Snow and cold are part of the winter experience in Colorado and Wyoming, despite the potential for year-round sunshine and occasionally even mild winter temperatures. Having a reliable HVAC system for heating your home is necessary for both comfort and safety. Here are six common furnace problems and tips on how to repair or avoid them.
1. Short cycling
Short cycling, when your furnace turns on and off too frequently, can have numerous causes.
The air filter is clogged.
Replace the dirty air filter with a new, clean one. The filter should be replaced every 30-90 days, depending on how quickly it gets dirty.
The thermostat batteries are low.
Replace the old batteries.
The blower isn’t working.
If no heat is coming from the vent when the furnace turns on, it could be a faulty blower motor. Contact your HVAC technician.
The furnace is oversized.
A furnace that is too large for the home will turn off quickly because it doesn’t need as much time to reach the set temperature. However, a furnace that is too large is inefficient and costly to operate. Talk to your HVAC technician about options.
2. Uneven heating
Insufficient insulation and air leaks around doors and windows are the most common culprits for cold spots in a home. However, uneven heating can also result from a furnace that is improperly sized, generally one that is too large. It can also be caused by leaks in the ductwork.
3. High energy costs
If your energy bills have been getting steadily higher, the problem could be an older furnace that is no longer operating efficiently. If the furnace is not that old, the issue could be a clogged air filter, leaky air ducts, blocked vents, poor insulation or leaks around doors and windows.
4. Pilot light goes out
A dirty pilot, flame sensor or burner can cause an outage, short cycling, furnace lockout or delayed ignition of the burners. Wear and tear of the ignition components, such as the hot surface igniter or thermocouple can also cause the pilot light to go out. The problem may also be with the gas supply. Anything interfering with the gas requires a trained HVAC technician to evaluate the situation.
5. Unusual noises
Some noise is part of normal furnace operation, however, unusual noises, such as whining or squealing, can indicate a problem with the motor. The bearings may be failing, and the motor may need to be replaced to prevent the furnace from failing. Other noises may point to a problem with airflow or signal that the burners are dirty. Getting any of these checked out right away may prevent the immediate need for replacement.
6. Water leaks
Air conditioners and high efficiency furnaces produce condensate and have drain pipes for proper water drainage. If these lines are clogged or cracked, leaks occur. Other possible sources of leaks are the collector box, the heat exchanger or the evaporator drain pan. Your HVAC technician can determine the source of the leaks and offer repair options.
To keep your HVAC running smoothly replace the furnace filters regularly and have your system professionally maintained.