Furnaces are incredibly useful in the winter, but only if they’re working properly. Like any piece of equipment, furnaces require proper maintenance to keep them running well. If you don’t maintain your furnace, you could end up with no heat in the dead of winter, which is a situation nobody wants to be in.
However, it does happen, and the most important thing is getting your furnace fixed and your home warm again. Here are some of the most common problems with furnaces and what you (or a professional) can do to fix them.
The first sign of a gas leak in your home is often the smell of the gas. Even if a gas is naturally odorless, distinct odors are added to it to ensure residents can smell leaks. Of all the problems you can have with your gas furnace, this is one of the most dangerous.
If you think your furnace might have a gas leak, the first thing you should do is call heating repair services to take a look at it.
Not Enough Heat
There are a few different reasons why your furnace could be providing a little bit of heat but not enough. The first thing you should check is the register in the room you’re in. A closed register may allow a tiny bit of air in, warming the room up just a bit. The next thing you should check is the thermostat; it should be set to “Heat” and the fan should be set to “On” or “Auto,” depending on your thermostat.
If neither of these fixes the problem, make sure nothing is obstructing airflow. This includes a dirty air filter which can greatly reduce efficiency.
While some newer furnaces have an electronic ignition, older furnaces have simple pilot lights. If there is no gas flame, check your thermocouple and pilot orifice. A simple cleaning or adjustment of these parts will fix the problem in some cases.
If you have an electric ignition furnace, you’ll need to reset the ignition control module by turning the power switch off and then back on. Look for a spark or ignition in your furnace; if it doesn’t work, you may need to clean or replace the flame sensor.
Cycles on and Off
Your furnace gets “instructions” from your thermostat, which it then uses to heat your home. If it’s cycling on and off too often, it’s probably a thermostat issue. Before you replace your thermostat, though, you should check if your thermostat has a calibration lever. Set the lever toward the “Longer” setting and see if that does the trick.
Noises coming from the furnace is one of the most common problems you’ll run into. The bottom line is this: ductwork is often made of metal, so it carries sound really well. You can remedy this by having a heating professional install flexible ductwork where the furnace and ductwork meet.
If you hear a rattling noise, it may be that a panel has come loose, in which case the fix is tightening a few bolts. A squealing noise, on the other hand, is a sign of a slipping or worn belt. If the belt is new and unlikely worn, adjust the motor mount to make the belt fit more tightly. If it’s old, you may just need to replace it.
If you hear grinding sounds coming from your furnace, you should immediately call a heating service to have a technician take a look at your furnace. The bearings are probably worn out, which means they’ll need to be replaced.