Furnace problems are often hard to miss when temperatures drop. Indoor comfort in winter — as well as home safety — are directly related to a fully functional heating system. While most gas-fired furnaces are sturdy, reliable units with an average expected service life around 20 years, during that lengthy time span, certain malfunctions may occur. Here are some signs of typical furnace problems and what to do about them:
- The unit is blowing cold air. The furnace isn’t functional. First, however, check the thermostat just to make sure it’s set to the “Heat” option and the temperature setting is correct. If the furnace still doesn’t respond, you might have a defective electronic igniter or gas valve, or an automatic safety switch may have shut down the unit for some reason. These and other possibilities require troubleshooting and repair by a qualified HVAC service tech.
- The furnace cycles on and off rapidly. In normal operation, a furnace should cycle on and off between three and eight times per hour. If it’s cycling more frequently than that, the furnace may be improperly “sized” — meaning the BTU rating of the unit — for the home’s heating requirements. Another frequent cause is a defective high-limit switch. Designed to turn the furnace off if it gets too hot, the switch may no longer sense the furnace temperature properly and thus requires professional replacement.
- The temperature control inside your home is inconsistent. Is warm airflow reaching all areas of the house? Make sure all air vents in all rooms are open and unobstructed. Also check that the system air filter isn’t dirty and/or clogged. Replace the filter if it is.
- There is an unexplained uptick in heating costs. If your home gas bill has risen noticeably and other likely suspects such as a defective water heater or stove are eliminated, you may have a furnace problem. Issues related to proper gas combustion and venting, as well as the age of the unit, may be reducing energy efficiency. Get a checkup from a qualified HVAC service provider.
For professional advice and service to resolve furnace problems in the Coastal Bend, contact the experts at CCAC.