Warmer weather may be just around the corner, but there is still enough winter around to cause furnace related problems in your home. At this time, many homeowners have become aware of furnace problems that may have plagued them over the winter months. Let’s face it; most people don’t want to deal with the hassle of a furnace repair when it’s cold outside. The prospect of furnace downtime when you need home heating is not appealing for most of us. But, delaying an essential repair for too long or ignoring essential maintenance is a bad idea. In fact, this can lead to more extensive repairs later down the line that will be far more expensive in the medium to long term. In this article, we will look at some typical late season furnace repair issues that you need to get fixed.
Sadly, many homeowners avoid preventative maintenance in an effort to save money. This is a mistake, and it can even lead to an emergency repair when the weather is colder. Even if your furnace seems to be running well, it’s worth getting it checked out before the next heating season. As your furnace ages, it will lose efficiency, and this can be offset to a certain extent with regular maintenance.
3 Heating Season Repair Issues
Let’s take a closer look at three common heating season furnace repair issues:
- Electronic Igniter Errors
An older or traditional gas furnace was equipped with a standing pilot light that would be used to ignite the burners when heat was required. This system worked pretty well, but it was an inefficient use of gas, and it wasn’t a safe option. As the technology improved, manufacturers started to install electronic ignition systems instead. These are safer and more reliable than the older units, but they do tend to wear out at a faster rate than the furnace. So, if you have a modern gas furnace, it’s likely that you will need to replace the electronic ignition system at some point during your ownership. If you turn on your gas furnace and it fails to ignite, the most likely cause is an electronic igniter malfunction.
- Dirty Gas Burners
A gas furnace has burners that generate the heat for your home. This is where the jets of gas are ignited to create the hotter gas that you need for combustion. During a typical winter, the burners will work hard, and over time, a layer of dirt, soot, and grime will accumulate. When the gas burners are coated with this material, they become less efficient and may stop working. The gas jets need to draw oxygen in order to ignite, which is hard when the burners are dirty. If you’ve ever heard a “boom” noise when you turned your gas furnace on, it’s probably a sign that your burners are dirty and they need cleaning.
- Furnace Motor Issues
A gas furnace has a number of motors located in the furnace, and each one is a vital component that’s essential for efficient operation. Any motor can wear down over time, and the units located in your furnace are no exception. During a typical winter, the motors will be operating almost constantly, and they handle a lot of work. If you can hear a “screech” noise emanating from inside your gas furnace, the probable cause is a worn motor unit. Fixing a furnace motor should be a priority because the efficiency of your heating system will be impaired.
Identifying Furnace Problems
When a gas furnace is in use, it’s natural to notice some operating noise in the background. But, as you become used to your furnace over the years, you may notice changes in the type of sounds that it makes. Because our furnaces are located in out of the way locations, we don’t tend to notice visual clues. But, this is fine; as you may have noticed in the furnace issues discussed above, the sounds a furnace makes can be useful. Although this isn’t the most accurate way to diagnose a problem, it can be helpful when you’re describing the issue to a heating technician. Let’s take a closer look at three gas furnace noises that may indicate that something is wrong.
Many people have a heating system that rattles a little when they turn on the heat. This could be caused by some loose fixings on the ductwork or furnace. But, if the rattling sound is pronounced or it continues for a long time when the furnace is operating, it could be a more serious problem. There may be broken or worn components located in the gas furnace motors or the fan unit that are moving around. These moving pieces can cause damage to other components leading to an expensive repair bill. If you hear loud rattling noises contact your local licensed HVAC specialist to inspect your system.
If you can hear a loud clicking noise when you turn on the heat, it’s a cause for concern. The likely cause is a faulty flame sensor or some kind of issue related to the gas supply and the electronic ignition system. This is a serious situation, it can be dangerous, and it’s important to contact your local heating specialist quickly.
This is a strange noise to hear from your gas furnace, but it’s more common than you may imagine. A chirping noise is typically heard when you have not used your furnace in quite a while. At the beginning of the heating season, many people are turning on their furnaces for the first time in almost a year. The cause of this noise is usually a warning that some kind of minor adjustment is needed. Another possible cause is a fan belt that needs adjusting, or it has become worn, and a replacement is required. These are minor issues that are not dangerous, but the sound is annoying, and they can affect the performance of your gas furnace.
If you need some essential maintenance for your gas furnace or you’ve noticed an odd noise, contact your local licensed HVAC specialist today.