A well-functioning furnace is essential for the comfort and safety of your home, especially during the cold months. However, you may encounter common furnace issues that can disrupt this comfort. The good news is that some furnace problems are straightforward enough for a bit of DIY furnace maintenance. Knowing how to troubleshoot these issues can save you time and potentially reduce the need for professional furnace repair.
Signs of Common Furnace Issues
To effectively tackle furnace repair, you first need to recognize the common symptoms that something is wrong. As a homeowner, identifying these signs early can save you a lot of trouble and money down the line.
#1: No Heat Coming from the Furnace
One of the most immediate signs of a furnace issue is when your home stays cold despite having the heating on. This can be due to a variety of factors, from a faulty thermostat to a clogged filter. Before you panic, check the basics—like your thermostat settings and whether the furnace is actually turned on.
#2: Insufficient Heat to Heat Your Home
So the furnace is on, but the heat just doesn’t seem adequate. You keep cranking the heat higher, but your home’s temperature doesn’t seem to be getting any warmer. This is another common furnace issue that could be related to blocked vents or a malfunctioning blower. The furnace might be running in cases like this, but it’s not effectively circulating the warm air throughout your home.
#3: Odd Noises Coming from Your Furnace
Are you hearing odd noises? It’s highly unlikely that an unexpected visitor haunts your house, but it is instead coming from your furnace! Squealing, banging, or rattling noises aren’t just spooky; they can be symptoms of serious mechanical issues. Such sounds could indicate that some components within the furnace are either loose, worn out, or need lubrication. Pay attention to when these noises occur—during startup, operation, or shutdown—as this can give clues to the problem.
#4: Your Furnace Keeps Turning Off
If your furnace keeps shutting down prematurely, it could be a sign of a more significant issue. This is often related to a phenomenon called “short cycling,” where the furnace turns on and off too frequently. The reasons why this can happen can range from a dirty filter to faulty thermostat settings. We suggest taking note of how often this happens to assist in troubleshooting.
Essential Troubleshooting Tips for DIY Furnace Maintenance
Now that you know the signs that may indicate common furnace issues, let’s move on to basic troubleshooting steps. These are relatively simple DIY furnace maintenance tasks that can resolve minor problems and prevent the need for immediate professional furnace repair. Of course, if you do not feel comfortable performing these tasks, please get in touch with a professional for help.
#1: Checking the Thermostat
Your thermostat is the control center of your heating system, so it’s an excellent place to start your troubleshooting. Ensure it is set to “heat,” and try adjusting the temperature to at least 5 degrees above the room temperature. If the thermostat runs on batteries, make sure they’re fresh. For older electromechanical models, you may need to remove the cover and lightly brush off any dust from the metal coils and contact plates. Lastly, ensure your thermostat isn’t near heat sources like lamps or ovens that could give it false readings. It will likely come as no surprise that incorrect temperature readings could result in improper furnace operation – essentially tricking it into thinking that your home is warmer than it actually is.
#2: Inspecting and Replacing Filters
A clogged or dirty filter is a common furnace issue that can greatly impact your system’s performance. To check your filter, turn off your thermostat and the furnace switch for safety. Filters should generally be checked every 30 days; however, we always suggest checking the user manual to verify the correct period for your specific furnace.
Next, hold the filter up to a light source—if light can’t pass through easily, it’s time to clean or replace it. When you can no longer see through the filter, that means it is full of dirt, dust, and other particles. When replacing the filter with a clean one, always ensure that the arrows on the filter align with the airflow direction and securely fasten the access panel once done.
#3: Checking Circuit Breakers
Another thing to consider when facing furnace issues is your home’s electrical system. Suppose your furnace won’t turn on, head to the breaker box. You will want to check if the HVAC breaker is in the “on” position. If you find any breakers in the opposite direction, they’ve likely tripped.
There are a variety of reasons why a circuit breaker might trip, but the most common is when too much current is being drawn. For a furnace circuit, this can occur because the air filter is clogged, the air vent is blocked, the air ducts are leaking, the furnace is having motor issues, or the electrical panel itself is faulty.
To reset, flip the switch all the way off and then back on. You should hear a click signifying that it’s been reset. Proceed with caution: make sure your hands are dry, and if you spot signs of electrical damage, call a professional. We want to caution you that the repeated tripping of a breaker is a symptom of a bigger issue. If you are constantly flipping back the breaker, you have a serious problem to investigate that will likely require a professional.
#4: Evaluating the Pilot Light
For gas furnaces, the pilot light is an indicator of your furnace’s health. A blue flame is what you want to see. Any other color—be it red, yellow, or even green—indicates that the furnace isn’t burning gas efficiently, and it’s time to call for professional help. If the pilot light is out, you can try to relight it, but first, turn off the gas for 10-15 minutes.
If you smell gas, evacuate and call emergency services.
#5: Clearing Out the Vents
Inadequate heating could also be due to blocked vents around your home. Inspect all the supply and return grilles to ensure they’re open and unobstructed. Keep them free from rugs, furniture, or other items that impede airflow. Contrary to popular belief, closing vents in unused rooms won’t save you money and could actually lead to more severe issues, such as duct leaks and premature HVAC system failure.
By following these basic troubleshooting steps, you may be able to resolve some of the most common furnace issues on your own without the immediate need for professional furnace repair.
When to Call for a Professional for Furnace Repair
While DIY furnace maintenance can help you solve some common furnace issues, it’s crucial to know your limitations. Some repairs should only be handled by qualified professionals to ensure the safety and longevity of your furnace. For example, if you’ve gone through all the basic troubleshooting steps and still encounter issues like short cycling, strange noises, or discolored flames, these are matters best left to experts.
Electrical problems pose a particular safety risk; as we mentioned above, if your circuit breakers continue to trip despite your attempts to reset them, it’s time to call a professional. Moreover, if you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, you should not attempt any further troubleshooting. Evacuate your home immediately and call emergency services.
Another important safety tip: Always make sure your hands and feet are completely dry when working around electrical components. If you see signs of electrical damage, moisture, or any other potential hazard, it’s best to avoid touching anything and immediately consult a qualified electrician or HVAC professional.
Recognizing the boundaries between DIY furnace maintenance and professional furnace repair could save you not just time and money but could also protect you from potentially dangerous situations. Always err on the side of caution, and don’t hesitate to seek expert assistance when in doubt.
The Importance of Regular Maintenance and Tune-ups
Though it’s possible to resolve some common furnace issues through DIY furnace maintenance, nothing replaces the benefits of regular, professional tune-ups. These service visits go beyond what a homeowner can generally do, including tasks like calibrating your thermostat, lubricating moving parts, and cleaning interior components that aren’t easily accessible. Scheduling regular maintenance increases your furnace’s efficiency, reduces energy bills, and extends the lifespan of your unit. It can also prevent minor issues from escalating into major problems that could result in costly furnace repairs down the line.
When professionals conduct a tune-up, they comprehensively examine your entire HVAC system. They check for worn-out parts, carbon monoxide leaks, and other issues that may not be apparent to an untrained eye. If detected early, many potential problems can be rectified before they cause a complete system failure or safety risks. Many experts recommend getting a professional tune-up at least once a year, typically during the fall, to ensure your furnace is ready for the winter months.
It’s important to note that some warranties may also require regular maintenance by certified technicians. Skipping these could void your warranty, leaving you responsible for any future repair costs entirely out of pocket. Therefore, regular maintenance is not just an optional luxury but an essential practice for responsible homeownership.
By investing in regular tune-ups, you’re not just ensuring a warm, comfortable home. You’re also contributing to your heating system’s long-term performance and safety, possibly saving yourself from costly and inconvenient future furnace repair.
Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning’s Comprehensive HVAC Service and Maintenance Plans
When it comes to exceptional customer service and superior HVAC equipment, Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning sets the standard. We are deeply committed to surpassing your expectations with our best-in-market HVAC systems. Serving both residential and commercial properties in the Tri-Cities region, we pride ourselves on excellence and timely problem-solving abilities. We’re not just another HVAC company; we’re your trusted partner for long-term comfort and efficiency in your home or office.
Understanding the critical role of regular maintenance, we offer a Scheduled Planned Service Agreement for your HVAC systems. This plan aims to keep your heating and cooling system running efficiently and cost-effectively. Our comprehensive inspections cover various aspects of your system, from checking electrical connections and thermostat operations to inspecting mechanical connections and Freon levels. Our technicians are highly skilled and are on call 24/7 for emergency services, assuring you peace of mind all year round.
Apollo’s holistic approach to HVAC considers the entire home environment—everything from building air tightness to the performance of windows, doors, and insulation. We also provide free estimates for system replacements, energy conservation consultations, and performance testing methods. Our technicians are among the most experienced in the industry, ensuring you have the most productive and safest HVAC system possible.
Choosing our maintenance plan means you’re investing in preventative care, one of the most effective ways to secure reliable performance from your HVAC system. Whether it’s your home, office, or investment property, our objective is to provide you with a perfectly comfortable and energy-efficient space.
Finding the Right Balance Between DIY and Professional Furnace Repair
As you navigate through the world of home maintenance, it’s crucial to find the right balance between DIY furnace maintenance and professional furnace repair. While taking on some common furnace issues yourself can save you time and money, knowing your limits is essential. Some problems require the expertise and equipment that only professionals can provide. It’s all about knowing when to roll up your sleeves and when to pick up the phone for professional help.
Remember that regular maintenance and tune-ups are necessary to keep your furnace running smoothly. Whether you opt for DIY furnace maintenance with annual check-ups or decide on a comprehensive maintenance plan like the one offered by Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning, the key is consistency. Timely check-ups can prevent more significant, more expensive issues down the line.
Think You’ve Done All You Can But Still Facing Furnace Issues?
Don’t hesitate to contact Apollo Heating & Air for professional and reliable service. Keep your home warm and your furnace functioning at its best. We’re committed to providing quality HVAC service to maintain a comfortable and energy-efficient home for you and your family.