12 Common Furnace Problems (And How To Fix Them)

Why Is My AC Not Heating

12 Common Furnace Problems (And How To Fix Them)

“Is it chilly in here, or is it just me?” If that’s the question that brought you to this post, we’d like to say this first: That stinks. No one needs a quitter furnace in the dead of winter, and we’re so sorry it’s happened to you. And now for the good news: Many furnace issues can be resolved simply, quickly, and inexpensively. In this post, we cover 12 of the most common problems, how to fix them, and when you’ll need some professional help with your Greater Austin furnace repair.

We know you’re cold, so we’ll dive right in.

Furnace Problem #1: The Thermostat Isn’t Set To Heat

We don’t mean to be the HVAC equivalent of the stereotypical IT “help” desk, but we have to at least ask: Is your thermostat actually on—and on the right setting? Even if you’re certain it is, go check. It’s possible someone accidentally switched it off or made an overly aggressive temperature adjustment. It’s also possible that your thermostat batteries died. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you while you check.

Furnace Problem #2: Furnace Isn’t Receiving Power

OK, well… since you’re still reading, it appears we didn’t cross our fingers card enough. (So sorry.) If your thermostat is operating and its settings are correct, the next “Boy, do I feel dumb” thing to check is this: Is the furnace plugged in? We know it seems ridiculous to think it somehow got unplugged, but it’s absolutely worth a look before exploring other possibilities.

If your furnace is plugged in, check to see if the circuit breaker tripped.

  • If the breaker controlling the furnace is in the OFF position, flip it back to ON.
  • If it’s between ON and OFF, flip to OFF before switching it to ON.
  • If it stays in the ON position, assume the tripped breaker was a fluke, and breathe a sigh of relief.
  • If the breaker trips again, you may have a problem with the wiring or with the breaker itself. In either case, you should involve a licensed electrician.

Furnace Problem #3: Furnace Is Making A Grinding Or Scraping Sound

If your blower is producing a grinding or scraping noise, it means your ball bearings have worn out and you should turn off the unit immediately. For this fix, you’ll need some help from a qualified Greater Austin HVAC professional.

Furnace Problem #4: Furnace Is Making A Squealing Noise

Shrieking furnaces indicate a slipped or worn blower belt. If you’re reasonably mechanically inclined, you can likely tackle this repair on your own.

  • If you can’t see any damage to the belt, try tightening it. (Just don’t overdo it, or you’ll end up with Problem #3.)
  • If you can see wear and tear on the belt, pick up a new one from your home improvement store, and follow the replacement instructions in your owner’s manual.
  • Or… save yourself some significant time and hassle, and let us help you instead.

Furnace Problem #5: Pilot Light or Ignition Issues

If you have an older furnace with a pilot light that won’t stay lit, you’ll need a professional to help you investigate several possible causes. You could have a misbehaving thermocouple or a clogged pilot orifice, your flame setting may be too low, or you might have a defective safety switch (which is obviously a big deal).

Note: Before attempting to relight your pilot, turn off the gas supply and wait several minutes. Natural gas is highly flammable, and if your pilot light has been out for some time, there could be a dangerous amount of gas built up around the unit. Always follow the instructions in your owner’s manual.

For furnaces with an electric Igniter, it’s worth checking the condition of your flame sensor. This critical safety feature of your furnace shuts down the whole works when it detects gas but no flames. When these sensors get dirty, they can’t “see” the flames, and so they unnecessarily shut everything down. To clean yours:

  • Turn off power to your furnace at the unit itself or by flipping the circuit breaker (not just at the thermostat).
  • Close the gas supply valve.
  • Using a ¼” hex-head screwdriver, carefully remove the flame sensor—it’s a thin, metal rod located at the burner assembly.
  • Gently rub the sensor with fine-grit sandpaper or an emery board. (A dollar bill actually works great, too!)
  • Wipe away any remaining dust with a paper towel, and then replace the sensor.

Furnace Problem #6: Dirty Filters

We cannot over-exaggerate the importance of regularly replacing your furnace filters. Clogged filters restrict airflow, which makes your furnace work harder, which can lead to the heat exchanger overheating, which will shut down your unit.

At best, you’ll have an inefficient furnace producing less heat for more money. At worst, you’ll shorten the lifespan of your furnace and have a chilly house. If your furnace isn’t producing enough heat, or if it’s constantly cycling off and on, there’s a good chance the poor thing is gasping for air. Replace those filters!

Furnace Problem #7: Access Panel Left Open

As you’ve no doubt discovered, accessing the guts of your furnace requires opening a panel on the unit. If the panel isn’t closed all the way, the furnace will absolutely not turn on… yet another safety feature to prevent injuries!

Furnace Problem #8: Dirty Burners

If your burners get gunked up, they can’t release sufficient natural gas to create combustion—which means you’ll get no heat. Healthy burners produce blue flames; any other color, such as yellow or orange, indicates debris in the mix. Dirty burners can also produce an impressive boom-rumble when they try to ignite. Although Googling “how to clean dirty burners” will yield several results, we strongly advise against doing this yourself. Too many things can go wrong—and quickly.

Furnace Problem #9: Cracked Heat Exchanger

A cracked heat exchanger hampers your furnace’s ability to do its job and it can allow deadly carbon monoxide to seep into your home. The signs of a cracked heat exchanger can be tricky to spot, but they may include:

  • Soot on the inside of your furnace
  • A strong, unpleasant odor that may remind you of that frog dissection unit in 10th grade biology
  • Water on the floor around the furnace
  • People in your home experiencing headaches, irritated eyes, nausea, disorientation, or flu-like symptoms—all indications of carbon monoxide poisoning

If you even suspect your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, shut it down and call in a Greater Austin HVAC expert immediately.

Furnace Problem #10: Faulty Limit Control Switch

If your blower fan runs continuously, and you’re certain your thermostat is set to AUTO not ON, your limit control switch may be to blame. This switch, located just under the box that directs heat from the furnace to the ducts, shuts down the system when the air gets too hot. If the unit never shuts off, it means your limit switch needs to be adjusted or replaced—which is a job for an HVAC pro.

Furnace Problem #11: Furnace Doesn’t Blow Air

If your furnace is coming on but it doesn’t seem to be moving air, you probably have a broken blower fan belt. As we advised in Problem #4, follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to replace the belt (or let us do it for you).

Furnace Problem #12: Popping or Pinging Ducts

As ducts heat, they expand, and when they cool, they shrink back—which can explain most of the popping or pinging sounds you hear. You may also have a loose flap of metal inside a duct that wiggles as air moves past it. If you can trace the sound to its exact location, try making a small dent in that location to see if that stops the sound. (Hooray for physics!)

Could Your Furnace Use a Tune-Up?

To ensure your furnace will keep your home comfortable all season long—and for many years to come— have us over to do a thorough inspection. With Grande Air Solutions, Greater Austin’s most trusted HVAC experts, you can have peace of mind that we’ll take good care of you and your home. But you don’t have to take our word for it; check out our reviews!

HVAC contractor Austin, TX, can help you with fall HVAC maintenance. Hutto’s days are getting shorter as we are approaching the end of summer. And now is the time to schedule fall maintenance. It probably isn’t your favorite thing to schedule routine HVAC maintenance. However, HVAC maintenance is essential for heating systems to perform at their best, and fall is the perfect season for this. 

You may be wondering why fall is the best time for HVAC maintenance. Here are a few reasons: 

The Time Is Right for Repairs

Cooler months are ideal for scheduling HVAC system maintenance if you want your system to run at its best. Your system will have to work harder than necessary if you wait till spring when the temperature is already rising. Additionally, HVAC contractor Austin, TX, helps you prepare your HVAC system in advance for cold winter days.

Get Ready for Winter Season

It’s a good idea to conduct a maintenance check before winter, as the summer is coming to an end. Problems can arise anytime. However, a routine maintenance check allows any operational issues to be addressed ahead of time, rather than causing the system to fail in the middle of winter.

Grande Air Solutions can help your heating system get ready for winter with fall maintenance by repairing and cleaning its components. 

Prevent Toxic Gas Leakage

The maintenance of your HVAC system before winter will save you money while protecting your family from harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur from leaky ducts if they are not repaired immediately. The presence of carbon monoxide in your home poses a serious health threat if you do not have a functioning carbon monoxide detector.

Carbon monoxide can be lethal if it leaks from your ductwork or furnace, which is why it’s crucial to have them repaired before winter begins. 

Clear Out Your Home Air 

You and your family will spend a lot more time indoors during the winter, which makes indoor air quality even more critical. You can ensure that your HVAC system is clean and debris-free this winter by scheduling maintenance with air conditioning repair Hutto service for the fall. 

HVAC Contractor Austin, TX, Services Can Save You Money

You can reduce energy bills while staying comfortable with a properly working HVAC system. When you take the help of ac repair Hutto, TX services, you won’t have to worry about costly repairs. 

If your filters need to be replaced or your coils need to be cleaned, fall is a great time to do it. That will increase efficiency and make your home more comfortable during the colder months. Putting off maintenance and repairs until winter will cost you more. So by scheduling routine maintenance with certified professionals of Grande Air Solutions, you’ll avoid costly repairs that regular tune-ups could have prevented.

Grande Air Solutions is Your Go-to Call for Fall HVAC Maintenance in Hutto 

Fall is all about enjoying the beautiful foliage, the coziness, and the fun of the season. And at Grande Air Solutions, we want to ensure you get the most out of it by maintaining the safety and comfort of your home. 

For the best performance of your heating and cooling systems, we provide regular HVAC maintenance and service. Our team performs a full analysis of your unit. Conducts an energy audit and tests your indoor air quality and temperature control systems. With our fall maintenance, you won’t have to worry about your HVAC units malfunctioning during the coldest months of the year. 

We are ready to prepare your home for cooler temperatures, so contact us today to schedule your HVAC maintenance. 

“Is it chilly in here, or is it just me?” If that’s the question that brought you to this post, we’d like to say this first: That stinks. No one needs a quitter furnace in the dead of winter, and we’re so sorry it’s happened to you. And now for the good news: Many furnace issues can be resolved simply, quickly, and inexpensively. In this post, we cover 12 of the most common problems, how to fix them, and when you’ll need some professional help with your Greater Austin furnace repair.

We know you’re cold, so we’ll dive right in.

Furnace Problem #1: The Thermostat Isn’t Set To Heat

We don’t mean to be the HVAC equivalent of the stereotypical IT “help” desk, but we have to at least ask: Is your thermostat actually on—and on the right setting? Even if you’re certain it is, go check. It’s possible someone accidentally switched it off or made an overly aggressive temperature adjustment. It’s also possible that your thermostat batteries died. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you while you check.

Furnace Problem #2: Furnace Isn’t Receiving Power

OK, well… since you’re still reading, it appears we didn’t cross our fingers card enough. (So sorry.) If your thermostat is operating and its settings are correct, the next “Boy, do I feel dumb” thing to check is this: Is the furnace plugged in? We know it seems ridiculous to think it somehow got unplugged, but it’s absolutely worth a look before exploring other possibilities.

If your furnace is plugged in, check to see if the circuit breaker tripped.

  • If the breaker controlling the furnace is in the OFF position, flip it back to ON.
  • If it’s between ON and OFF, flip to OFF before switching it to ON.
  • If it stays in the ON position, assume the tripped breaker was a fluke, and breathe a sigh of relief.
  • If the breaker trips again, you may have a problem with the wiring or with the breaker itself. In either case, you should involve a licensed electrician.

Furnace Problem #3: Furnace Is Making A Grinding Or Scraping Sound

If your blower is producing a grinding or scraping noise, it means your ball bearings have worn out and you should turn off the unit immediately. For this fix, you’ll need some help from a qualified Greater Austin HVAC professional.

Furnace Problem #4: Furnace Is Making A Squealing Noise

Shrieking furnaces indicate a slipped or worn blower belt. If you’re reasonably mechanically inclined, you can likely tackle this repair on your own.

  • If you can’t see any damage to the belt, try tightening it. (Just don’t overdo it, or you’ll end up with Problem #3.)
  • If you can see wear and tear on the belt, pick up a new one from your home improvement store, and follow the replacement instructions in your owner’s manual.
  • Or… save yourself some significant time and hassle, and let us help you instead.

Furnace Problem #5: Pilot Light or Ignition Issues

If you have an older furnace with a pilot light that won’t stay lit, you’ll need a professional to help you investigate several possible causes. You could have a misbehaving thermocouple or a clogged pilot orifice, your flame setting may be too low, or you might have a defective safety switch (which is obviously a big deal).

Note: Before attempting to relight your pilot, turn off the gas supply and wait several minutes. Natural gas is highly flammable, and if your pilot light has been out for some time, there could be a dangerous amount of gas built up around the unit. Always follow the instructions in your owner’s manual.

For furnaces with an electric Igniter, it’s worth checking the condition of your flame sensor. This critical safety feature of your furnace shuts down the whole works when it detects gas but no flames. When these sensors get dirty, they can’t “see” the flames, and so they unnecessarily shut everything down. To clean yours:

  • Turn off power to your furnace at the unit itself or by flipping the circuit breaker (not just at the thermostat).
  • Close the gas supply valve.
  • Using a ¼” hex-head screwdriver, carefully remove the flame sensor—it’s a thin, metal rod located at the burner assembly.
  • Gently rub the sensor with fine-grit sandpaper or an emery board. (A dollar bill actually works great, too!)
  • Wipe away any remaining dust with a paper towel, and then replace the sensor.

Furnace Problem #6: Dirty Filters

We cannot over-exaggerate the importance of regularly replacing your furnace filters. Clogged filters restrict airflow, which makes your furnace work harder, which can lead to the heat exchanger overheating, which will shut down your unit.

At best, you’ll have an inefficient furnace producing less heat for more money. At worst, you’ll shorten the lifespan of your furnace and have a chilly house. If your furnace isn’t producing enough heat, or if it’s constantly cycling off and on, there’s a good chance the poor thing is gasping for air. Replace those filters!

Furnace Problem #7: Access Panel Left Open

As you’ve no doubt discovered, accessing the guts of your furnace requires opening a panel on the unit. If the panel isn’t closed all the way, the furnace will absolutely not turn on… yet another safety feature to prevent injuries!

Furnace Problem #8: Dirty Burners

If your burners get gunked up, they can’t release sufficient natural gas to create combustion—which means you’ll get no heat. Healthy burners produce blue flames; any other color, such as yellow or orange, indicates debris in the mix. Dirty burners can also produce an impressive boom-rumble when they try to ignite. Although Googling “how to clean dirty burners” will yield several results, we strongly advise against doing this yourself. Too many things can go wrong—and quickly.

Furnace Problem #9: Cracked Heat Exchanger

A cracked heat exchanger hampers your furnace’s ability to do its job and it can allow deadly carbon monoxide to seep into your home. The signs of a cracked heat exchanger can be tricky to spot, but they may include:

  • Soot on the inside of your furnace
  • A strong, unpleasant odor that may remind you of that frog dissection unit in 10th grade biology
  • Water on the floor around the furnace
  • People in your home experiencing headaches, irritated eyes, nausea, disorientation, or flu-like symptoms—all indications of carbon monoxide poisoning

If you even suspect your furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, shut it down and call in a Greater Austin HVAC expert immediately.

Furnace Problem #10: Faulty Limit Control Switch

If your blower fan runs continuously, and you’re certain your thermostat is set to AUTO not ON, your limit control switch may be to blame. This switch, located just under the box that directs heat from the furnace to the ducts, shuts down the system when the air gets too hot. If the unit never shuts off, it means your limit switch needs to be adjusted or replaced—which is a job for an HVAC pro.

Furnace Problem #11: Furnace Doesn’t Blow Air

If your furnace is coming on but it doesn’t seem to be moving air, you probably have a broken blower fan belt. As we advised in Problem #4, follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to replace the belt (or let us do it for you).

Furnace Problem #12: Popping or Pinging Ducts

As ducts heat, they expand, and when they cool, they shrink back—which can explain most of the popping or pinging sounds you hear. You may also have a loose flap of metal inside a duct that wiggles as air moves past it. If you can trace the sound to its exact location, try making a small dent in that location to see if that stops the sound. (Hooray for physics!)

Could Your Furnace Use a Tune-Up?

To ensure your furnace will keep your home comfortable all season long—and for many years to come— have us over to do a thorough inspection. With Grande Air Solutions, Greater Austin’s most trusted HVAC experts, you can have peace of mind that we’ll take good care of you and your home. But you don’t have to take our word for it; check out our reviews!