There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of a cold night and suspecting that there might be a problem with your furnace. You recognize that you might have a furnace problem when you experience an uncomfortable sense that things are not as they should be in your home. Many furnace issues can be solved with simple repairs, but in this list, we’ll explore common furnace problems that you can only solve by calling an expert.
Common Furnace Problems You Shouldn’t Try to Fix
Your furnace is the heart of your home, and your home is likely your largest investment. Maintaining your furnace is just as important to your home as changing your oil is for your vehicle. Furnace problems can go beyond a failure to provide adequate heat. The fuel and exhaust mechanisms of your furnace can create toxic fumes, which could prove fatal to your family. It is always important to have operational smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home to provide another means of early warning in case you develop a potentially lethal furnace issue.
Tampering with your furnace without the proper education and training is likely to create more problems than it solves. The operating systems of a furnace can be delicate and complex. Too much force applied with a screwdriver or wrench can result in very expensive damage. Whenever you experience a furnace problem, begin by taking pictures before you make any adjustments. Furnace problems can often be restored with simple repairs by the homeowner, but here are some issues you shouldn’t try to fix yourself:
1. Yearly Professional Maintenance Requirements
The best way to deal with common furnace problems is to stop them before they start. Many people view a yearly maintenance check-up by a licensed professional to be an unnecessary expense. However, you should think of the yearly maintenance appointment as a form of insurance. Diagnosing a problem before it becomes a major issue can save you tens of thousands of dollars. All it takes is one critical diagnosis from a furnace maintenance professional to pay for 20 years of maintenance appointments.
Your yearly maintenance appointment goes beyond the routine furnace maintenance all homeowners need to perform. HVAC professionals examine hundreds of furnaces yearly, and they can quickly identify problem areas and make a good assessment of the probability of failure. If your furnace has a component that is set to expire, it is better to have it identified and replaced in the summer or fall before the winter cold sets in.
2. Broken Thermostat
A broken or out-of-date thermostat is a very common furnace problem. Your thermostat regulates your home temperature. The thermostat is like the brain that tells your furnace what to do. It is important that your thermostat is installed and calibrated correctly to avoid the proliferation of commands, which may cause damage to your furnace.
Professional HVAC technicians will ensure that your thermostat is installed correctly and also ensure that the wiring is adequate for the needs of your heating system. If you live in an old house with antique wiring, you might need to upgrade your system to ensure uninterrupted service. It is better to have a professional evaluate the wiring than to install a new thermostat on a faulty system and risk electrical failure, fire, or worse.
3. Repairing the Furnace Exhaust Flue
Your furnace has an exhaust system that vents noxious fumes from your home. These fumes are often invisible and can be very dangerous. You should never make adaptations or adjustments to any part of your exhaust flue and venting system. If you inadvertently create a puncture, it could result in the venting of noxious fumes into your home.
HVAC technicians are aware of the proper techniques for ensuring every component of your furnace is installed correctly and is safe. Tinkering with these vital components can be very dangerous and should be left to professionals.
4. Problems With the Fuel Source
One of the most common furnace problems is an issue with your fuel source. If your furnace does not get fuel, it will not be able to operate. Fuel issues can be anything from leaks, to plugged lines, to issues with delivery from the fuel source. Under no circumstances should you attempt to repair fuel problems with your furnace on your own.
If your furnace stops working and you go to examine it and smell gas, you should stop what you’re doing and shut off the gas valve if there is one. Then, get everyone out of your home immediately. A gas or other fuel leak can release toxic fumes, cause a fire, and even has the potential for an explosion. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to repair a problem with your fuel source. Licensed HVAC technicians have the training and knowledge to address that type of problem safely and efficiently.
5. Blower Motor and Belts
The blower is responsible for distributing the heat generated to your furnace to every corner of your home. In order to have proper heating, your blower must be properly installed and correctly adjusted. Your furnace blower is very powerful, and it is better to leave any repairs or adjustments to a certified HVAC professional. Improper installation of your blower or failure to install the belts correctly can result in expensive repairs and the need for replacement parts.
6. Limit Control Switch
If your furnace runs continuously without turning off, or fails to come on, you might have an issue with your limit control switch. Issues with the limit control switch are one of the most common furnace problems, and it’s important that the switch is maintained or replaced by a licensed HVAC technician. The limit control switch has many components, including a temperature sensor within the furnace. This sensor can turn off the furnace if it overheats.
Your limit control switch is one of many safety features which prevents your furnace from becoming seriously damaged due to heat increase or other regulation errors. If your limit control switch does not work properly or is improperly installed, you put your furnace, your house, and your family at risk of some very dangerous scenarios.
Calling a Professional Means Peace of Mind
It is very important to develop the proper amount of respect for your furnace. When properly installed and maintained, your furnace is the heart of your home and will provide you with warmth, safety, and comfort. However, just because your furnace has worked well for years or decades does not mean that you can bypass your yearly maintenance schedule. Regard your furnace with the same respect you would have for a fire in a fireplace. It is the source of warmth for your home, but it needs to be properly tended in order to operate safely and correctly.
It is never too late to schedule a maintenance visit from an HVAC professional. It is always better to identify potential areas of concern and repair them before failure than to respond to an emergency. If you have not had your furnace maintained recently or you have developed a sixth sense that your furnace is not operating correctly, call Airforce Heating and schedule a service appointment today.