Your furnace is a necessity to ensure that your home stays warm during those colder days. However, just like any mechanical system, it will malfunction from time to time. It’s crucial to understand what the following issues are and how you should go about fixing them. That way, you can get your heater back up and running quickly.
Dirty Air Filter
The air filter in your heating system should be replaced at least once every three months. However, it’s a good idea to check the filter once a month to see if it’s full. If you hold the filter up to a light and can’t see through it, it’s time to replace it.
Whenever your heating system is operating with a dirty filter, it has to use more energy. The clogged filter creates a barrier of debris, forcing your unit to work overtime to force air through.
Flickering Pilot Light
If your furnace has a pilot light, it should be glowing a solid blue color. If you notice the flame has gone from solid to flickering, it’s an indication that your pilot light isn’t receiving a steady flow of fuel. Check your fuel tank to ensure that it still has fuel in it. If there’s enough fuel, you’ll need to turn off the system and clean the tube that delivers fuel to your pilot light.
Frayed Fan Belt
The fan inside of your heating system runs via a motor, pulley, and belt. Over time, your belt will naturally start to wear out. When this happens, it will begin fraying the edges of the belt. You’ll hear a distinctive squealing noise coming from your heating system. It’s best to shut down your system completely and replace the frayed belt.
Faulty Limit Switch
Your heating system is comprised of a limit switch whose job it is to tell your thermostat when your indoor air has reached the desired temperature. When the limit switch is faulty, your thermostat doesn’t receive the notice to turn off your heating system. Rather, it will continue to run until you manually shut it off. When it comes to replacing a limit switch, it’s best left up to the professionals.
Furnace Access Safety Switch
There’s a safety switch on the access door of your furnace. Whenever you open the furnace access panel, it will automatically stop your furnace’s components from running until the door is closed. This safety feature helps to ensure that your system doesn’t accidentally kick on when you’re working on it or having a professional work on it.
If your heating system isn’t starting up and everything else seems to be in order, it’s a good idea to check the access panel of your furnace. It’s easy to accidentally leave it ajar. If the door is shut tightly, it could be a faulty safety switch. This problem is best handled by a professional.
Bad Ball Bearings
The motor that runs your heating system’s fan has ball bearings inside of it. Over time, these ball bearings will go bad and cause your furnace to make a scraping noise. Whenever you hear this particular noise, it’s vital that you shut off your furnace right away. The motor will need to be replaced before turning it back on. Avoid running your heating system when it’s producing a scraping noise, as it could cause further damage to other components.
Your thermostat is the key to running your entire heating system. If you notice that the screen of your thermostat has gone blank and won’t turn on, it could need new batteries. If you’ve replaced the batteries and there’s still no display, head to your electrical panel to see if the circuit breaker has been tripped. If not, it’s likely an indication that your thermostat needs to be replaced.
Cracked Heat Exchanger
There’s a heat exchanger inside of your furnace that’s responsible for separating the burning fuel and your indoor air. Whenever your heating system is overworked, the excess heat can cause the heat exchanger to crack. Depending on the size of the crack, this problem can have many different warning signs.
You may notice physical damage to the heat exchanger when performing maintenance on your system. Or, you may discover soot on the internal components of your furnace. Either way, it’s necessary to have the heat exchanger replaced as soon as possible since running it with a crack can allow harmful gases, like carbon monoxide, to leak into your home’s air.
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