking Water
A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water created during the combustion process is not properly draining away. This may be due to a plugged condensate drain line or a broken condensate pump. Another likely cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can result in water—as well as dangerous gases—leaking out of the furnace.
It is necessary to correct water leaks immediately to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Reaching out to a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Contra Costa Heating & AC is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue properly.
2. My Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air
Some potential causes for a furnace blowing cold air or not blowing hot air are a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a blocked air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It also may be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety measure.
If your furnace does not blow hot air, it's better to contact a skilled HVAC specialist to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and recommend the appropriate solution.
3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up
A widespread reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home lacks insulation, which can lead to heat loss and reduced efficiency. Another reason your furnace is having difficulties is because it’s not powerful enough for your home, so it can’t make enough heat to effectively warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in uneven heating.
To correct this, first assess your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to keep warm air in and cold air out of your home. Also, examine the thermostat to ensure it’s set right and the batteries still function.
If the problem won’t go away, consider contacting an experienced HVAC company, such as Contra Costa Heating & AC, who can inspect your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or modifying your thermostat settings.
4. My Furnace Is Not Working
If your furnace is not working, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot before calling a heating specialist. Check if the thermostat is set properly and the batteries are fresh. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the unit.
If there is power but your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's better to consult a seasoned HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.
5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling
If your furnace is short cycling, that means it is turning on and off frequently at short intervals rather than running in regular cycles like it is designed to do. This can cause inefficiency, more energy use and potential damage to your heating system.
If you suspect your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to look at your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged when they are dirty to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is clogged with debris you should exchange it for a clean one—and be sure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, check your thermostat and look to see if it’s set right and the batteries are good.
If those two things don’t work, it’s a good idea to call experts like the team at Contra Costa Heating & AC. Quick professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and prevent additional complications and high energy bills.
6. My Furnace Is Making a Humming Noise
When your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a symptom of a malfunction with the electrical hardware or the blower motor. Therefore, if you detect your furnace making a humming noise, it is critical to take action.
If the noise continues, it is a good idea to get in touch with a professional HVAC technician.
7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise
If your furnace is making a persistent loud noise, it's important to address the issue quickly to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards. One common problem that causes this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can create a grinding or screeching sound. Another common cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may emit a squealing or rattling noise.
Given the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's better to get in touch with a heating and cooling specialist.
8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On
If your furnace will not turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the preferred temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is sending power to the unit. If these basic checks don't resolve the problem, you can examine the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to verify they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.
If those steps don’t work, call an expert for furnace repair.
9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting
Similar to a furnace that won't turn on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be caused by a dirty air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, examining the air filter and assessing your circuit breakers are a good place to start.
Other potential causes of a furnace not igniting include a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Signs of these include the furnace continually making an attempt to ignite without success, a lack of heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be very easily addressed by HVAC pros like the team at Contra Costa Heating & AC.