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5 common furnace issues

A furnace is a stalwart appliance within your home, standing strong without needing constant attention. Because of this, the furnace can also receive less attention than the other systems and appliances around the house, but it is not impervious or without fail. If you’ve been letting your furnace chug along without a second thought, it might be a good time to check on it, and make sure that everything is still performing as it should be. While looking over the furnace, keep in mind these 5 common furnace issues, and the best way to fix them, so that your furnace can keep performing at its best without constant supervision.

1. Dirty Air Filters

One of the easiest pieces to address on a furnace, and one of the most often overlooked, is the furnace filter. Though it needs to be regularly changed — every 1-3 months, depending on the type of unit — it is easy to let this chore drop by the wayside until your furnace’s performance begins to suffer. Letting the furnace continually run with a dirty filter will cause the system to run harder than it needs to, and can lead to overheating. The solution to this problem is simple — replace or clean the air filter, depending on whether or not the air filter is disposable. A disposable air filter can simply be slid out and replaced with a new filter. A non-disposable filter can be removed, cleaned with soap and water, left to dry completely (lest moisture is left to blow through your furnace), and re-inserted.

2. Incorrect Thermostat Settings or A Malfunctioning Thermostat

Since the thermostat directly controls the function of the furnace, it’s important to remember to keep the thermostat set to the appropriate settings dependent on the weather and season. This is another easy item to forget, especially with programmable thermostats, as often, you will program the thermostat for the season, then forget about it. Alternatively, the thermostat may be malfunctioning — whether the wires have worn down, or it has a bad connection — causing the furnace to run incorrectly. Re-setting a programmable thermostat is as simple as changing the settings, but outright repairing a thermostat will generally require help from a professional.

3. Failure to Ignite

Whether gas or electric, the ignition on a furnace needs to be properly “on” to produce heat. For a gas furnace, the pilot light can be blown out. Without the flame, the burners will not properly light, and the furnace will not be able to provide heat. Simply turn off the furnace and re-light the pilot light to re-ignite the burners.

For electric furnaces, the ignition switch may be malfunctioning. Much like a computer, first, try turning the system off and back on to see if this resets the ignition. If the furnace continues to blow cold air, contact a service professional to inspect the switch and the wiring to ensure the switch is not faulty.

4. A Blower That Doesn’t Blow

The furnace may be running, but if it’s noticeable that no air is reaching the vents, then the likely culprit is the blower fan. One way to help pinpoint the blower fan as the source of the issue is, in addition to no or low airflow through the vents, if the furnace is making a high-pitched whirring noise. While this will usually require a technician’s diagnosis, the solution can be as simple as making sure the blower belt is well oiled. Then again, the issue could be with the blower motor and require internal repairs that are more complex.

5. General Wear and Tear

All regularly used appliances will eventually succumb to the issues of being simply being used. Parts are only guaranteed to be in working order for so many cycles, and that cycle limit will eventually be hit for each part. The best way to stay on top of the issues of regular wear and tear is by scheduling an annual maintenance check for your furnace. Allowing an expert technician to open up and assess each part of your furnace will not only catch the issues caused by regular usage but also alert you to any of the previous issues early on before they become something that needs to be fixed in an emergency repair.

Nothing lasts forever, and nothing is perfect, and while it is possible to tackle many of the common issues that arise in a furnace on your own, it’s generally better to allow a trained and licensed professional to at least diagnose the exact issue before trying to tackle repairs. If you suspect there is an issue with your furnace, or if you’d like to schedule an annual maintenance check before a problem arises, reach out to the experts at Duane Blanton. Ready to handle any and all furnace issues, the professionals at Duane Blanton can provide answers and assistance for all of your furnace or plumbing needs. Call them today at (815) 781-2567, or reach out through their online scheduling portal from the convenience of your home computer!

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