Top Problems with a Furnace During Winter

Woman bundled up at home with wool hat.

Tell us if this sounds familiar: It’s late November, and you still haven’t turned on your gas furnace.

Instead, you decide to bundle up at home in Bucks County. You burrow under blankets and wear your thickest sweater, and maybe invest in a space heater.

And while we understand the temptation to put off running your heater for as long as possible, this way of doing things can backfire.

You might turn on your furnace for the season and discover any number of heating unit issues that are keeping your home from being its warmest. Let’s look at some common problems with a furnace during the winter.

1. The furnace just won’t turn on

Gas Furnace Pilot Light

If your furnace won’t start at all, it could be the result of these heating unit issues:

  • Problems with the pilot light – In older units, this could be due to a faulty valve, a loose/deteriorating thermocouple or a housing that needs cleaning.
  • The flame setting – If the flame setting on your pilot light is too low, your furnace may not light. Your flame should be a steady blue, about an inch or two high.
  • Electronic ignition trouble – In new furnaces with electronic ignition, you may have an ignition that needs to be reset. Turn the thermostat all the way down, turn off the power switch, then turn the power back on and the thermostat back to room temperature.
  • Electrical problems – Your furnace may not start simply due to a blown fuse or because of a tripped circuit breaker.

The problem could also rest with your thermostat, whether it’s not set correctly, needs a new battery, or simply needs to be replaced.

2. Inconsistent heat

You’ve fired up your gas furnace, but noticed that some parts of your home are warm – maybe even too warm – while others are chilly.

This can be due to several factors:

  • Leaky or clogged ductwork
  • Problems with the fan motor
  • Lack of insulation
  • An inadequately sized furnace, a problem that is especially common following renovations

A visit from a HVAC technician can help you diagnose whether any of these heating unit issues are at work in your furnace.

3. The furnace only blows cold air

man hands over heat vent feeling cold air.If this is happening with your furnace, take action. It can leave you with frozen pipes and water damage. Once again, this is a problem with multiple culprits, including:

  • An incorrect thermostat setting
  • Dirty flame sensor or gas burner
  • A clogged filter causing the furnace to overheat
  • Failure of the pilot light, valve or thermocouple

To learn more about this issue, read our blog post from last month.

4. Gas odor

If you smell natural gas after turning on a gas furnace, this could be a sign of a gas leak. This is dangerous. Follow these steps right away:

  • Don’t touch any electrical switches
  • Don’t light matches
  • If you can, shut off the gas supply valve on your gas meter
  • Go outside and call your gas company and/or your fire department

Do not go back inside until your furnace has been fixed and your property is safe.

5. A noisy furnace

If your furnace is making rattling or whistling noises, it might sound worse than it is. Typically, these issues can be corrected through routine HVAC maintenance.

Regular, preventive maintenance is the ideal way to keep your HVAC system running longer and to make sure that it is operating at the peak of efficiency and safety.

If you want to make sure your furnace runs worry-free this winter, contact All Seasons Comfort Control. Our technicians will be happy to work with you to make sure your home stays warm all season long.