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Furnaces – 5 Common Furnace Problems and Fixes

One of the most frustrating things anyone can experience is waking up in the middle of the night feeling cold. This would not be as infuriating if all you needed were to pull your covers. However, it can be pretty disappointing if the reason behind a cold night is a poorly functioning furnace or, worse still, one that is not functional.

4 Common Furnace Problems and How You Can Fix Them

1. Examine the Thermostat and Ensure It Is On

While this sounds silly, you must ensure that your thermostat is set to at least five degrees above room temperature, and it is also set on ‘heat.’ The number of individuals who make service calls to request furnace repair services without checking this is quite surprising.

Below are a couple of thermostat checks that you can do yourself.

Step 1: Check your thermostat’s battery. The batteries on your thermostat may require changing. Ensure that you change the batteries at least once yearly or as needed if your thermostat unit operates on batteries. While some thermostats may use batteries, others are usually wired to your home’s electrical system.

Find out how your thermostat is powered. Thermostats that utilize batteries may sometimes flash a low battery symbol if they require a replacement.

Step 2: Open your thermostat, then carefully blow off any debris or dust that may be clogging it.

Step 3: Whether you are using a programmable or electronic furnace model, you should ensure the time and date are correct.

Step 4: Examine the breaker. If the breaker is on, turn it off, then proceed to check the furnace’s fuse.

2. Your Furnace Does Not Give Off Heat- Try Resetting Your Home Circuit Breaker

Several minor factors could be the reason this problem occurs. Start by confirming that your thermostat is set to ‘heat.’ Next, move the dial down or up a couple of degrees and check if you feel any noticeable difference.

Suppose there is still no result after you have done this; in that case, inspect the fuse or circuit breaker and see if it was blown or tripped.

How Do You Test a Home Breaker?

Go to your home breaker panel and find the circuit that controls your furnace. You will be checking whether it is in the middle or whether it has been thrown to the ‘off’ position.

– Test the breaker manually by flipping it back and forth.

– Ensure that the breaker stays on the ‘on’ position.

Doing the above helps reset the breaker. However, should this not help resolve the issue, you may have a problem with the circuit breaker or the wiring in the circuit breaker. Follow the following steps if you have a digital multimeter.

3. Your Furnace Does Not Produce Sufficient Heat

– Check And Change the Clogged Filter: It is one thing for your furnace to struggle to produce heat, and it is a whole different matter if it somehow stops functioning. Suppose your furnace performs poorly and does not sufficiently heat your home, ensure that the air filter is in good condition and clean, if not new.

– Check And Change the Filter If It Is Clogged: Doing this is pretty straightforward and a crucial part of maintaining your furnace. A clogged filter is among the most common reasons behind your furnace not working. This is also one of the most straightforward maintenance tasks.

Frequently replacing your filter furnace is a quick and straightforward task that goes a long way in safeguarding your HVAC components while also improving your indoor air quality.

Step 1: Locate your filter. Specific furnaces may have their filters in the intake. Usually, this will look like a grate in the wall, ceiling, or floor. Other filters are found inside the furnace.

Step 2: Check your filter. You will tell if your filter requires changing by holding it up to the light. Your filter requires changing if no light shines through. Another good sign that your filter furnace needs changing is a dusty, dirty smell coming from the vents whenever the blower is turned on.

Step 3: Replace your filter. First, ensure that the filter is off. There should be no air coming out from it. Inspect the direction that the filter points as filters are designed to trap matter that is blown toward a single direction. Your filter’s effectiveness can be reduced when you install it upside down.

You can significantly improve the airflow by cleaning the debris buildup in your filters. Usually, your air handler is forced to work hard to make up for airflow blockage when your air filter gets clogged. This not only increases your utility bills but also causes overheating and a quick shut down of your heat exchanger as a result of reduced airflow in the cooling and heating system.

Filters clean the air that goes in the furnace then the heated air is redirected into your home. A clogged and dirty filter will reduce the airflow, which will gradually cause pressure and heat buildup in your furnace. New and more efficient furnaces are sensitive to this issue, so they shut down before the dirty filter causes further problems. The furnace will keep running in other units with reduced efficiency and less heat output.

4. Check the Limit Switch

The blower will continuously run if you have a bad limit switch. As a result, this will significantly shorten the lifespan of the blower. You can quickly solve this problem by having a technician replace the limit switch.

How do you test whether your furnace problem is the thermostat or the limit switch?

The furnace should not fire if the high limit switch is bad. The heating/flame element will shut off, and the blower will keep running to clear the heat if the high limit light switch trips. The blower will keep running until the limit switch closes or the system is reset.

Typically, limit switches are closed and should always fail open. This means that they open the circuit if the temperature gets too high or the limit switch goes bad. You will want to replace the limit switch if the circuit is open.

5. Clean Debris and Leaves From Intake And Exhaust Vents Or Heat Pumps

If your furnace vents out on the side of your house, ensure nothing is blocking the exhaust or intake. If any pipes are covered with screen mesh, replace them with half an inch of mesh hardware cloth.

Should ice be clogging any of the pipes, it is an indication that there is a more significant issue somewhere in the system. Clear it, then contact a technician and find out what the problem is.

Clear the leaves and grass from the outdoor compressor unit’s fins if you own a heat pump. Before the heating session begins, gently hose it down from the top and rinse the debris and dirt out of the housing.