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Top 10 Causes Of Your Furnace Not Working and How to Fix Them

Top 10 Causes Of Your Furnace Not Working and How to Fix Them

The absolute worst time to find out your furnace is on the fritz, is during the coldest months of winter. If your furnace dies when you need it the most, it is not merely an inconvenience but can affect the comfort of everyone in your home. Fortunately, in this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top 10 reasons why your furnace might not be working and provide you with practical solutions to get it up and running smoothly again.

Before jumping into the reasons for your furnace not working, we’ll outline a few steps you can take to determine if your furnace is working or not. Do these 3 things first, before checking the things on the list. 

Listen for Normal Operation Sounds: When your furnace starts up, it should make some typical sounds, such as the blower fan running and a gentle whooshing sound as the burners ignite. If there is no sound at all, then it is not starting.

Check the Thermostat Settings: Ensure your thermostat is set to “heat” mode and at a temperature higher than the current room temperature. You should hear the furnace kick on when raising the temperature setting.

Feel the Airflow: Stand in front of a vent or register, and you should feel warm air blowing out when the furnace is running. If you feel no airflow, then your furnace is not running. 

If you do these 3 things and get no response, then it is safe to say that your furnace is not working and you can move on to the troubleshooting guide below. Make notes for each thing you check, so if you end up needing assistance from a professional HVAC technician, you can tell them what you have done already and the results. This will help them quickly diagnose the problem and speed up the repair time.

10 Common Reasons for Furnace Not Working

1. Thermostat Troubles

One of the most common culprits behind a malfunctioning furnace is a faulty thermostat. If your thermostat isn’t working correctly, it can’t effectively communicate with your furnace to regulate the temperature. 

Check the thermostat’s batteries, and if it’s a programmable thermostat, ensure the settings are correct. If problems persist, consider replacing the thermostat. A good rule of thumb is to always keep spare batteries on hand for your thermostat.

2. Dirty or Clogged Air Filters

Dust and pet hair collected on filters can restrict airflow, making your furnace work harder to maintain the desired temperature. This can lead to overheating and a shutdown. Regularly replace or clean your air filters every 1-3 months to ensure optimal airflow and efficiency.

3. Ignition or Pilot Light Issues

If your furnace uses a pilot light or electronic ignition system, problems in this area can prevent the furnace from igniting. Inspect the pilot light (if applicable) and ensure it’s lit. For electronic ignition systems, check for error codes and consult your furnace’s manual for troubleshooting steps.

4. Lack of Fuel Supply

For gas furnaces, a lack of natural gas supply can lead to ignition failure and heating problems. Check the gas valve to ensure it’s open. If you suspect a gas supply issue, contact a professional immediately.

5. Dirty or Faulty Flame Sensor

A dirty or malfunctioning flame sensor can prevent the furnace from staying lit, causing it to shut down. Carefully clean the flame sensor using a fine abrasive pad or consult a technician for sensor replacement if needed.

6. Blower Motor Problems

A malfunctioning blower motor can result in poor airflow, leading to uneven heating or furnace shutdown. Inspect the blower motor for debris and ensure it’s lubricated. If problems persist, consult a professional for motor repair or replacement.

7. Blocked Vents or Ductwork

Blocked vents or ductwork restrict the airflow, reducing the furnace’s efficiency and effectiveness. Regularly inspect and clean vents and ducts. Ensure they are not obstructed by furniture or other objects.

8. Electrical Issues

Electrical problems, such as a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, can interrupt the furnace’s operation. Check your home’s electrical panel for blown fuses or tripped breakers and replace or reset as needed.

9. Overheating

Overheating can cause your furnace to shut down as a safety measure. Ensure proper airflow by keeping vents and ducts clear. If the problem persists, contact a professional technician to inspect and repair the issue.

10. Age and Wear and Tear

Furnaces have a lifespan, and older units may experience various issues due to wear and tear. Consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient furnace if your current unit is old and unreliable. Newer models are not only more reliable but also more cost-effective in the long run.

A malfunctioning furnace can be a significant inconvenience, but many issues can be resolved with a bit of troubleshooting and maintenance. Regularly servicing your furnace and addressing problems promptly can ensure it keeps your home warm and cozy during the cold months. 

However, if you’re unsure about any furnace-related issues or lack the expertise to fix them, don’t hesitate to call a professional HVAC technician to diagnose and repair the problem. A well-maintained furnace not only provides comfort but also contributes to energy efficiency and lower heating bills, making it a worthwhile investment in your home’s overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I change my furnace’s air filter?

You should change or clean your air filter every 1-3 months, depending on your furnace’s usage and the type of filter.

How do I reset my furnace?

In some cases, resetting your furnace can help restore it to full operation. This can be particularly helpful after a power outage or after resetting the breaker. Follow these steps to reset your furnace:

  1. Switch off the power to your furnace. Wait for 5 minutes.
  2. Locate the reset button on your furnace (refer to the manual)
  3. Press and hold the reset button for 30 seconds.
  4. Switch the furnace power back on.
  5. Wait for the furnace to restart.
  6. Ensure it starts without issues.

It’s important to note that not all furnaces have a reset button, and the location may vary by model. If the reset does not solve the issue, or it starts but shuts off again immediately, there is some issue that is keeping it from starting normally. You should contact a professional HVAC company to troubleshoot the issue right away. 

How can I make my furnace work more efficiently?

To improve efficiency, make sure your home is well-insulated, seal any drafts, and schedule regular maintenance. This will help your furnace run smoothly and save on energy costs.

How long should a furnace last?

Furnaces typically last 15-20 years. However, regular maintenance can extend their lifespan.

Why is my furnace making strange noises?

Your furnace may make strange noises due to various reasons, including dirty air filters causing whistling sounds, loose or worn parts leading to rattling or vibrating noises, or ignition system issues resulting in clicking or sparking sounds. Proper maintenance and timely repairs can often resolve these noise-related concerns and ensure your furnace operates quietly and efficiently. If the noises persist or are particularly concerning, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance from an HVAC technician for a thorough inspection and necessary fixes.

Expert Furnace Repair

Don’t let your Edmonton home feel like an igloo. Keep your family snug and cozy with Always Plumbing & Heating! Our skilled HVAC technicians are on call 24/7, ready to provide expert furnace repair or maintenance service. We work on all makes and models, restoring the warmth to your home swiftly.

Why Choose Always Plumbing & Heating for Your Furnace Repair Needs?

  • Expert Technicians: Our HVAC technicians have extensive experience in repairing all makes and models of furnaces.
  • 24/7 Availability: We understand that furnace issues can arise at the most inconvenient time. That’s why we have professionals on call 24 hours a day to promptly attend to your concerns.
  • Efficient Maintenance: A well-maintained furnace not only ensures your comfort but also prolongs its lifespan. Our furnace tune-ups improve airflow, reduce the need for repairs, and save you money on heating bills.
  • Protect Your Investment with Our Diamond Maintenance Program

Protect Your System from Unwanted Breakdowns

If you see signs that it needs a repair, contact Always Plumbing & Heating at 780-489-8118, or request a quote right away! We’ll be right over to fix the problem so your home stays warm and comforting all winter.

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