Common Furnace Problems and How to Prevent Them

cold woman in house

We’re well into winter now, although here in Northeast Ohio it’s sometimes been hard to tell. Be that as it may, winter is definitely here, and now is the time when common furnace problems begin to crop up. What are they and what can you do to help prevent them? Read on!

Check your thermostat, stat

If your thermostat isn’t working properly and doesn’t seem to be controlling your furnace, it may be broken and in need of service. Or . . . maybe not. First, if your thermostat runs on batteries, as many do, try changing the batteries. If the batteries are dead, or even low, your thermostat may not function correctly. A good rule of thumb is to change the batteries when you change the batteries in your smoke alarms—twice a year. You are doing that, right? Good! Next, make sure the thermostat is on. Don’t laugh, people sometimes forget that. Check that the thermostat is set to HEAT, and at least five degrees above room temperature. While we’re talking about thermostats, you may want to consider a programmable, or smart, thermostat. Smart thermostats allow you to program your thermostat easily, even from a smartphone app.

Your furnace is working . . . sort of

Maybe your thermostat is working and the furnace kicks on when it should but it’s just not warming up your house like it should. The first culprit to check is your furnace filter. A clogged, dirty filter makes your furnace work harder and produce less heat. A dirty filter can also affect your indoor air quality, which is especially important if you have respiratory issues, like asthma. Your furnace filter should be changed twice a year, usually spring and fall, and even more often if warranted.

It’s all about the vents

Check every vent in your house. Every single one. Make sure your vents are free and clear, not blocked by furniture, toys, even a large dog that never moves. Blocked vents mean limited air flow, which leads to less comfort. Also, if you’ve closed off vents in little used rooms, open them back up. Instead of saving energy, your furnace may work less efficiently. But wait, you’re not done yet. If your furnace happens to vent outside the house it’s time to put on your parka and boots and head out to check. Make sure the intake or exhaust is free of debris, including snow and ice.

When your furnace isn’t furnacing

There are many reasons why your furnace may not be working at all, and happily, at least one of them isn’t catastrophic, and may be something you can actually fix. You may have tripped the furnace circuit breaker (or fuse, if your house is of a certain vintage). First things first, check the breaker.

There are many other warning signs that something is wrong with your furnace, from loud squeaks, knocks and rattles, to a continuously blowing blower, to the furnace cycling on and off at a rapid pace—all of these things may suggest a more serious problem.

Safety first

This has nothing to do with how your furnace functions, but is vitally important when it comes to safety. Keep the area around your furnace clean, open and unobstructed. Basement clutter tends to grow and expand into any free space, including around your furnace. Give your furnace room to breathe, and don’t store anything in close proximity to it. This is especially important for anything flammable, which is just common sense.

Furnace care made easy

The easiest way to make sure that your furnace and air conditioner are working cleanly, safely and with optimum efficiency, is with an annual maintenance program for your HVAC system such as the Crown Comfort Club. A routine maintenance plan, with twice-yearly maintenance appointments, means your heating and cooling system is always running efficiently, reducing surprise maintenance costs. You also receive priority service even during the busiest seasons. And we are always happy to talk to you about whether a new HVAC system, or add-ons like whole house air purifiers or smart thermostats, may be right for you.

No one wants to wake up one winter morning with teeth chattering and icicles in their hair. Give Crown Heating and Cooling a call, and sleep in comfort, knowing that your furnace is taken care of.