When a cold winter day hits and your furnace goes from working fine to not running, things can get uncomfortable inside your home fast. Your furnace runs and runs but can’t match the thermostat’s setting.
You can call an HVAC service technician, but often you have to wait a few days or more during the busy season. Meanwhile, you can pull out the wool blankets, dress in layers, and try to seal up any spots of leaking air, but your house is cold and miserable.
At Fire & Ice, we get hundreds of service calls from Worthington, Ohio, for furnaces during the winter months. To help you be more prepared for potential problems in the future, let’s go over some common issues that can impact your furnace’s ability to heat your home.
Signs Your Furnace Needs to Be Repaired
Your furnace might need to be repaired if the following occurs:
- Changes in airflow
- Short cycling
- Abnormal long runtime
- Abnormal sounds and smells
Airflow changes mean that sometimes a vent can become partially or entirely blocked. This may have to do with a reduction in force from the furnace or a blocked section of ductwork. Ductwork can be cleaned (it’s best to let a professional do this), and the furnace can be cleaned as well. The problem might lie with an excess amount of debris inside the furnace. A thorough inspection can find the root cause.
One solution that you can do yourself: Check your filter. If it’s clogged, it’s robbing your furnace of airflow, which can cause a variety of health and system problems. Most filters can be changed by the homeowner.
Short-cycling means your HVAC is turning on and off more than it should. When this happens, it doesn’t allow the hot and cold air in the house to mix and leaves stubborn hot and cold spots. This is also hard on your furnace. The more times it has to start, the quicker it will wear out.
If it’s continuing to run without shutting off, even though it’s not sub-zero outside, it might be a sign of trouble. You might need to keep a sharp eye on your utility bill; if it spikes and you can’t attribute it to the weather or some other factor, it may be that the furnace is underperforming.
Abnormal Running Time
If you hear your HVAC system kick on to cool your home down and it feels like it is running for too long, this could also be a sign of an issue. In addition to short cycling, as mentioned above,
If you’re hearing loud sounds and smelling something off, it might be a motor burning out or a buildup of mold inside the unit.
Leaks can indicate a few issues, including a damaged heat exchanger and a faulty seal on your evaporator coil.
If you think your system might need to be replaced, we recommend you check out our furnace replacement cost article here.
Practices to Prevent Furnace Repairs
You can never totally avoid furnace repairs. But you can prevent them by taking particular steps.
- Change your HVAC system’s filter. How often you need to change your filter depends on the type of filter you have.
- Schedule regular maintenance. A tune-up, we recommend one every year, can ensure that your furnace is prepared to heat your home. And during an annual tune-up, your HVAC service technician can catch issues before leaving you without heat on the coldest day of the year. In addition, a good contractor will inspect the furnace inside and out.
- Have your HVAC contractor ensure your static pressure isn’t too high or low. An imbalance of static pressure can cause your system to work too hard to pull air through and cause parts to wear out faster than expected.
What Does a Furnace Inspection Include?
To make sure that your furnace is operating as it should, your HVAC technician must inspect for specific safety and performance benchmarks during your annual furnace tune-up.
At a minimum, furnace safety and performance benchmarks include:
- Carbon monoxide levels
- Satisfactory flue venting
- The condition of gas line components
- Safety shut-off equipment
- The state of your furnace’s heat exchanger(s)
- The state of your system’s filter
- The condition of your furnace’s flame sensor
- Your furnace’s temperature rise
- The condition of your system’s blower motor
In addition to this, your furnace may also need to be cleaned.
What Does a Furnace Cleaning Include?
Once your technician confirms that your furnace is operating safely, they should also clean your furnace. This helps maintain your system’s performance and keeps the air in your home cleaner. Some HVAC companies offer maintenance packages with different levels of cleaning during your furnace tune-up. During a furnace tune-up, the components that your HVAC technician should clean include:
The flame sensor
A flame sensor monitors whether a flame is burning inside the unit. With a gas furnace, when the flame sensor collects too much soot, it can prevent it from turning on and will need to be cleaned by your technician.
The plenum on your HVAC system is simply a box where your air ducts and the supply come together. You should have two plenums that connect directly to your furnace. They help move the air into your living spaces. Your HVAC technician should inspect these for mold, dust, insulation, and other debris.
The Furnace Cabinet
Your furnace cabinet accumulates dust and other debris, affecting your system’s performance.
Deep cleaning for your HVAC system. In some cases, your furnace may need a deeper level of cleaning than a standard tune-up offers. Regular deep cleaning can also benefit homeowners with an older, dusty house, pets, or ducts caked with debris.
Furnace Repair and Replacement in Worthington, Ohio
While items such as regularly changing your filter and scheduling routine maintenance are good practices for any system, if you’re dealing with a system that’s not producing enough heat or not turning on, it’s time to schedule a visit from a technician.
If you have an installation from us, we make sure all of the products we place into your home are functioning correctly and work well for you and your needs. A week or two after installation, a Fire & Ice representative will return to your home to ensure everything is functioning correctly, make sure you understand your thermostat and comfort options, and inspect the installation's quality.
If anything is amiss, it is reported to our training and management staff and is used to inform changes to our installation practices and training. We’re proud to be the only contractor in the area who will return for this visit to look you in the eye to make sure you’re satisfied with the job.
For all of the products we install, we use Nexia Diagnostics, which allows us to monitor your home’s HVAC system remotely. Using this data, we can provide proactive service to prevent some long-term performance issues and keep your system running better for longer.
Support for the Long Haul
We schedule follow-up communications two weeks, 90 days, six months, and one year after installation to ensure you’re satisfied with your system. Additionally, with affordable, proactive maintenance plans, our company is designed to support your HVAC investment for years to come.
If you’re in Worthington, OH, or the surrounding area, reach out to us today.
At Fire & Ice, we take pride in doing the work correctly the first time, every time. Whether it’s a repair, a replacement, a new installation, or a cleaning, we have the expertise and knowledge to get your system working to provide maximum comfort to your home.
Explore our learning center. It's a comprehensive section focused on answering your questions, providing detailed information, and tips that will improve buyer education when it comes to your home's HVAC system.
Cost of an Air Conditioner Replacement in 2022, a Complete Breakdown
What Is the Cooling Limit of My Air Conditioner?
How Much Does a Heat Pump Cost to Replace in 2022?
Ductless Mini-Splits: A Comprehensive Cost Breakdown