A high-quality residential furnace should last for many years if not even a decade or two before it needs significant repairs or replacing. However, this doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to own a furnace without any problems or breakdowns during that time! Any number of issues, including outright neglect of needed maintenance, can lead to a furnace that doesn’t engage, blows cool air, or that cycles off too quickly.
Common causes for a residential furnace to fail:
While only a furnace repair contractor near your area can pinpoint the exact reason your home’s furnace is malfunctioning, you might note a few common causes of needed furnace repairs. You can then try some simple furnace troubleshooting fixes on your own and note if this gets your home’s furnace working again!
Before you assume you need a new residential furnace, start with some simple and obvious reasons for a furnace to break down:
If your home’s furnace switches on but you notice that airflow through the home is very weak, or that certain rooms don’t get warm at all, this often signals a problem with the furnace blower. The pulley between the two parts of the blower motor may have snapped or weakened over time; a homeowner can often replace this part on their own. Be sure you use the pulley make and model meant for your home’s furnace in particular!
If the furnace produces lukewarm air or airflow is limited, this might indicate a problem with what is called a limit switch. A limit switch reduces heat produced by the blower if the appliance gets overly warm. A furnace repair technician near you can adjust this limit switch so the blower remains warm.
If rooms located on the opposite end of the home fail to get sufficiently warm, the furnace blower may be undersized for your home, type of insulation, and outside weather conditions. In this case, you’ll need to have the furnace replaced.
In some cases, the home’s ductwork may be at fault for a furnace not operating as it should. Layers of dust, dirt, pet hair and dander, and other debris slow down airflow through those ducts and affect the temperature of air as it moves through the home.
Connected sections of ductwork can also shift out of place or become dented and dinged over time, leading to cracks and leaks along their connectors or elsewhere. These leaks let out warm air as it flows through those ducts so that airflow to adjoining rooms is very weak. Before calling for residential furnace repair, have the home’s ducts checked for needed cleaning or replacement.
It’s also good to check the vents in each room and ensure they’re open and not blocked by furniture, curtains, or other items. Vacuum the front and back of the vents to remove dirt, dust, and other debris, to allow warm air to flow through properly.
Maintaining your furnace throughout the year is an excellent way to ensure it functions as it should; neglecting routine maintenance is also an excellent way to have that furnace fail during cold winter months! Note a few residential furnace maintenance tips:
Even if you have the best-quality furnace on the market, it’s still helpful to note a few additional steps that can help keep your home warmer in wintertime. These simple tips will also result in less wear and tear on your home’s furnace overall, potentially increasing its lifespan and resulting in fewer furnace repair costs.
How long should it take for a furnace to kick on?
When you adjust the thermostat of your home, it might take up to five minutes for it to read the surrounding temperature and then cycle on the furnace. However, if a furnace takes longer than five minutes to cycle on, have it or the thermostat checked for needed repairs.
What would cause a furnace not to kick on?
A dirty filter is one of the most common causes for a furnace to not kick on. Excess dirt and dust raises the temperature of a furnace so that the limit switch engages, and might also restrict airflow so that the motor or blower burns out. Change the filter at least annually to protect your furnace.
Why does a furnace pilot light keep going out?
The most common reasons for a pilot light to keep going out include a dirty valve and a drafty environment. Check the utility area of your home for drafts and clean the pilot light valve with a pipe cleaner. If these do not keep the pilot light engaged, call for residential furnace repair.