Often, we only notice that our furnace needs repairs whenever our house gets a lot colder, and turning the furnace up doesn’t do a thing. However, there are also a lot of other signs that your furnace might be on the verge of a breakdown, and if you can catch these signs and repair your furnace earlier, then you won’t need to wake up to a cool house and will need to get the heat back on!
1. Your Furnace Starts to Smell
Every furnace will carry a faint odor of the fuel that they use, and you will have some type of smell when you turn your furnace on for the first time after half a year of it off. However, most of the time the odor will dissipate once the furnace kicks on and starts working. However, if you find that the odor doesn’t go away with time or you smell a strong scent of fuel, that means that you could have a furnace problem.
Smelly furnaces can come from lots of dust inside the unit, to a gas leak, or problems with the piping. It’s best to call an HVAC professional to determine the cause of the smell, especially if they are strong.
2. A Discolored Pilot Light
The pilot light on your furnace is found on the side of most commercial furnaces, and it should shine a bright blue. However, if the pilot light is any other color or especially yellow, then that can indicate problems with ventilation. Ventilation problems can be caused when the gasses created by the furnace, such as carbon monoxide do not dissipate properly.
A build-up of carbon monoxide is not the best for you or your family’s health, not to mention the health of your furnace. So avoid turning the furnace on and have it inspected and repaired right away! If you find that your pilot light is any color but blue or the carbon monoxide detector on your furnace has gone off, then you need to ventilate your home, turn off the furnace, and then speak to your HVAC contractor to have the furnace repaired.
Additionally, if you turn the furnace on and your pilot light doesn’t turn on, or doesn’t stay on, that is another problem you will need to have checked out. This can be one problem that you can check yourself. Simply turn the gas valve off and wait for at least three minutes, and then turn the valve to the pilot setting and hold a lit match to the pilot opening.
Push the reset button on your pilot control and the flame should be lit, then you can turn the pilot valve to the on position in order to turn the light on. If this doesn’t light the pilot light to a bright blue, then you need to call a professional.
3. Your Furnace Capacitor Stops Working
The Furnace capacitor is a common fix that most people and repair services know how to make whenever a furnace starts to act up. A furnace capacitor is what supplies power to the blower fan that circulates the hot air through the home, and if it doesn’t work then all that hot air isn’t going anywhere.
If you hear the humming sound of your furnace working but the motor doesn’t start, or the furnace doesn’t blow out the air or turn on then that is a sign that you need to repair or replace your furnace capacitor.
4. Furnace Turns on Then Turns Immediately Off
This is one of the most common symptoms of a faulty furnace. You turn your thermostat to heat mode, and the furnace does not turn on, or it blows cold air. When a furnace receives a call for heat from the thermostat, the furnace tells the draft inducer to run, and then when it is up to speed, the pressure switch will close to signal the furnace to turn on the ignitor and gas valve.
The next two things to happen are the most common parts to fail on a furnace. The ignitor and gas valve comes on to light the flames, and the flame sensor tells the furnace control board that the flames are lit. If the flames fail to ignite, then you have a faulty ignitor or gas valve; If the flames ignite, but the furnace is not receiving a signal indicating flames are lit, then you have a faulty flame sensor.
5. Poor Air Quality
Finally, this might be less of a repair and more of a maintenance issue, but it could bea sign of larger problems. Furnace systems pump warm air throughout your home,but an improperly cleaned furnace system can move dirt, bacteria, and otherdangerous particles throughout your home as well. In order to make sure thatyou aren’t damaging your family’s health, if you notice an increase in allergies or a decrease in your home’s air, then you might need to check thefilters or have the ductwork professionally cleaned.
Get Your Furnace Repaired Right Away
If you notice that your furnace isn’t turning on, or has any of the above signs of having trouble, then you need to order the appropriate parts online or call furnace repair company right away. While most repairs can be done yourself, you shouldn’t attempt to DIY a furnace repair if carbon monoxide or leaking pipes are involved. Instead, get a professional to repair your furnace safely, and then you can get back to having a warm home in the coldest of months!