Common Furnace Problems in Cold Weather and How to Fix Them
Raise your hands if you’ve ever woken up shivering in the middle of the night due to a malfunctioning furnace. We have all been there.
Cold weather can be a challenge for furnaces, especially old ones when the cold weather sets in.
That’s why we are about to let you in on some handy tips for common furnace problems that always seem to happen when the mercury starts to plummet. Keep reading to learn how you can keep your home cozy and warm during winter.
Common Furnace Problems
When the weather outside gets cold, you know that it’s time to turn on your furnace. But when something goes wrong, like a lack of heat or short cycling, it can be frustrating and uncomfortable in your home. Sometimes, the first sign of a problem is an unexpectedly high energy bill!
It’s important to know what some of the common signs are of furnace problems and how they can be fixed. A few of the most common issues include:
Lack of heat
Dirty air filters
Lack Of Heat
If your furnace is leaving you shivering, you may be dealing with an issue like a faulty igniter or pilot light, blocked vents, a dirty air filter, or a malfunctioning thermostat.
If your pilot light is out, it’s usually easy to relight it yourself. Check your owner’s manual for instructions on how to do this safely and properly. If the pilot won’t stay lit or other parts of the system (e.g., blower motor) don’t seem to be working correctly, then you should call in a professional HVAC technician as soon as possible.
One other possibility is that there could be an issue with blocked ducts or vents on either side of the furnace itself – these can easily get clogged up by dust and debris over time and need to be cleaned regularly if they are not functioning correctly.
A furnace that frequently turns on and off, like every couple of minutes, is probably having an issue with short cycling. This is a problem that occurs when the thermostat tells the furnace to turn on but then shuts off before the desired temperature is reached.
The most common causes of short cycling are either a dirty air filter or a clogged evaporator coil. To fix this problem, start by replacing the air filter and checking for any blockages or debris around the evaporator coil.
If that doesn’t solve it, check to make sure your condensate discharge line isn’t blocked and inspect for any other mechanical issues like fan motor problems or limit switch malfunctions.
Ignition issues can be difficult to diagnose and fix, but they are common furnace problems in cold weather. Problems with the thermostat or faulty wiring are the most likely causes.
One of the first things you should check is whether the furnace is receiving power from the thermostat. Most often, dead batteries are the culprit, so change those first.
Another thing to try is to try turning off power to both devices for 30 seconds before restoring power and attempting ignition again.
If your furnace still does not ignite after these steps have been taken, consider calling an HVAC technician for further help as this issue may require more intense inspection or repair.
Dirty Air Filters
Dirty air filters are common furnace problems. Dirty filters restrict airflow to your furnace, causing it to run less efficiently. Breakdowns are imminent if the dirty filters are ignored for too long.
Check your air filter every month or so, and replace it as necessary. The type of air filter you use should also be taken into account. Basic fiberglass filters are more affordable than higher-end pleated versions, but they do need to be changed more often.
Thermostats are another weak point for furnace problems. Thermostats can get damaged, broken, or just not work properly due to age. If your furnace isn’t producing enough heat, it could be the thermostat sending incorrect signals. Try resetting it to see if that removes the glitch.
You can also test it by setting temperatures higher and lower than normal and seeing if these changes are reflected in actual temperature readings from your furnace – if not, then there’s likely an issue with your thermostat.
Tips for Keeping Your Furnace in Tip-Top Condition
It’s important to make sure your furnace is in good working order before the cold weather hits. There are a few tips you can use that will help keep your furnace in top shape during the winter months and prevent most of the common issues.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
Scheduling annual maintenance for your furnace can help you avoid most furnace problems that arise during cold weather. Your HVAC technician will be able to check to make sure the system is running at maximum efficiency and diagnose any potential issues before they become major repairs.
A technician will inspect the furnace parts, clean components, and replace air filters. They’ll also check for gas or carbon monoxide leaks and inspect ventilation systems.
Keep The Area Around The Furnace Clean And Clear
Once you have done the important steps of replacing your air filters and scheduling annual maintenance, there’s one more thing you mustn’t overlook, keeping the area around the furnace clean and clear.
The area around your furnace needs to be kept free from any obstructions like furniture, rugs, curtains, or other flammable objects in order to ensure it runs safely and efficiently. Not only will this help extend the life of your furnace, but it can also prevent potential fires if something gets too close to a high heat source like a pilot light or burner assembly.
If you have an outdoor unit, regularly check for debris as well. Keeping an eye out for these things is essential in making sure your home stays warm during cold weather months.
Is it Time for a Furnace Replacement?
A professional technician will be able to diagnose these problems accurately and help find solutions that don’t require expensive repairs. However, furnaces do have a shelf life. If yours is constantly plagued by issues, it might be time to consider calling a professional furnace installation service near you and get yourself a brand-new furnace ready for next winter.