By taking good care of your heating and cooling systems, you can reduce the risk of a breakdown that requires an HVAC service visit. A well-maintained furnace is less likely to require frequent repairs. However, all appliances can break down from time to time. Here’s what you need to know about some of the most problems that often affect furnaces.
Clogged Air Filter
One of the most common causes of furnace breakdowns is a clogged filter. When the filter is dirty, the furnace is forced to work harder to maintain proper airflow. This increases the risk of a breakdown that requires repairs. If you notice that your home isn’t as comfortable as it should be, given the thermostat settings, or if your utility bills suddenly spike, it’s time to check the air filter. You can replace the filter or clean it yourself, but you should always call an HVAC service expert if your problems persist despite changing the filter.
Damaged Heat Exchanger
A damaged or cracked heat exchanger is one of the most serious problems associated with furnaces. In fact, it can be deadly. When the heat exchanger sustains damage, the furnace will leak carbon monoxide gas. HVAC technicians carefully examine the heat exchanger at every tune-up appointment, which is why it’s so important to schedule that annual service visit. However, if your home experiences carbon monoxide problems between service visits, it’s time for an emergency HVAC appointment. And if anyone in your household shows signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, evacuate all humans and pets immediately. Carbon monoxide poisoning causes these symptoms:
- Dull headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurry vision
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
Carbon monoxide poisoning warrants a 911 call, as it can be deadly.
If your furnace is constantly cycling on, this may be a sign that the problem is actually your thermostat, rather than the furnace itself. The average thermostat should last at least a decade. However, they can sometimes malfunction earlier in their lifespan. This can happen as a result of issues like aging wiring and dust accumulation. Other signs of a malfunctioning thermostat include:
- The furnace won’t kick on, despite the chill.
- Room temperature and the thermostat setting are inconsistent.
- The digital thermostat is unresponsive or has no power.
If you have a digital thermostat, you should change the batteries in it once a year. If it’s been a while since you put in new batteries, try doing this and see if it fixes the problem. Otherwise, call an HVAC technician to take a look at your thermostat. It might require recalibration or replacement.
Problematic Pilot Light
There are a few things that can go wrong with the pilot light on a gas furnace. Under normal conditions, the pilot light should have a steady blue flame. If you notice that your pilot light has a flickering yellow light instead, it’s time to call the HVAC company. A flicking flame may mean that the heat exchanger is cracked.
Another problem with the pilot light is if it goes out. You can relight an extinguished pilot light, of course. However, if it continues to go out repeatedly, you’ll need an expert to look at it. This issue can be caused by a faulty thermocouple, a dirty pilot orifice, or a bad gas regulator.
For affordable and reliable HVAC services, Tucson-area families and businesses can count on the team at American Conditioned Air. Sign up for our HVAC service plans
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