As the weather cools and winter comes in full force in Longmont and throughout Northern Colorado, the furnace becomes one of the most important and frequently used parts of the home. Having a reliable furnace makes all the difference in knowing you’ll be warm and comfortable throughout the day and night. However, on occasion, a furnace can stop working properly, causing the homeowner to look for furnace repair. By troubleshooting your furnace problems yourself, you may be able to get your heat back on very quickly. If you’re in the process of troubleshooting your furnace, here are some easy-to-fix reasons why a furnace isn’t working or heating the entire home.
Why Is My Furnace Not Turning On?
The Thermostat Isn’t Set Properly
If your furnace is not working, the first thing to do is check the thermostat. The furnace won’t turn on if the thermostat doesn’t tell it to. Check that the thermostat is turned on and set to the heat setting. Set your desired temperature for the house, which should trigger the furnace to turn on if the house is colder than the set temperature. In many cases, a furnace that appears not to work is simply the result of a thermostat on the wrong settings.
The Furnace Is Dirty
A furnace is a delicate machine, and extra dust and debris can cause it to shut down. If the thermostat is turned on but the furnace still doesn’t work, the first thing to check is the furnace air filter. A dirty air filter makes it difficult for the furnace to push air through the house, which can make it work harder and cause it to shut down. With a clean air filter, the furnace should be able to work much more smoothly. Change your air filter every three to six months, and more often during high-use seasons like summer and winter. If you have people in the house with allergies or sensitivities, you should change your air filter more often to keep the air clean and the furnace in good working condition.
The Power Supply Is Out
The furnace won’t turn on if it doesn’t have any power. Start by making sure the furnace’s power switch is in the on position. Check to make sure the furnace’s circuit breaker is turned on and that a fuse hasn’t been blown. If it has blown, try resetting the circuit breaker. Older furnaces often have a pilot light that provides heat. If that light has blown out, the furnace won’t turn on. Most pilot lights can be re-lit with a match or lighter. Gas furnaces are powered by natural gas, so check to make sure the gas valve is connected properly and turned on.
The Blower Motor Is Faulty
One of the most important parts of a furnace is the blower motor, which pushes the warm air through the house. This piece is also delicate and can become damaged by debris or get overworked by a dirty or old system. Most furnaces have an indicator light on their blower motor. If the light is red or not blinking, it likely means there is an issue that needs professional attention.
The Furnace Is Broken and Needs to Be Repaired
A furnace has lots of detailed pieces, and one of them breaking or coming loose can cause the entire system to break. If you’ve tried all of the checks and repairs you can do on your own, it’s time to call an HVAC professional to look at the system. With their advanced tools and expertise, they will likely be able to pinpoint the cause of the problem and repair or replace whatever parts of the system are broken.
Why Is My Furnace Not Heating My Whole House?
If, on the other hand, your furnace is coming on but isn’t putting out enough heat to heat your entire house, it could be due to a few other issues.
Dirty Air Ducts
As mentioned above, dirt and debris can make your furnace function much less effectively. If part of the furnace or the ductwork throughout the house is blocked with dust, the hot air likely won’t reach that room. In addition to regularly changing your filter, you should also have your ducts cleaned every two to three years to remove the dust and debris that builds up over time. Staying on top of furnace cleaning and maintenance can prevent many major issues.
The thermostat sets the temperature for the furnace. If it isn’t working, it’s more difficult for the furnace to work properly. Start by checking that the thermostat is turned on to the heat setting and to the preferred temperature. If you think the thermostat isn’t working or communicating with the furnace, turn the heat setting up five degrees to see if the furnace kicks on. You can also try removing the cover to replace the batteries and clean out any dust or debris. If simple DIY solutions don’t work, the thermostat likely needs to be replaced so it can operate the furnace properly.
If the furnace isn’t heating the entire house, check that the vents in each room are open and clear. A furnace can be working properly and blowing warm air, but if the vents are blocked by furniture or other heavy items, the room won’t get much warmer. Vents should have a clear airflow so that the warm air can move throughout the room.
Damaged Ductwork or Insulation
If the furnace is working but the house isn’t getting any warmer, it could be because the warm air is escaping. Warm air travels through a maze of ductwork throughout the house. If there is a leak in the ductwork, the air could escape before it reaches the room. The same is true with insulation. If the home’s insulation is old or damaged, especially in the attic area and upper levels, the warm air could be escaping through the ceiling and roof instead of reaching its intended location. Have your ductwork checked for leaks and update insulation with a more efficient version.
One of the most important parts of the furnace is the blower capacitor, which starts the furnace on the signal from the thermostat. A broken or damaged blower might not have the power to push warm air throughout the entire house, or it could simply not have enough power to start the furnace or keep it running. Blower capacitors often don’t have as long of life spans as the rest of the furnace and may need to be replaced.
Do I Need a New Furnace?
If you are experiencing issues with your furnace, you may be wondering if you need repairs or an entirely new unit. It’s a common question homeowners’ ask when their furnace is not working. Repairs tend to be less expensive, but at a certain point it is a better decision to just replace your furnace. Paying attention to how your furnace operates can help you know if you should repair or replace the furnace. Here are five warning signs it’s time to replace your furnace rather than have it repaired:
The Furnace Is More Than 15 Years Old
One of the biggest signs that it’s time for a new furnace is simply its age. Most furnaces last between 15-20 years before they need to be replaced. Over time, the furnace can start to break down and lose efficiency. Even the best furnaces eventually break down due to old age, no matter how well they are maintained. If your furnace is younger than 15 years old and starts to have issues, it is often a better choice to simply make the repair. However, if your furnace is older than 15 years old, it might make more financial sense to replace the unit instead of repairing it. Older furnaces also typically require more maintenance. If you noticed your furnace repair costs starting to add up, it could likely be time to simply invest in a new furnace.
Your Energy Costs are Increasing
Increasing energy costs could be a sign that your furnace is losing efficiency and wearing out. Older furnaces have to work harder to produce heat, which takes more energy. Less efficient furnaces waste more energy, which means you’re likely paying more money to keep your house at the same temperature because more of the energy you’re buying is escaping. Increased energy costs could also signal other needed repairs, but if nothing appears to be broken, it is likely your furnace just working harder.
The Furnace Makes Strange Noises When It Runs
Pay attention to the sounds of your furnace when you turn it on. If you hear a strange buzzing, humming, or rattling sound, it could mean that the furnace needs to be replaced. Strange noises tend to not go away over time and will likely get worse. A strange noise can come from a number of causes, some more major than others. Ratting could signal loose ductwork that can be repaired, but it could also mean the motor is out of balance or on its last legs and needs to be replaced. If you aren’t sure about a sound your furnace is making, an HVAC technician can investigate the problem and recommend if the furnace needs to be replaced or if it can be repaired.
The Home is Heated Unevenly
A furnace that is on its last legs will likely have a difficult time heating the entire house to the same temperature. If you notice that some rooms of the house are warmer than others, it could be a sign of uneven heating. Make sure that the vents are open and clear in all the rooms before jumping to conclusions.
There Is Dust or Debris Around the Vents
If you notice more dust than normal around the vents, it could signal that the furnace is losing its ability to clean and filter the air. Soot around the furnace registers could also signal that the dampers are losing their ability to control airflow within the ductwork. Start by changing the air filter to see if it makes a difference in the amount of dust. If a clean filter doesn’t solve the problem, your furnace is likely losing power and is no longer strong enough to filter and heat the air.
Paying attention to these five signs that it’s time for a new furnace will help you know when your furnace is likely to break down. Also giving attention to changes in how the furnace operates can help you know when it’s time to use furnace replacement services.
Need a Professional? Call Stone Heating & Air Today.
If your furnace isn’t turning on, it could be due to a number of reasons. If you’ve attempted troubleshooting your furnace issues and still don’t have heat, it’s time to get professional help from Longmont furnace repair technicians. Without a working furnace, the winter can seem even colder and longer, so take time to invest in your furnace and take care of it all year round. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.