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Common Residential Furnace Problems

Home furnaces are very important appliances in the home, especially during the Winter season. If you have a furnace in your home, you can thank it for keeping you warm and comfortable during these chilly few months. When the cool fall and winter come, you can usually rely on your furnace to keep you warm.

But sometimes, things go wrong with your furnace that cause major problems. If not properly maintained, your furnace can stop working or create some serious hazards in your home. If you want to be aware of some of the problems that can occur with your furnace, or find out what’s wrong with your furnace now, this article is for you.

Read on to find out the five most common issues found in residential furnaces, how to check for them, and how to fix each of them. At the end, we’ll go over how you can avoid encountering these problems.

Dirty Filters

Furnaces use filters to catch any and all debris that may flow out of it while it operates. Depending on how the furnace generates heat, there may be harmful particles being pushed through the vents while the furnace operates. Just like an air conditioning system, furnaces need filters to keep the air they condition clean.

Not replacing the furnace vent filters produces the same result of neglecting to replace HVAC filters. When filters are clogged with debris, the system must work harder to push air through it. If this happens to your furnace, some serious problems can arise. Not only can it drive your electricity bill up as the furnace harnesses more electricity to do its job, but a fire can start if the excess debris overheats and catches fire.

If you find your electricity bill excessively high, or hear your furnace making odd noises while it operates, you may be dealing with excessively dirty air filters. Make sure you check them regularly and brush the debris off, or replace them outright if the condition is bad enough.

You can avoid a lot of headache by preventing problems instead of trying to solve them. Check your furnace air filter right now and make sure that it’s still in good condition. If not, clean it up or get a new one in there.

Wear and Tear

Sometimes furnaces can fall victim to wear and tear when they have been in operation long enough. While your furnace may look good on the outside, it may be a completely different story on the inside. That’s why it’s important to take a look inside your furnace every now and then to make sure everything is in working order.

If you want to check the inside of your furnace, turn it off and make sure that it has been off for quite some time, an hour at minimum. Then unscrew some of the external panels or components so that you can take a look in there. You may be surprised by what you find inside of the furnace.

Years of use may have worn away at some of the moving parts inside the furnace, which there are a lot of. If something doesn’t feel right about your furnace, like strange noises or subpar performance, it might be due to wear and tear. Keep an eye out for the heat exchanger. This component tends to crack, and can cause lots of problems if it does.

If you’re not comfortable with performing this kind of maintenance, call a professional to take a look. Depending on the type of furnace you own, you might be exposed to carbon monoxide or other harmful pollutants if you’re not careful. If you’re familiar with mechanical ventilation and know your way around a furnace feel free to take a look inside if it’s not working properly.

Electrical Issues

There may be electrical issues occurring within your furnace if it’s not working properly. The most obvious cases of this are power outages or fluctuations, in which other appliances or electronics in your home will stop working as well. If this is the case, you just need to wait it out.

If the furnace isn’t responding to your thermostat commands, but every other electronic in your home is functioning normally, there is an issue with the power directory to the furnace. First, check if the circuit breaker relay to the furnace is on. Sometimes the circuit will break automatically when a problem is detected.

If this doesn’t work, and you still suspect an electrical issue, it’s time to check the wiring to make sure that everything is connected properly and that all the wires are in good condition. This is potentially dangerous work, so either take extreme caution or get a professional in there to check it out.

Malfunctioning Thermostats

Sometimes, the problem is a lot more simple than we suspect. If your furnace isn’t heating your home up when you turn the heat up on the thermostat, it may be the thermostat that’s not working properly. To test whether or not this is the case, try this simple test.

On the thermostat, set your home to be a few degrees cooler than it already is. If you feel it get cooler, then try turning the heat up. If that doesn’t work, then there’s an issue with the furnace. If neither cooling nor heating commands seem to work on the thermostat, the thermostat is the problem.

Luckily, thermostats are relatively easy and inexpensive to fix. If this is the case and you can’t figure it out, a professional will make easy work of the problem.

Mechanical Issues

Sometimes, all of the moving parts in a furnace will run into issues. With devices as complicated as furnaces, this is almost inevitable in the absence of perfect maintenance. There is so much that can go wrong inside a furnace, from damaged or dislodged blower belts to worn out ball bearings.

Mechanical issues usually emit strange noises when they occur. Maybe the thermostat will work, but you’ll hear unsettling noises in the house while it’s running. If this is the case, it’s time to take a look at what might be wrong, or have a professional do that for you.