Common Furnace Problems: Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions

Furnace ServicemanWinter is already making its presence felt. And each winter we receive numerous questions and calls about furnace problems. So we compiled a list of the three most common furnace complaints and their most common culprits.
 
Q. Why is my furnace blowing only cold air and/or why isn’t my furnace providing enough heat? 
 
A. Gas and electric furnaces heat air that is then circulated through your home by ducts. If your furnace turns on and air comes out of your vents, but the air is either not heated or not heated enough, there could be several possible problems.
  • Air filter is dirty – A dirty furnace filter prevents proper airflow to your furnace and makes it more difficult for your furnace to heat your house. Your filter should be changed every one to three months, depending on the kind you have.
  • Air ducts are leaking – Cracks and weathered seals in your ductwork as well as insufficient insulation can allow your heated air to escape through your ductwork. If this is your problem, have the ducts sealed or insulated by a professional.
  • Uneven airflow – If some rooms in your home are heated while others remain cold, the problem is likely not with your furnace at all. Instead, your ducts may be designed improperly or you may have the wrong size system for you home. Contact a professional for more information.
Q. Why won’t my furnace turn on?
 
A. There are several factors that play into diagnosing this furnace problem, such as the age of your unit and whether it has been regularly maintained. We have compiled a list of the most common reasons for a furnace that does not turn on.
  • Faulty thermostat – Verify the thermostat is switched to “heat”, the temperature is set correctly and the fan is set to “auto”. If you are still experiencing problems, you may need to replace the batteries or get a new thermostat. 
  • Tripped or blown circuit – Your furnace is likely on its own circuit, so if it is tripped or blown, you may not notice until you try to turn your furnace on. Check your circuit breaker.
  • Malfunctioning pilot light – A pilot light can go out for a number of reasons. If you are unsure of why your pilot light has gone out, please contact a professional that can help diagnose and repair the problem.
Q. My furnace seems to circulate heated air, but runs frequently for short intervals. Why?
 
A. Typically, a furnace will turn on when the temperature in your home goes below what is set on your thermostat and continue to heat until it is a few degrees warmer. This allows the heater to be more efficient. If your furnace is instead running only for a very short time and then cycling on again quickly, there could be one or more of the following problems.
  • Thermostat is malfunctioning – Your thermostat may be not relaying the temperature to your furnace accurately. Replace the batteries to see if this solves the problem. If not, you may need to replace the thermostat.
  • Heat vent is too close to thermostat – If your thermostat is located near or directly under a heating vent, it may be the culprit. When the furnace kicks on, it quickly heats the air near the thermostat. But then when it shuts off, the warm air flows to colder rooms, causing the furnace to turn on again.
  • Your home is leaking air – Uneven heating in your home or major heat loss will cause your furnace to come on again quickly. The heated air quickly dissipates and flows to colder rooms or outside through air leaks. 
  • Furnace is overheating – Your furnace may be overheating from lack of ventilation. Change your filter and make sure all ducts and the exhaust vent are clear of debris. There could be more serious issues causing your furnace to overheat as well, so contact a professional if the problem persists.
The best way to avoid these furnace problems is regularly maintain your unit. Your furnace is a high-tech machine that, much like your car, requires regular maintenance to continue to run efficiently. 
 
On Time Service Pros specializes in diagnosing and repairing your furnace problems. If you are still looking for an answer to your question, ask our experts. Or you can schedule a furnace tune-up or repair online.

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