7 of the Most Common Furnace Issues

animated image of a furnace

7 Common Furnace Issues and What You Can Do About Them

Is your house warm and toasty, or are you feeling the chill a little? If so, your furnace might not be in tip-top shape. It might be something as simple as a clogged filter, or it might be something more serious.

Furnace on The Fritz?

Can you fix it yourself or do you need to call in a professional? In this post, we are going to look at the seven most common problems with furnaces. We’ll let you know what those rattles, groans, and moans coming from your furnace mean.

We’ll also tell you what you should do about each of the most common issues. In many cases, a few simple steps will sort out the problem. If you’re reasonably handy, you can remedy many furnace issues yourself.

There are, naturally, cases when it is essential to call in a pro at furnace repair or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) repair. We’ll let you know about those cases as well. Are you ready to find out why your furnace is giving you the cold shoulder? Let’s go.



7 Common Furnace Issues

  1. Clogged Air Filter

    This is one of the leading causes of problems with your furnace. You’ll know the filter is the issue if your system switches on, but the hot air only lasts a short while. This is a good indication that the airflow within the system is impeded.
    The most common cause for this is that there has been a lot of dust building up inside. If the air is not flowing as it should, the furnace will switch on but will shut off quickly.
    In any event, it’s a good idea to check the air filter. In some cases, you might be able to clean it out to extend its life a little. It’s not the best option, because even a little clogging can mean a less efficient system.
    That in turn, means that your energy bill is going to increase. So, cleaning the same filter and putting it back in is not always the best solution. However, in a pinch, it will give you a little more time to get a replacement. You can check the manufacturer’s website to find out which replacement filter to buy. We’d recommend keeping a spare at home so that you can change it out quickly.
    If the problem is a filter that is completely clogged, we’d recommend scheduling a general maintenance visit from a pro as soon as you can. It’s not something that must be done immediately, but the clog may have led to a soot buildup in the heat exchanger. This can cause issues with the system over time, so it’s best to have this checked.
    To avoid this problem in the future, we recommend that you do a quick maintenance check of the filter every three months. It’s another tedious task for your list, yes, but you’ll be able to deal with clogs before they become a serious issue this way.

  2. Pilot Light Issues

    If your furnace is gas-powered, you’ll either have an electronic control or a pilot light. If you have a newer system, it probably has an electronic control, and it’s not necessary to have a flame burning constantly.
    If there is a problem with the ignition system, however, your furnace might not function. If you do have a pilot light, you’ll need to check that it is lit. If there are clogs in the system or a draft, the light might go out.

  3. Thermostat Not Working

    If there’s a problem with the thermostat, your furnace may not maintain a stable temperature. With thermostats that are programmable, the first thing to check is what program they’re running on. Did you adjust during spring? If so, did you turn it back up again when fall rolled around?
    If it’s not a programmable thermostat, it may just need to be replaced. If the thermostat is faulty, you’ll need to get someone in to check it out. It’s better not to mess with the thermostat yourself.

  4. Poor Air Flow

    If there is no air circulating, or very little air circulating, there could be a problem with the fan motor. To determine if this is the issue, check that the heating system is turning on. If it is, check to make sure that there are no clogs in the filter.
    If not, then the fan might be the issue. A way to avoid this issue in future is to have the system inspected by a pro at least once a year. They’ll check to make sure that all the motors are running well and will replace any worn items.

  5. System Malfunction

    A sure sign of a malfunction is a heater blowing cold air. This could be a problem with the thermostat, the pilot light, if applicable, or a general system malfunction. Do a general maintenance check of the system.
    If you don’t find anything that looks incorrect, then consider calling in an expert.

  6. Frequent Cooling

    In this case, the heat will switch on fine, but switch off too fast. There are a number of different reasons for this. First up, check the air filter. Next up, check the thermostat. If there’s nothing that you can see obviously wrong, get the repair guy in.

  7. Noisy

    If your furnace sounds like it’s about to blow, it’s time to call in a pro. Rattles, squeaks, and rumbling can also be indications that the system is not running as intended. It could be that the pilot light needs to be adjusted, or that the motor needs to be oiled or serviced. You would also need to check the burner and belts.
    If it was previously running quietly, and then started making a noise, you may need a repair guy. If it’s been noisy from day one, it might be an indication that the ductwork needs to be insulated better.

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How to Avoid These Issues

Proper maintenance is the best way to avoid issues with your heating system. Check the filters at least every three months to make sure that they are clear.

We’d also recommend scheduling a maintenance session with a pro at least once or twice a year. It’s a good idea to do this either before shutting down for the spring or before starting up in the fall. If your budget allows, get the check done semi-annually.

Overall, proper maintenance will help you get the best performance and energy-efficiency. It’s worth putting a bit of extra effort in here.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.

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