For the millions of Americans who live in States where winters are cold (such as our very own New Jersey), effective heating is no luxury. It’s a basic need. When the mercury drops, the furnace becomes the most important appliance in the home—and when it stops working, we need to address the problem immediately.
So what could the problem be? In truth, the list of possible culprits is long. It may be that a serious repair is needed, or it may be as simple as replacing a filter. In terms of percentages, however, the following problems are five of the most common.
1. The filter needs changing
A dirty filter won’t cause your furnace to break down altogether, but it will limit the flow of warm air into your home’s interior. Put simply, the heating won’t be nearly as effective, and your furnace will strain to meet the thermostat requirements you’ve set. This not only prevents you from getting the heat you need, it results in even higher energy bills. Plus, more vital components of your furnace can break down over time due to the strain.
Changing the filter at least once a month during winter is cheap, and many homeowners are comfortable performing this task themselves. It keeps your heating system at optimal performance and protects your furnace against future problems.
2. The furnace hasn’t been professionally maintained
It would be nice if furnaces could work indefinitely without intervention or maintenance, but alas—this is a fairly complex appliance, and it does require oversight from time to time. The good news is, professional furnace maintenance is highly affordable, and is usually only needed once a year. The increased efficiency, lower energy costs, and long-term protection of the furnace itself far outweigh the modest fee required of an HVAC specialist. If your furnace already has major problem from lack of maintenance, a repair may be in order and could carry a substantial cost.
3. The ignition or pilot is out
The heating can only kick on if the ignition system in your furnace is firing properly. Without that, the gas won’t burn and the heat won’t be generated. Most furnaces today involve a heating apparatus or spark that is controlled electronically. If any of these delicate parts break down or burn out, ignition will fail. You’ll generally be able to tell if your ignition is failing if you listen carefully. You’ll hear a series of clicking noises, but no ignition will take place. In this case, unless you’re experienced in furnace maintenance and repair, it’s best to call in the pros.
4. The thermostat isn’t working
Sometimes the problem isn’t with the furnace itself, but with the device that tells the furnace when to turn on or off. Thermostats come in all shapes and sizes, and they don’t all work the same way. The good news is, thermostat problems are generally easy for a professional to repair or replace. If the problem lies here, chances are you’ll be able to solve the problem without taking much of a financial hit.
What’s the solution?
Hopefully, the source of your furnace troubles is minor and easily resolved. Most of the items listed here are low-cost repairs that will have your home back to a comfortable temperature in no time. If a more serious problem does need to be addressed, it’s all the more reason to change filters regularly and subject your furnace to routine maintenance checks.
Thanks for reading, and please feel free to leave your questions or comments right here!