Most Common Furnace Problems And How To Avoid Them

A technician repairing a furnace
Nov 2016 11

We rely on our furnaces to keep us warm during those long cold winter nights and it’s always a pleasure to come back to a warm and comfortable home. However, even the most sophisticated heating systems sometimes encounter hiccups, malfunctions or even breakdowns. In this article we would like to provide you with information about the most common heating problems and offer advice on how best to handle them.

The Furnace Isn’t Heating At All

Possible Causes:

  • Power Outage
  • Thermostat Malfunction
  • Faulty Pilot Light
  • Limited Fuel Flow

Thermostat malfunctions are usually easy to handle - check that it is switched to “heat”, set the desired temperature and the fan to “auto”. If your thermostat is programmable, you may need to override the settings to check if the thermostat is causing the problem. Power outages can usually be fixed by the homeowner, too, but broken pilot lights and more serious system malfunctions should be treated by a furnace repair professional.

The Furnace Is Heating Inefficiently

Possible Causes:

  • Clogged or dirty air filter
  • Inefficient air flow
  • Leaks in the system
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Outdated furnace

If you feel that the heating in your home isn’t as efficient as it used to be, or the furnace takes much longer than usual to provide you with warmth, the first thing you should is check is your air filter. If it’s clogged or covered by excessive amount of dirt, change it. If that isn’t the case or if it doesn’t help, you should have your system checked for air flow inefficiency and leaks in the ductwork.

The heating is inconsistent from room to room

Possible causes:

  • Drafts
  • Lack of insulation
  • Unbalanced airflow

If some of your rooms are significantly better heated than others, it could mean that your house has draft or insulation problems which can be fixed by sealing up windows and doors, patching cracks, or inspecting the insulation of your house. If that doesn’t help, uneven airflow might be causing the uneven heating of your home. This may be solved by adjusting the vents and changing air filters. However, if you can’t determine or solve the problem on your own, it’s a good idea to contact a heating professional and ask for advice.

High Energy Bills

Possible Causes:

  • Lack of maintenance
  • Outdated Unit

Units that haven’t been properly maintained are usually less efficient, which means they need more energy to provide your home with the same amount of comfort that you are used to. If you’re receiving unusually high energy bills during the heating season, your furnace most likely is in need of a maintenance check-up. It is recommended to have your furnace serviced once a year, preferably in the Fall, before the heating season begins. Regular maintenance increases the dependability and life expectancy of your heating unit and helps avoid costly repairs and heating related emergencies.
However, if your unit is more than 12 years old, maintenance might not do the trick. In that case you might want to consider replacing your furnace in order to save money in the long run and have efficiently heated, comfortable home.


Possible causes:

  • Damage to the system
  • Outdated Unit

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas sometimes called “the silent killer”. It’s odorless, colorless and tasteless which makes it impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide detector, and can cause damage to the health of your household. Carbon monoxide can find its way into your home through cracks and leaks near the heat exchange. These cracks mostly indicate an outdated heating system.

Most of these issues can be prevented by regular maintenance. We recommend having your heating system serviced in the Fall and your air conditioning in the Spring. Regular check-ups will help increase the life expectancy of your units, provide better comfort to your home, and avoid costly repairs in the future.

And remember: whenever you’re in need of heating system installation, maintenance or repair services, call HVAC Experts! We’re committed to keeping your home comfortable, even if you need emergency heating repairs in the middle of a cold winter’s night.