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15 Common Residential Furnace Problems

A comfortable and healthy home environment requires a high-performing furnace. To keep your family safe and warm this winter, you should be on the lookout for signs that you may need furnace repair services.

Here are fifteen warning signs that tell you it’s time to call for furnace repair:

  1. Furnace age – If your furnace is over 15 years old, then you can expect your furnace repairs to become more frequent. If your furnace repair costs add up to about half the price of a new furnace, it makes more economic sense to purchase a new unit instead of investing in repairs. Aside from that, you new system will run more efficiently, saving you money in the long run.
  2. Strange noises – Furnaces can start to make some strange noises as they age. If you have heard loud or strange noises coming from your furnace, it’s a smart idea to get your heating system inspected. Noises can be caused by a damaged interior fan, a bad capacitor, a loose fan belt that needs to be tightened immediately, friction between the fan belts that require immediate oiling or an obstructed burner.
  3. Increase in utility bills – If you have noticed an unexpected rise in your gas or electric bill, it may be attributed to your furnace. Because heating costs account for about 50 percent of your utility bills during the winter months, it is very important to have an energy-efficient furnace.
  4. Yellow flame – The burner flame in your furnace should be blue. Occasionally, check the color. If you notice that your flame is yellow, this can be a sign that your furnace isn’t operating efficiently or being properly vented, which means carbon monoxide is more likely to be produced. In this situation, you should exit your home immediately, call your gas company, and call our HVAC company for emergency furnace repair services.
  5. Flickering pilot light –The pilot light serves as an igniter in a furnace. When you turn on the burner valve of your furnace, the pilot light provides the flame that is needed to light up the valve. But when this light becomes faulty or starts flickering, the whole furnace is affected. A damaged thermocouple is the primary cause of a flickering pilot light.
  6. Dry or dusty air – Broken furnaces often lack the ability to moisturize and clean the air in your home. If you notice that your home has become unusually dry or dusty, a quick furnace repair could fix the issue.
  7. Dirty or dusty filters – Furnace filters are essential to your well-being and to the furnace itself. Typically, the air is contaminated with dust, dirt, and stray hairs; the return duct pulls in this contaminated air. The essence of the filter is to separate these impurities from getting into the blowers’ fan that produces the air your home breathes in. If these filters are very dirty, it can cause the furnace to overheat, and this is tagged “short cycling.”
  8. Poor Maintenance – Proper maintenance leads to better functionality. A furnace, just like every other household appliance, requires accurate and consistent checkups. The lifespan of a properly maintained furnace ranges from 15 to 18 years, but nowadays, furnaces don’t last that long because of poor maintenance.
  9. Diminished system performance – Ironically, most furnace malfunctions happen right at the peak of winter when families need heat the most. If your furnace has been heating less than expected, or not at all, it can be a major safety concern that needs immediate attention. Remember that your furnace keeps people and household appliances– dishwashers, fridge water lines, pipes, etc., from freezing.
  10. Thermostat problems – The function of the thermostat in a furnace is to regulate. It helps in determining how much heat should be dissipated in your home. It automatically turns off when it senses the heat delivered is at an optimal level. If you notice your house is too hot or too cold, there could be an issue in the thermostat.
  11. Furnace cycling problems – When you set the desired temperature on your furnace (let’s say 72 degrees), the thermostat heats the home and turns off. The ideal wait time for a thermostat is 15 minutes. This is to allow proper hot air circulation. After the waiting period, the thermostats start again, and the process is repeated. Short-cycling is when the thermostat turns off and on randomly, causing too much heat or no heat at all. Short-cycling can damage the furnace engine in the long run and is a significant cause of high heating bills in most homes.
  12. Water leaking from the furnace – Leaking furnaces are mainly caused by condensation leakage. Condensation leaks are caused by a clogged drain, a broken line, or a damaged pump. This leakage can damage your flooring, walls, and the furnace itself.
  13. Damaged Bearings –Ball bearings help your furnace fan rotate smoothly and effortlessly. The motor and shaft bearing work together to rate the fan, and any damage to the balls leads to proportional damage to the fan. If the bearings produce a humming or creaking sound while rotating or emitting a hot burning smell, that may be the issue.
  14. Faulty Limit Switch –The control limit switch turns on the fan blower once the thermostat has successfully emitted the desired heat. It works hand in hand with the thermostat to regulate the amount of air being circulated. A damaged control switch can cause overheating and eventually spoil the furnace.
  15. Damaged Ducts –Air ducts leaving the furnace are the passage through which heated, conditioned, and ventilated air passes. Aggressive cleaning of the ductwork system is the primary cause of duct damage. Once they become damaged, the air quality given out and received by the furnace becomes an issue.
  16. [BONUS!] Bad Heat Exchanger –As the name implies, a heat exchanger exchanges heat from the combustion system and separates it from the air you breathe. If your heat exchanger becomes faulty, it can tamper with your health, as it cannot differentiate between the combusted air and the breathing air.

It is important to get your furnace inspected frequently to prevent a small issue from becoming larger and more costly over time. In the worst situations, failure to repair your furnace can have dangerous consequences, so don’t delay!

If you are looking for help with furnace installation, furnace maintenance or furnace repair, or other help with your plumbing, heating, and cooling in your residential and commercial spaces, reach out to us at B. Carlson Heating Cooling and Plumbing.

We work with people in Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and other local areas. Simply give us a call at (505) 349-4409.

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