7 Furnace Problems to Look Out for This Winter
The winter is approaching fast, and that means the temperature in the Spokane, WA area will soon be dropping rapidly. When the cold weather arrives, you’ll undoubtedly be relying on your furnace often to keep your home warm and cozy. However, when you run your heating system more frequently, that extra strain can make it more likely for the appliance to experience problems. Since furnaces are complex systems with many components, there are quite a few different issues that can occur. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common furnace problems you may encounter this winter.
- Cracked Heat Exchanger
One of the more serious things that can go wrong with your furnace is a cracked heat exchanger. The heat exchanger keeps the furnace’s flame separated from the warming air, keeping the system running safely and preventing harmful fumes from leaking into your home. Sometimes, the part can become cracked due to the appliance being overworked or another loose component colliding with it. When the heat exchanger becomes damaged, it will typically prevent the furnace from circulating warm air. It also may result in hazardous fumes being released into your household. If you suspect that your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, you should immediately shut down the appliance and schedule an appointment with local HVAC professionals.
- Discolored Pilot Light
When your home’s furnace is running properly, its pilot light should always be a solid blue flame. That indicates that the burners are receiving the correct amounts of gas and oxygen and igniting without issue. However, you may sometimes notice that the pilot light is flickering or discolored. If you observe that the pilot light is yellow, orange, or not staying lit consistently, it could indicate a problem with the thermocouple, a clogged pilot orifice, or even a malfunctioning safety switch. To keep your home and the appliance safe, you’ll want to turn off the furnace right away and have it professionally inspected before running it again.
- Clogged Air Filter
One of the most common problems that furnaces encounter is clogged air filters. Your furnace’s air filter has the important task of trapping airborne contaminants before they can be cycled into the appliance. However, if you wait too long to replace that filter, it will eventually become clogged with things like dust, pollen, and pet dander. When that happens, it restricts the system’s ability to circulate air. As a result, the furnace loses effectiveness and efficiency and becomes more likely to experience malfunctions. If your furnace is suddenly struggling to do its job, consider switching out the dirty air filter for a new one, and make a point to do so every month or so throughout the winter.
- Malfunctioning Blower Belt
Your furnace’s blower belt is an integral component that’s needed for the appliance’s fan to effectively blow warm air. With heavy usage, though, the blower belt may become frayed or damaged, which can disrupt the system’s operation and will typically result in a high-pitched squealing noise. When you start hearing this sound, it usually means that you need to have HVAC professionals replace your furnace’s blower belt to get the unit back on track.
- Frequent Cycling
When your furnace is running smoothly, it should start a cycle when your home needs heat, then stop blowing air once it reaches your preferred temperature. Sometimes, though, you may notice that it’s immediately starting another cycle as soon as it finishes one. This typically indicates a malfunction with the system, potentially caused by a dirty air filter, thermostat problem, or some other equipment issue. When this is happening, it wastes energy and puts extra strain on the appliance. Since frequent cycling has several potential causes, you’ll want to have the system inspected by professionals who can diagnose the source of the malfunction.
- Loose Components
If you hear an unusual rattling noise when your furnace is running, it most likely means that something has come loose within the appliance. Most commonly, these sounds are caused by loose panels that need to be tightened, but there are several other components that may potentially have come loose as well. This is typically a minor issue, but if you let the system continue to operate, the loose parts could end up damaging other components. Your best bet is to shut off the furnace until you can get it looked at by local HVAC experts.
- Worn Out Ball Bearings
Your furnace’s ball bearings are necessary components for the system’s motor to work properly. Over time, though, the ball bearings can become worn down, in which case they’ll typically need to be replaced. Usually, you can tell that your furnace’s ball bearings are worn out by the appliance making an unpleasant scraping noise during operation. If you hear that sound, schedule an appointment as soon as possible to have the ball bearings replaced. Fortunately, it’s a pretty simple and affordable job.
Spokane’s Heating Professionals
When your furnace is having problems, you can always count on our team at Cougar Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. We’ve been proudly serving residents of the Spokane area for many years, and our technicians are equipped to handle a wide variety of heating issues. When you enlist our services, we’ll promptly inspect your furnace, diagnose the issue, and determine an effective, long-lasting solution. Give us a call today if you’d like to learn more or schedule an appointment!