Common Furnace Malfunctions We All Face Within Our Homes


During cold winter days and nights, you may crank up the thermostat on your heating system so that the furnace blows heated air throughout the home. You can typically count on your furnace to keep you warm and cozy in even the most frigid weather conditions. However, there are times when furnaces will act up, and all homeowners will have to contend with a broken heater at some point. There are a number of common issues that most will face over the years, and some issues will require professional assistance from a trained technician to resolve.


A Broken Thermostat

If your heating system is blowing cooler air than you would like through the home or if it seems unresponsive to changes you make to the thermostat controls, there is a chance that the thermostat may be broken. In some cases, a resolution is as simple as changing the batteries to the thermostat. However, if this does not work, the wall unit may need to be replaced. An HVAC technician can assist you with this process.


The Pilot Light

In order for the heater to work, the pilot light must be lit or ignited. There are two common types of ignition systems in heaters, and these are a hot surface ignition and an intermittent pilot light. Some issues with pilot lights result when the pilot light has been extinguished for some reason. Re-lighting it often resolves the issue. Another reason may be that the pilot light or ignition system has gone bad and needs to be replaced. An HVAC technician can determine what the cause of the trouble is and can remedy the issue for you quickly.


Dirty Air Filters and Ducts

Some people will notice that their heater seems to be running longer than usual or that their heating bills are higher than they should be based on weather conditions. These are some of the signs that you may have a dirty air filter or ducts. The heating system works by forcing warm air through the ducts and filter and into your home. When the filter and ducts are dirty, the system has to work harder to heat the different rooms in the home to the right temperature based on the thermostat setting. With this in mind, replacing air filters every month is a wise idea. If the ducts are very dirty, professional air duct cleaning may be needed.


Poor Air Circulation

Some broken heaters may turn on, but they may barely blow air throughout the home. Poor air circulation is unfortunately common, and it can be caused by several issues. For example, it may be caused by issues with the bearings, belts or fan motors. Generally, this is a type of issue that should be professionally diagnosed by a skilled heating and cooling system technician.


Poor Maintenance

If you notice that your system is not acting right and you call an HVAC technician to diagnose the problem, the technician may tell you that there is nothing specific wrong with the system. Instead, he or she may recommend a tune-up. All heating systems require regular maintenance service from time to time, and it may have been several years or more since your system was last maintained. A tune-up should be completed at least every 12 months, and the ideal time to schedule it is before you turn the heater on for the first time in the fall months. A tune-up will clean components, replace fluids and complete other necessary steps. This can decrease repair issues over time, improve longevity of the system and help it to operate with peak efficiency for cost savings.


A broken heater is not something that anyone wants to deal with on a cold winter day. As you can see, there are a few quick-fix solutions to some problems that homeowners can complete on their own. However, if your own troubleshooting efforts for some issues are not productive, you can easily request assistance from a trained professional who can diagnose and repair the issue with your heater.


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