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Furnace not working? Here are 4 common issues and how to fix them yourself

Furnace not working? Here are 4 common issues and how to fix them yourself

As a homeowner, it is imperative to understand the need for maintenance. Appliances undergo wear and tear over time and hence are prone to occasional breakdowns. Therefore, timely repairs are essential to ensure proper functioning.

Heating is a necessity. Nobody likes being cold. The best appliance for the job is a furnace because it is economical, reliable, and easy to operate.

Much like other appliances, furnaces are also prone to damage and require regular inspections to ensure optimum function.

The life span of a furnace is directly related to how well it is maintained. Normally a properly installed and well-maintained furnace lasts around 15 to 20 years. However, if it is not appropriately maintained, its life expectancy can reduce by several years.

So, what do you do if your furnace stops working?

The easy way out would be to call a professional. While professional help is great, it does not come cheap, especially if you are calling for help outside regular business hours.

The alternate solution is to take the matter in your own hands and DIY. While it might sound intimidating, doing the task yourself saves you a lot of money and is an excellent learning experience.

Following is a guide on the four most commonly reported furnace problems and how you can fix them yourself.

  • Nonfunctioning Thermostat

Your furnace’s thermostat is your heating system’s brain. It is the main control center that regulates the amount of heat to be distributed as well as the time duration for its delivery. If your thermostat is not working, your furnace will not work either.

If your thermostat has batteries, the first thing you should do is check the batteries because there is always a good chance that the device’s cells have worn out. In such cases, a quick change of batteries gets the system up and running in a heartbeat.

While you are at it, use a small brush to free the thermostat of any accumulated dust.

If the issue does not lie in the batteries, try the oldest trick in the books, i.e., reboot it. Turn your thermostat’s temperature down to 60 degrees and then turn the breaker switch off for half a minute to a minute. Restart the thermostat and see if it works.

If you succeed, great. If not, we suggest calling for professional help.

  • Dirty Filter

Old dirty filters create a host of problems. A dirty filter prohibits the air from circulating properly through the system. The clogged dirt and contaminants force the furnace to work harder and overtime to ensure that the air keeps moving. This mechanism stresses the system and often results in overheating and untimely breakdowns.

Not only does an old and dirty filter stress your heating system, but it also compromises the quality of air that you breathe. If the air circulating within the walls of your home have to pass through a mesh of dirt, you can imagine the air to be polluted with contaminants as well.

Indoor air pollution is becoming a rising concern. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 4.3 million people die every year because of indoor air pollution across the globe.

Additionally, the extra energy consumption adds to your bills as well. As per a study, 41.5% of an American home’s energy is consumed by its heating system.

A dirty, clogged filter means extra work and increased energy consumption, which will, in turn, lead to more bills.

For these reasons, you must change your filter every two to three months. Simply turn off the furnace, find the filter, replace the old with a new one, and switch the furnace back on. It is the simplest task in the world.

You must be wondering, “Where do I find furnace parts near me?” Well, the best place to look is online. Filters are super easy to find. They cost somewhere between $30 and $40 on average and come in an array of sizes.

  • Impaired Ignition

Ignition problems are very common with furnaces.

There are multiple reasons why your furnace might not be working, ranging from a dirty filter to an interrupted gas supply. While most issues are easily identified, perhaps the trickiest one to pinpoint is that of a faulty pilot light and ignition sensor.

If you hear your furnace initially click but then go silent and turn off, you know you have a pilot light and ignition sensor problem.

The question remains: How do you fix it?

Start by cutting off the gas supply to your furnace. Remove the front panel and find the ignition sensor, which is typically located near the burner. Remove the sensor and rub it with steel wool. This step will help remove the residue. Be careful, so you do not damage it. Once the residue is removed, place the sensor back in its former position and turn the gas back on.

The cleaned sensor will enable the furnace to light up with ease.

If this measure does not do the trick, we suggest seeking professional help.

  • Electrical Issue

Electrical issues are not easy to spot, especially for the rookies. However, if you find your furnace blowing a fuse or tripping the breaker as the heat starts to circulate, it is most likely an electrical issue.

If you are skilled enough to take on the task of replacing the fuse or the breaker yourself, go ahead. A faulty breaker or fuse could really cost you if overlooked.

However, considering the issue is an electrical and thus a technical one, we suggest letting the professionals take care of this one. Sure, you can experiment with it, but nothing should compromise the safety of your home and your family.

If the problem persists, call your nearest HVAC technician to deal with the matter as soon as possible.

  • Parting Thoughts

Various furnace issues can be easily resolved without professional guidance. However, we recommend getting your furnace serviced professionally at least once a year, especially if you are not too keen on handling the task yourself.

As a precautionary measure, we suggest you turn on your furnace at least once a month before the cold really hits. Check to see if your furnace is working properly. In case of any issues, you will have plenty of time to get it fixed before you start using it regularly.

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