Wouldn’t it be great if you could predict a furnace breakdown, so you don’t have to go without heat in Calgary’s brutal winters? While a yearly inspection can certainly help, there’s a reason you’re here reading this article, and we hope you aren’t without heat for long.
The good news is that you can resolve many furnace troubleshooting issues quickly and inexpensively. Read on to learn about the 12 most common furnace problems and how to fix them.
Furnace Troubleshooting Tips Before Calling a Furnace Repair Service
1. Your furnace isn’t turning on at all.
Bear with us here…is the furnace actually turned on? You’d be surprised by how many homeowners realize a small nudge disconnected the switch. This could be the sole reason your house feels too cold for comfort with the furnace not turning on. Once you’ve checked that off the furnace troubleshooting list, you’ll want to see if your circuit breaker tripped.
If the furnace’s breaker is in the off position, you’ll want to switch it over to on. If it’s between the off and the on position, switch it to off before turning it back on. If it stays on, you can chalk this furnace issue up to a fluke. If your breaker keeps tripping, this is your sign to get a professional. Contact your local furnace repair service to determine the next best steps, which may require a home visit from an electrician.
2. Your furnace is squealing.
Being interrupted by a horrid squealing noise is not ideal for any Calgary homeowner. Usually, this means there could be a few furnace problems related to worn-out parts. Whether it’s a failed blower or an inducer motor, this isn’t one of the simple DIY fixes you should try to take on. You could end up paying a lot more in repairs that could have been avoided. Remember, just because you can Google a tooth extraction, doesn’t mean you should do it yourself.
3. An access panel was left open.
To get to the inner workings of your furnace, you need to go through the access panel. If it isn’t closed all the way, you’ll run into problem #1 – the furnace won’t turn on. This safety measure is put in place, so it doesn’t run during a maintenance clean or furnace repair. If you suspect this is the root of the issue, turn your furnace off, ensure the door is closed completely, and turn your furnace back on.
4. Your furnace heat exchanger is cracked.
If your furnace is on and you’re feeling air whoosh through your vents, the heat exchanger could be the source of your problems.
The heat exchanger is the heart of your furnace. Without it, you wouldn’t have any warm air heating your home! A heat exchanger pushes air from the furnace through a coil of heated tubes that essentially warm the air before dispersing through the rest of your home. Signs of a heat exchanger problem could include:
- Water seeps onto the floor around the furnace.
- Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms (that mimic the flu) such as nausea, headaches, or disorientation.
- Soot inside of your furnace.
- A strong odour that is typically unpleasant.
This deadly problem requires a professional to replace your furnace to ensure carbon monoxide doesn’t damage your health in the process.
5. Your furnace flame is a funny colour.
Your furnace’s flame should be a bright blue with a little yellowish tip when it’s working properly. The blue flame on your gas furnace indicates that the fuel is being burned safely and effectively.
Contact an emergency furnace professional immediately if the flame is red, yellow, purple, green, or any other hue than blue. Never try to change the color of your furnace’s flame on your own.
6. Your furnace has a clogged or dirty air filter.
Air filters are crucial to maintain. Without it functioning correctly, it can lead to more severe furnace repair service issues. If it’s dirty or clogged, it will reduce your furnace’s intake to function and reduce efficiency. Consistent forgetfulness of this essential furnace maintenance tip can result in more damage, such as your limit switch overheating exchanger, and shorten its lifespan.
Follow your furnace’s manual for its recommended air filter swap – we typically recommend every 30-90 days.
7. The thermostat isn’t set properly.
Just as important as ensuring your furnace is switched on is that the thermostat is set correctly. Even missing just one command from your owner’s manual can prevent the furnace from performing at its best. A key indicator that this is the root of the problem is that your furnace fan is constantly running.
Your first furnace troubleshooting step is to check the batteries and wiring leading to your furnace. You’ll want to check the panel and inspect it for anything that could be out of place or affecting the connection. If this doesn’t help, you may need to find a furnace repair service that can act quickly in these cool Calgary temperatures.
8. Your furnace’s draft inducer motor is broken, or malfunctioning.
Your furnace inducer motor is essential for moving air through the furnace, heating vent pipes, and removing harmful gases that could travel into your home. If it begins to fail, you may hear a tapping, humming, or whirring sound after a heating cycle begins.
If your furnace is turning on but you don’t hear the blower motor kicking in, a professional can check to see if this is the cause of your furnace problem.
9. Your furnace isn’t blowing any air.
If your furnace isn’t blowing any air, there are several possible causes. It could be something simple such as a clogged blower or a bit more complex with a flashing light on the blower. Your first furnace troubleshooting step is to check the LED indicator light and cross reference the error code legend in your owner’s manual. If you suspect this is the source of the problem, you should call a professional to investigate the furnace repair further.
10. Your furnace has a rattling, popping, or pinging noise.
Homeowners typically notice something is wrong with their furnace when it’s making an unusual noise or isn’t producing heat. If a rattling, popping, or pinging sound is the cause for concern, this could be from a loose mechanical part or a more severe issue. If it’s rattling, there may be a loose panel on the furnace, whereas pinging or popping could be the result of your ductwork.
Your best furnace troubleshooting step would be to call in an expert to diagnose the problem before it affects other parts of your furnace.
11. The furnace is cycling too frequently.
If you notice your furnace is kicking on frequently after it just finished a round of heating the home, this could be an easy fix. The first thing you want to check is your filter. If it’s clogged or you can’t remember the last time you changed it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t fix the issue, you may have your furnace running too high or too low.
If the problem persists, you’ll want to contact a furnace repair service or prepare for higher-than-normal heating bills.
12. The motor bearings are worn out on your furnace.
Let’s start by saying you didn’t do anything wrong – motor bearings can just wear out over time. However, they are vital since they help your furnace motor run properly. If you hear a scraping sound, this is a critical indicator that you should call a furnace service repair asap.
While these are 12 common furnace problems and some beginner furnace troubleshooting tips, your best route, in the long run, is calling an HVAC expert. A seasoned professional will save you time and money by correctly diagnosing the issue the first time and putting your safety first. Contact us 24/7 at (403) 879-7213 for a fast, reliable furnace repair service or contact us to book an appointment.
Has your furnace ever experienced any one of these 12 common issues? Were you able to repair it yourself, or did you call in a professional? Comment below so other readers can learn from your experience.