Three Common Types Of Furnace Issues And What You Should Do About Them

Posted on: 16 October 2015


When the weather starts to turn cold, you depend on your furnace to keep your home comfortable. Unfortunately, there are times when your furnace may not live up to that expectation. If you're having furnace issues, then there's a good chance they fall into one of these three categories. Here's how to handle each one.

The furnace is blowing out air, but it's not hot.

Whenever your furnace stops heating but is still blowing out air, the first thing you should check is that the pilot light is still lit. Sometimes drafts can blow the pilot light out. An air gap in the gas supply could also cause the light to go out unexpectedly.

If the pilot light is, indeed, out, try using a long-handled butane lighter to relight it. If it catches, then you're all set. Make sure windows and doors near the furnace are closed so another draft does not blow it out again.

If the pilot light does not catch, make sure your gas has not been turned off (a good way to tell is to simply call your gas company). Once you know that the gas is on, use a little cloth to wipe off the thermocouple, which is the branched wire that rests just above the pilot light. Sometimes, if this is dirty, it may interfere with the function of the pilot light. Once you've cleaned the thermocouple, try lighting the pilot light again. If it does not catch, it is time to call your HVAC technician -- you may have a faulty thermocouple or clogged gas line.

The air flow from the furnace is limited, but the air is warm.

Sometimes, a furnace may still blow out air, but it will be blowing out less air than usual. This will result in your home not heating all of the way up to your set temperature, or it may cause some rooms to heat less than others (particularly, those that are further down the duct system won't receive hot air). This issue, thankfully, usually has a very simple explanation. Your furnace filter is likely dirty and clogged.

Locate your furnace filter, and take it to the hardware store to make sure you buy another of the same size. The inexpensive, disposable filters work just fine. With the new filter in place, your airflow should improve. Remember to change your filter once per month, going forward, so this does not happen again.

If, per chance, you change the filter and the airflow still seems limited, you may have a problem with your fan assembly. An HVAC technician can evaluate your blower system and make repairs as needed.

There is no air, whatsoever, coming through the system.

If your furnace is simply not kicking on at all, and no air (even cold air) is coming through the system, then the issue is either very simple, or it stems from your blower unit. The blower unit is usually electrically powered. Check to make sure the circuit breaker to your furnace has not been tripped; if so, flipping it back to the "on" position will solve your problem. If there is an on/off power switch to your furnace, which there often, is, make sure it did not accidentally get flicked off.

In cases in which there seems to be adequate power to your blower unit, but it's not working, there may be an issue with a jammed fan blade or a defect in the internal conduction system. You should not attempt to fix the blower unit yourself, as they are intricate appliances, and because doing so may void any warrant you have on the blower. For more information, contact a business such as R & B Heating & Air Conditioning.