As a Boston resident, there’s no hiding from cold temperatures, snow, and ice during the winter months. It’s inevitable, so the best thing you can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. While the cold weather is sure to impact you when you venture outdoors, you can always head home to warm up. But that only holds true if your furnace is in good working order. Regardless of the type, age, or condition of your furnace, something can go wrong [i] when you least expect it. Here are five common winter furnace problems that could throw you for a curve in the months to come:
1. Furnace Won’t Kick On
All you want is for your furnace to kick on so you can get warm (and stay warm), but it’s not cooperating. There are many potential issues, some of which are more serious and complex than others:
- Faulty pilot light igniter or sensor
- Dirty air filter
- Malfunctioning thermostat
- Electrical problem
- Closed gas supply
If your issue is as basic as a closed gas supply, you can simply turn it on and enjoy the warmth. However, if it’s more complex, such as an electrical short within the unit, it’s best to consult with a professional.
2. Furnace Won’t Blow Hot Air
There is no shortage of potential reasons for a furnace not blowing hot air. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Not enough gas making its way to the furnace
- Pilot light is out
- Dirty flame sensor
- Clogged condensate line
- Damaged heating ducts
- Furnace that is too small for the size of your home (be careful of this when replacing your furnace)
In some cases, your issue can result from two or more of the above, which adds another layer of challenges to the repair process.
3. Furnace Isn’t Blowing Enough Air
This is typically the result of a dirty air filter. If you don’t change you filter as recommended by the manufacturer, it could clog to the point of not allowing enough air to pass through. Many homeowners run into this issue during the winter months because they neglected to change their air filter during the summer season. Remember, your air conditioner uses the filter in the same manner as your furnace.
It only takes a few seconds to swap out a dirty filter for a clean one.
4. Furnace Won’t Turn Off
A furnace that won’t turn off is better than one that won’t turn on, right? While this makes sense during the cold winter months, it’s still a serious issue that requires your immediate attention.
Here’s what you need to do:
Pinpoint what’s happening: there’s a difference between the furnace failing to shut down and the air handler not turning off.
Feel the air: if the air coming from your vents is cold, your air handler is working but your furnace isn’t running. In this case, check that your thermostat is set to AUTO. Conversely, if the air is hot, your furnace is working but the burners aren’t turning off as designed.
Inspect the furnace: if everything checks out with your thermostat, the problem is likely a pilot light that has gone out or a defect in the fan’s relay switch.
With so many potential issues, it’s best to consult with a professional HVAC company.
5. Clogged Condensate Line
Condensation is associated with more than your air conditioning unit. Most of today’s high efficiency furnaces produce water, which is drained from the system via a tube. [ii] Over time, the tubing has the potential to clog, which can result in your furnace shutting off unexpectedly or not heating your home efficiently. Fortunately, you can fix this issue by clearing the clog or simply replacing the old tubing.
Furnace Troubleshooting Experts
As a resident of Boston, it’s important to have a plan in place for staying warm throughout the winter.
If your furnace gives you trouble, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can visit your home, troubleshoot the issue, and ensure that everything is in good working order before leaving. It’s our goal to keep you warm this winter season!