Like many pieces of equipment, a furnace can under perform and even fail when you need it most. We rely on our furnace to keep our homes comfortable when it turns cold outside, and if you have any issues, it’s important to find them and get them fixed quickly. In this article, we will take a closer look at five reasons why your furnace may be underperforming and how that will impact your home.
- A Clogged or Dirty Furnace Filter
Every furnace is equipped with an air filter; this prevents airborne particulates, such as dirt, dust, pollen, and other contaminants from circulating throughout your home and through the furnace. Airborne particulates can affect the indoor air quality (IAQ), but it’s the damage that can be done to the furnace that’s a primary concern.
As the furnace is used, any particulates circulating in the air will clog up the furnace filter. Gradually this accumulated material will clog up the surface of the filter, and the airflow will be compromised. We need a good level of airflow to keep our furnaces working effectively and efficiently. A poor level of airflow will cause your furnace to become overworked, leading to equipment failures and even a premature replacement.
This is a very simple problem to fix, the full details to clean or replace the furnace filter are in the owner’s manual for your system. If the manual has been misplaced, you can usually find a pdf version on the manufacturer’s website. The furnace filter should be cleaned or replaced each month to keep the furnace working well.
- The Pilot Light has Failed
Many furnaces have an electrical ignition or a pilot system to light the fuel for heating purposes. If these systems fail, the furnace cannot function, the burners will not light, and the heating system cannot produce the heat. The best way to handle these problems is to prevent them from happening in the first place. A local HVAC technician can inspect and maintain an electrical ignition or pilot light system as part of an annual service. This will ensure that these systems are working as intended, and they will be less likely to fail when you need home heating most.
- A Faulty Thermostat
The thermostat is the central “brain” of your entire heating and cooling system. So, if the thermostat is incompatible or it’s faulty, it will have a direct effect on the performance and efficiency. Even the position of the thermostat is important; there are sensors inside the unit that monitor the ambient temperature in your home. If the thermostat is positioned in direct sunlight, it will confuse the sensor leading to incorrect indoor temperatures.
Regularly checking the thermostat is the best way to ensure that it’s working correctly. This is carried out as part of a regularly scheduled service by a professional HVAC technician. They can check the sensor, clean out the unit, and calibrate for the best performance and energy efficiency.
- A Failed Blower Motor
The blower motor is a mechanical component that has moving parts, bearings, and belts. Its purpose is to force the treated air into the ductwork system to distribute it throughout the home. If the blower motor performance is compromised or it fails entirely, the treated air will not be circulated. The furnace is still working correctly, the fuel is being ignited, but you will not notice because that heat will not be pushed into your home.
Working on HVAC equipment is a specialized field, and a DIY repair is not recommended. An amateur tackling a failed blower motor can easily cause more damage to other sensitive components. Scheduling annual maintenance helps to detect smaller issues before they can develop into larger problems. The technician will check the blower motor for any signs of wear and damage. They can then advise you on your options, a repair may be possible, or it’s often more cost effective to install a new blower unit.
- Fuel Supply Issues
If you have a furnace that is supplied with natural gas, it can be affected by a number of issues. A compromised gas supply line or a lack of available fuel can affect the performance of your furnace. This can lead to intermittent heating problems, and this needs to be fixed quickly. Dealing with fuel supply issues can be dangerous, gas is both toxic and volatile, and these problems should be fixed by a professional HVAC technician.
The Importance of Regular Furnace Maintenance
Sharp eyed readers may have noticed a fairly noticeable connection between many of these furnace performance issues. All of them can be detected earlier with regular HVAC maintenance. A professional technician has the formal training, experience, and specialized tools to inspect your HVAC system for you. If they find any smaller issues that need to be fixed, they can let you know before they carry out any more work. This is key; identifying a potential problem earlier will often make that problem easier and cheaper to fix. Well maintained equipment will usually have a longer useful lifespan, and this can save you a lot of money in the long term.
When an HVAC system is well maintained, it’s less likely to fail when you need it most. The last thing any family needs is a furnace that isn’t working correctly when the weather turns colder outside. A repair will require some downtime and this will make the home far less comfortable until the repair is completed. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get your heating system checked out early in the fall, so it’s ready for winter heating.
It’s also worth mentioning the loss in energy efficiency caused by failing heating and cooling equipment. When your HVAC system is running efficiently it uses less energy, and it’s easier to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. A poorly maintained heating and cooling system can waste a lot of energy and this translates into higher energy bills. If you’re interested in having a more reliable and energy efficient furnace contact your local HVAC company and schedule a service visit today.