How to Troubleshoot 6 Common Furnace Emergencies

How to Troubleshoot 6 Common Furnace Emergencies

The cold winter can be brutal to us, our homes, and our usually reliable heating systems. Although the extremely low temperatures are simple a part of our Canadian winters, the fact that it can do so much damage to what we own can be a bit disturbing. It is during the days when the weather is extremely cold that we often stay up wondering if our furnace is going to make it through another night. Although most companies offer a 24/7 service in case of furnace emergency, it is vital that each homeowner is aware of some basic troubleshooting steps to ensure that heat is restored back into your homes. Here are some common furnace emergencies and some steps to resolve them by experts.

Furnace is Not Turning On

A furnace that stops generating heat in the middle of winter can potentially endanger your home and all its occupants if not immediately addressed. It is for this reason that you should call for an emergency furnace repair.

You could also consider the following issues that may be causing the problem of the furnace not turning on.

  • Thermostat – A malfunctioning thermostat could be the reason why the furnace is not turning on. Check that it is turned on and the temperature is set higher than how the room feels. If both are correct but the furnace is still not kicking in, you might have a faulty thermostat.
  • Power – Most houses usually have a separate breaker for their major appliances and so there are instances when the breaker where the furnace is connected to is accidentally flipped or may have tripped. You can check by making sure that the power to the furnace is on, if it is you can check the breaker and make sure that all cords are plugged in. If you notice some burn marks on the control panel, this may be a sign of an internal electrical short.
  • Blower Motor – Furnaces are usually designed with window passage where you can view if the blower motor is flashing a green light which means it is working properly as it should. However, if there is no light at all or the light is flashing red, that means that there is an issue with the motor blower.
  • Pilot Light – A pilot light that constantly goes out could be brought about by dirt buildup or even incorrect positioning. This causes the problems with the furnace not turning on.

As previously mentioned, it is safer to contact furnace experts and have them assess the situation.

Furnace is Not Producing Heat

The lack of heating coming from the furnace is often an indication of a unit problem. There are three main issues tied with this dilemma – faulty thermostat, improperly installed and aligned pilot light, and a filthy filter that is completely blocking air flow. All three can be easily addressed by doing some DIY fixes; however, if you find any of these tasks a little too complicated for you, you can always seek help from the professionals.

Ducts are Emitting Smoke

Another furnace emergencies happen when smoke or black clouds emanate from your ducts and set off your home’s alarm system. This usually happens when the furnace is turned on for the first time after a long summer break and the system is burning up all the dust and sediment that may have built up in the unit. This should only last a few minutes, but if the smoke doesn’t go away or it worsens it may be due to some circuit issues or some switches that are being fried and that usually calls for an emergency furnace repair. It is important to be on the lookout for issues like this as this can cause a huge fire that could have been easily prevented by having a repair person fix the issue.

Frequent Cycling On and Off

A heating system that constantly turns on and off is not only an annoying dilemma but also one that is causing your utility bills to unusually spike up. You can troubleshoot this concern by starting on the filter. Having a clogged filter will prevent proper air flow that the unit needs to properly function. It also triggers the thermostat to keep sending a signal to the furnace to run. If the issue persists even after the filter has been changed, there could be a problem with the thermostat’s electrical connection itself. Both can be replaced by homeowners, but if the issue is due to a corrupted blower motor you are probably going to need the help of a furnace repair professional to get it sorted out.

High Energy Bills

Although unusually high energy bills don’t necessarily fall under the emergency situation, it is one of the major signs that there are possible issues within your heating system that need to be addressed. When your energy bills become unusually high, it may be due to the loss of produced heat through gaps or cracks on the wall, poor insulation, open windows, and others. When the home loses heat because of any of these, the heating system works harder to provide the heat that your home requires and thus drive up energy bills. Additionally, a clogged filter can also cause the heating system to work harder than it should as it attempts to push the produced warm air out of the vents and ductwork.

Homeowners can keep their furnace running smoothly every heating season by simply doing a regular upkeep on the unit. It is a homeowner’s responsibility to regularly change the filters before, after, and even during the cold winter months. A regular maintenance cleanup can also extend the life of your heating system. Always be on the lookout for any of these problems and call for professional help as needed. Although most of the furnace emergencies may be fixed by either a simple DIY troubleshooting step or calling in the experts, there are instances when the furnace simply decides to go kaput and therefore needs to be immediately replaced.