Today we are talking about furnaces and what to do when they aren’t working and common questions. As I was doing my research for this blog post, I stumbled across this video clip from Home Alone that pretty much sums up how I used to feel about furnaces.

Now, I know the video shows a radiator and we are talking about furnaces today, but who isn’t a little nervous when facing an unknown machine that’s bigger then we are, produces fire (which our mother told us not to play with since we were little), and makes funny noises? Well, you don’t have to worry about the unknown any more. I’ve researched the top 10 questions about furnaces and asked our technicians for the answers.

1) WHY IS MY FURNACE NOT WORKING?

When your furnace isn’t working it could be several things.  Here are a few things you can check before calling a technician:

At the Thermostat

Electrical-at the Furnace

Electrical-at the Breaker Box

Ignition

2) WHY IS MY FURNACE BLOWING COLD AIR?

3) WHY IS MY FURNACE LEAKING WATER?

When your furnace leaks water it could be several things but it’s usually cause because of a condensation leak.

4) WHY IS MY FURNACE MAKING A HUMMING OR BUZZING SOUND AND NOT BLOWING AIR?

This is probably because your blower or fan is not working.  This can be caused by multiple things.

5) WHY DOES MY FURNACE SMELL?

Generally a strong smell from your furnace is an indication that it needs to be serviced.  Many furnace breakdowns are due to dirt or dust in the system so it’s important to get a tune-up at least once a year.

6) WHY IS MY FURNACE MAKING A LOUD NOISE AND THE GROUND SHAKES WHEN THE AIR CONDITIONER IT TURNED ON?

This is most likely a blower motor issue like a bad bearing, broken scroll, or it could just be very dirty.  Call a service technician as soon as possible as this could become a major issue.

7) WHY IS MY FURNACE BEEPING OR BLINKING LED LIGHTS?

Blinking LED lights or Beeps are an indication of some kind of abnormal operation like a condensate blockage or a pilot light out.  This varies from unit to unit so calling a service technician may be your best option.  If you have your make, model, and serial number, they may be able to tell you over the phone what’s causing it.

8) WHY IS MY FURNACE TRIPPING THE BREAKER?

If your furnace is tripping the breaker, it’s most commonly because the blower is overworking. This can be caused by a dirty air filter blocking airflow, air leaks, and closed or blocked off air registers causing the blower to work harder to push the air through.  This also increases the energy consumption of the blower which will sometimes trip the breaker.  Your furnace may also share a breaker with another appliance which may have malfunctioned and caused it to trip.  If the issue persists after replacing the air filter, contact a service technician.

9)WHY IS MY FURNACE NOT LIGHTING?

Newer gas furnaces come with an igniter that electronically lights the gas to heat your home.  If your furnace have an electronic igniter, you will need to find the reset button and try turning it off and back on again.  If you have fuel, have reset the igniter but it still doesn’t light, immediately turn off the thermostat and call a service technician as it’s an indication that the igniter isn’t functioning properly.

10) I’VE CHECKED EVERYTHING AND IT’S STILL NOT WORKING, WHAT NOW?

If you have tried everything else, check the gas valve, it’s usually located within six feet of the furnace, and make sure that it’s turned to the ON position.  If you have other gas appliances you can also check the gas line to the house to make sure that it’s ON.  If you’ve tried everything and you still aren’t able to determine what the issue is, call a service technician.

Just Remember

Most furnace issues can be avoided by keeping up on preventative maintenance.  If you are ever uncomfortable or unsure about how to safely troubleshoot your system, please don’t hesitate to call a service technician.  Most HVAC companies have an emergency number for after-hours calls. And when you call Resource Services, you’ll speak directly to a knowledgeable technician every time.  I hope this helps you feel a little more confident about finding out what’s wrong with your furnace.