It's every homeowners worst nightmare—you wake up in the middle of the night to see a cloud of your breath appearing with every exhale...wait, why is it so cold inside your home?!
With proper care and regular maintenance, there's no reason your furnace should stop heating in the middle of winter. However, as with any appliance, malfunctions can occur. Try some of these easy steps to troubleshoot your own heating problems before calling a professional.
4 Faulty Furnace Troubleshooting Tips
Check Thermostat Settings
An incorrect setting on a thermostat is often the simple answer to why the heat isn't turning on. If you have a heat pump, the system may still be set in cooling mode. If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure the time and temperature settings are correct on the display or on your smartphone. If you think your thermostat may be broken, contact our team for assistance.
Change Your Air Filter
Changing your air filter every one to three months is one of the most cost-effective ways to maintain your heating system. If your air filter looks dusty or grey, it's time to replace it and create an easier path for your air to flow through your system and into your home.
Check the Circuit Breaker Panel
Even gas-powered furnaces rely on some electricity to run. Because of this, heating systems can sometimes trip a breaker. A tripped breaker will keep the furnace from turning on. Check your circuit panel for tripped breakers and reset them to try and fix the problem.
Unblock All Vents
Rugs and holiday decor can warm up a room, but they can also block your vents. Check to see that all vents are unobstructed, have open access and the airflow from them feels warm.
If none of the above steps helps the situation, your furnace could require more than simple troubleshooting. Scheduling preventative maintenance for your furnace is the best way to ensure that your system works without issues when you need it the most.
3 Common Furnace Repairs
When your system breaks down, sometimes a small repair is enough to carry your heater through the winter. Keep reading to learn some causes of the top three most common furnace repairs we see each winter:
Fan Isn't Working
The fan in your home's comfort system has several components that, when left unattended, can fall into disrepair. Your fan could simply be dirty, and the dust and debris could be affecting its ability to rotate correctly.
While this is a simple fix (that's easily prevented with annual maintenance), other problems such as wiring issues or a broken fan motor need to be repaired by a professional.
Dust and debris can collect around the burner of your furnace during summertime. When the burner is covered in a layer of dust and dirt, it may lead to problems, such as an unpleasant smell, uneven heating, an inability for all the burners to light, and excessive wear and tear.
Many of today's furnaces light with an electronic ignition. Without proper maintenance and care, the pilot's fuel nozzle can become clogged, which will block the gas from flowing. What does this mean? Essentially, dirt on the outside of the igniter can act as insulation, and the igniter won't become hot enough to light the gas.
These three furnace repairs are just a few of the problems you could encounter with your heating system this winter. Ignoring small issues now could lead to bigger, more expensive repairs down the road.
How many years should a furnace last?
With proper care and routine maintenance, your furnace should last anywhere between 12-15 years. However, at some point keeping your older furnace alive may end up costing more money than simply replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient model.
As soon as your system hits ten years of age, keep an eye out for any major signs of heating system failure.
When Is It Time to Replace My Furnace?
Winter is the last time you want to be worried about your heating system's performance: keep an eye out for these red flags that indicate it's time to upgrade now.
Steep Utility Bills
Your outdated heater could be the blame for a steep utility bill. As a heating unit ages, it gradually becomes less efficient. This lower efficiency will be reflected in your heating costs.
Changing it out for a high-efficiency heating system will improve comfort while being more affordable to operate. Modern furnaces have an annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, of 90 percent and higher, which means they only lose about 10 percent of the heat they generate. Older systems have an AFUE of around 60.
Heaters are designed to operate quietly. Listen for any usual noises from your system, such as:
Strange noises are a major indicator that it's time to repair or even replace your heating system.
Potential problems causing these sounds include a worn motor bearing, frayed blower belt, or dirty burners. These sounds can be remedied through routine maintenance or minor repairs, but if your system is between 15 and 20 years old, it's likely on its last leg.
Cold Spots in Your Home
Your furnace is designed to distribute heat evenly throughout your home. Inconsistent temperatures could mean that it's no longer up to the task.
Requires Frequent Repairs
A furnace will require the most repairs during the last several years of its life. At a certain point, it's more feasible to replace it.
If the cost of the repair is half the price of a new unit, spring for the upgrade. You'll enjoy a more reliable system, improved comfort, and lower operating costs.
For all of your heating needs, contact A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical at (503) 694-3396.