Nearly every longtime homeowner has a furnace story that involves it breaking down at the worst possible time. While some furnace issues happen out of the blue, many can be avoided with seasonal maintenance and by keeping an eye out for trouble signs. Hopefully, you’ll never have to experience one of the most common furnace breakdowns: the one where your heating system won’t turn on at all.
If your thermostat is showing a “F” or the display on an electronic or programmable model has a red error light, you’ll need to replace the batteries. If this doesn’t solve the problem, try changing the date and time on the thermostat (it needs to be set to “Heat” for it to work). This is a simple step that many people forget to do.
Another common sign Furnace Repair of a problem is an increase in your energy bill. While some variations are expected in certain environments (the basement is likely to be cooler than the upstairs, for example), if you find that your house is experiencing a lot of variation in temperature between rooms, it’s a good idea to contact an HVAC specialist as this could indicate that your system isn’t running properly or efficiently.
If you notice that the pilot light on your gas furnace is yellow or orange, this means that the gas isn’t burning hot enough. This is a serious issue as it can lead to carbon monoxide leaks, which are deadly. If you have a carbon monoxide detector, it will usually go off and trigger a flashing alarm. If you do have a carbon monoxide leak, it’s important to leave the house immediately and call the gas company and/or fire department. Do not attempt to turn on any lights or appliances and don’t reenter the home until an HVAC specialist has been able to come and check for a gas leak.
A strong odor coming from your vents is an indication that there is something wrong with the furnace’s combustion. This can be a sign of carbon monoxide or, in the case of electric furnaces, an issue with the ignitor.
The odor will also be augmented if the air vents are clogged with dust, pet hair, or other debris. In addition, you’ll want to consider whether the ductwork is being blocked by furniture or other objects that could restrict the flow of heated air.
A sagging belt on your furnace blower is another common issue that requires immediate attention. This can cause the ductwork to pull air from other areas of the home, which will lower your heating efficiency and may result in cold spots throughout the room. Oftentimes, these problems can be fixed with a new belt and some WD-40.