Common Furnace Problems and How to Fix Them

As we settle into the colder months, people start turning on their furnaces to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature or flee to warmer climates. After being dormant for the summer, this is the time when issues that have previously gone unnoticed begin to become apparent.

At Vredevoogd Heating and Cooling, we don’t want our customers to waste money diagnosing a furnace problem they can easily fix at home. By understanding the difference between a simple fix and an issue requiring a professional, you can save money and time.

Top 4 Furnace Problems

If you’re a first-time homeowner or recently became in charge of your home maintenance, navigating your furnace may seem impossible. Knowing the most common furnace problems is a great way to improve your confidence and keep your furnace in top shape. So, let’s get started!

1. Replacing Filters

Every furnace has a filter that collects dirt, allergens, pollutants, and other air-born irritants, keeping your air fresh and your ductwork cleaner.

Most homeowners are aware that their furnace has a filter, but may not know how often to replace their filters. Typically, filters need to be changed every month or two, but if you’ve never replaced your filter now is the time to do that. Every filter is different, so check your filter’s packaging to find a more specific timeline.

There are two main signs that your furnace’s filter needs to be replaced: the air does not seem to be heated to the correct temperature or your furnace sounds like it’s working harder than it should be. When either of these symptoms pops up, check the filter before you call your local repair company.

2. Faulty Starting Mechanism

Every furnace requires a mechanism to signal the start of the heating cycle. The type of mechanism depends on the age of the furnace. Older furnaces typically use a pilot light, whereas newer furnaces mainly use electrical ignitions.

Nevertheless, once the ignition or pilot light fails, the mechanism needs to be repaired or replaced. Without the starting mechanism, your furnace may stop heating your home when you need it.

A failing starting mechanism is best dealt with by a professional technician who has experience repairing heating and cooling equipment.

3. Gas Leaks and Odors

When you turn your furnace on for the first time at the beginning of every winter season, you can expect to notice a slight burning smell. While the furnace sat dormant for the warmer months, layers of dust accumulated throughout the system and burn up as it heats up again. This smell should only last an hour or so before dissipating.

If the smell persists or smells moldy, you may have a growth of allergens and debris built up in your system. If the smell is metallic or you can sense gas, immediately turn off your gas valve and open all doors and windows. Call for an emergency furnace repair right away and evacuate your home in the meantime.

4. Broken Thermostat

Occasionally, the issue with your furnace may not involve your furnace at all.

Your home’s thermostat is responsible for detecting the temperature in your home and communicating with your furnace when to start the heating cycle. A broken or malfunctioning thermostat can record the wrong temperature, signaling your furnace to produce more heat than you want or less heat than you need.

Some thermostats are powered by batteries, and a weak battery can cause problems. Usually there is some indicator on the screen that will tell you if the batteries need to be changed.

The thermostat can also have a problem with what messages it sends to the furnace. Ultimately, electrical issues will result in an improperly heated home.

If you have some experience doing electrical work, you may be able to replace your thermostat on your own. Regardless, having a professional technician come to diagnose the issue is the simplest way to have your thermostat replaced or repaired.

Vredevoogd Has Your Back

We never want to leave our customers without help in an emergency, that’s why Vredevoogd has certified technicians available 24 hours a day every day of the year. Serving the Grand Rapids area for 50 years, we are committed to providing experienced and affordable service.

Contact us today to get help from a certified technician or schedule a service online!

Call Vredevoogd Heating & Cooling for all your plumbing, heating, & cooling needs. In the greater Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Lakeshore, and surrounding areas call: 844-HVAC-365

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