As the frigid wintertime weather makes its way back into our lives, many of us rely on our home furnaces to keep us nice and warm. While you likely don’t give it much thought, there are numerous components inside of your furnace that all work in unison to provide heat for your home. Unfortunately, sometimes those parts malfunction and can bring chaos into our lives.
Cracked Heat Exchanger
Your furnace has a component called a heat exchanger that is responsible for separating the actual burning of the fuel and the air inside of your home. Whenever there is a crack inside of the heat exchanger, soot and gases like carbon monoxide can enter your home. The first indication that you’re going to likely have a cracked heat exchanger is the inside components of your furnace are going to be covered in black soot and you may notice an odd odor in the air. It’s important that you get your heat exchanger repaired or replaced before allowing your furnace to run, as harmful gases like carbon monoxide can be dangerous to your health.
While thermostats do last anywhere between 7 and 10 years, they do go bad at some point. If you noticed that your thermostat screen isn’t turning on at all or your furnace isn’t kicking on when your home is cold, it could be an indication that you need a new thermostat. Before replacing the thermostat, you want to put in a fresh pair of batteries to see if that solves the problem. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that the circuit breaker for your heating system hasn’t been tripped.
Damaged Fan Belt
If you notice a loud squealing noise whenever your heating system turns on, it’s likely that there’s a damaged fan belt. Once you turn your system off, you’ll want to check the fan belt to see if it is frayed or has slipped off of the pulley system. If the belt simply slipped off but doesn’t look damaged in any other way, go ahead and put it back on the pulley. Otherwise, if you noticed that the belt is frayed in certain areas, it’s best to replace it with a belt of a similar model.
If you’ve noticed that your heating system doesn’t seem to be providing the same amount of heat that you’re used to, it could be due to a clogged filter. When your air filter reaches the end of its lifespan, it’s clogged up with a lot of debris. This creates a makeshift wall inside of your ventilation system that makes it much harder for air to be forced through your furnace. This makes your air handler have to work much harder to try and circulate air throughout your home.
It’s best to pull your air filter out and hold it up to a light source. If you can’t see through the filter anymore, it’s time to replace it with a new one. You should be checking your air filter once a month just to see if it needs to be replaced. Make sure that you replace it with a filter of the same model number as each heating system has a specific sized filter that fits within the filter housing.
Each room throughout your home has vents that help to circulate the air throughout the room. It’s not uncommon to accidentally position objects in front of the vents and obstruct the flow of air through them. The most common culprits are plants, furniture, and stands. If you notice that one room in your home doesn’t seem to be as warm as the others, it’s best to check all the vents in the room to make sure that they’re unobstructed. In most cases, simply moving a piece of furniture out of the way can allow more heat to flow into that room.
Worn-Out Ball Bearings
Inside of the blower motor in your furnace, there are small ball bearings. Whenever these ball bearings get worn out, they’ll start to create a scraping noise. You’ll hear this noise when your system is running. It’s best to turn your furnace completely off to prevent further damage from any of the other components of your system. You need to replace the blower motor in order to fix this issue.
Flickering or Yellow Pilot Light
Your furnace has a pilot light that is responsible for burning the fuel in order to heat your home. This light should be blue and lit at all times. If you notice that your pilot light has taken on a yellow tint or is constantly flickering in and out, it’s an indication there’s something wrong with your system. In most cases, the orifice that supplies the gas or propane is extremely dirty. This soot prevents a lot of the fuel from reaching the pilot light and can allow for unhealthy gas outputs like carbon monoxide.
It’s best to start to remedy this issue by cleaning the orifice. In most cases, this should solve the issue. If it doesn’t, it’s best to call in a furnace repair specialist to further assess the problem. You should never let your pilot light run when it’s yellow as it can let off gases that can be harmful to your family’s health.
Tripped Furnace Safety Switch
If you try to turn on your furnace for the first time of the year and it doesn’t kick on, it’s likely a problem with the safety switch on the furnace door. It’s not uncommon to perform maintenance on your furnace and then not completely shut the door when you’re done. The safety switch on the furnace door prevents the furnace from turning on until the door is completely latched. This is to protect the safety of anyone working on the furnace.
In most cases, you should just be able to reset the furnace door, and the safety switch will turn off. If it doesn’t, you may have a faulty safety switch or there may be another problem with your system. It’s best to consult a furnace professional to further assess the situation before replacing any components.
Bad Limit Switch
An essential component of your heating system is the limit switch. When you set a certain temperature on your thermostat, the thermostat will turn on your furnace. Your thermostat then relies on the limit switch to let it know when the temperature inside of your home reaches your desired setting. When this limit switch malfunctions, your furnace will continue to run even if it’s reached your set temperature.
If you notice that your furnace continues to run even though it’s reading a higher temperature than what you have set on your thermostat, you may need to replace the limit switch. However, first, you should check your thermostat settings to ensure that it’s set to the auto function and not to the on function. If your system is set to the on function, it will continue to run until you manually go to your thermostat and shut it off.
Knowledgeable Heating Service Professional
Liberty Comfort Systems is your knowledgeable heating service professional for the Anoka region. We also offer cooling, indoor air quality, duct cleaning, electrical, and basement finishing services. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!