Depending on where you reside, you can expect the temperatures in Canada to range from zero-degrees Celsius to twenty-three degrees Celsius during the start of a year.
This is not the best time to be without indoor heating. However, as this is when you will use your furnace or heater most, it is also the time when repair issues are most likely to appear. In this post, you will learn about the ten most common causes of issues to check prior to calling your furnace repair company, so you can differentiate a minor or major issues requiring professional assistance.
#1: Dirty Filters
If the filters become dirty or completely clogged, a heater will struggle to expel sufficient air to heat the living area. If the problem is left unattended, the problem can cause damage to the fan motor’s limit switch and can become a costly repair. Needless to say, clogged or dirty filters can also become fire hazards if left unattended.
#2: Wear And Tear On Furnace Parts
As time passes, some of the heater’s parts may start to break down. The bearings, belts, motors, filters, switches, pilot, burners and fan blades should all be checked regularly to ensure they are in good working order.
#3: Thermostat Problems
The thermostat can be considered the brain of the furnace or heater. This item tells the heater what temperature you want to be maintained throughout the living area, as well as how often the heater needs to be turned on to maintain the temperature. When a thermostat malfunctions, the heater may be in working, but it will not matter as it is no longer receiving the correct instructions. In these cases, a new set of batteries will fix the problem.
#4: Problems With The Ignition
When the ignition or pilot control stops working, you will not be able to generate heat despite the rest of the heating system being in good working order. There are various types of ignition systems, such as the electric-powered system utilizing electrical spark plugs, and the gas-powered system using a hot surface. For safety reasons, it is recommended that you contact a professional HVAC technician if there is a problem with the ignition. It is also recommended that you book an annual maintenance service to keep the system effectively operating.
#5: Rumbles Or Strange Noises
As the heater includes a blower and fan, it is normal for the item to make noises when running. However, if the heater starts to make strange noises or intermittent sounds such as rumbles, clangs, rattles, bangs or squeaks, this can be indicative of other types of problems. For example, the heater may have become inhabited by rodents or have ingested external debris. It is also possible that there are loose parts in the heater which need repair.
#6: Constant Cycling Between On/Off Modes
If the furnace seems to display continuous rapid cycling instead of running for a specific time and then turning off for a set period, it may be worthwhile contacting a professional technician. A serviceman can discover different issues contributing to the cycling, such as a dirty filter, a fan motor or a malfunctioning thermostat.
#7: Low Heat Output
In some cases, regardless of how long the heater runs, it may feel as if the living area is not being warmed. This is especially true in cases where the temperature hits a severe low as many HVAC systems are set to work within a baseline temperature range. If the outside temperature is within the normal range but the living area is not heating up, the reason could be related to a clogged or dirty filter, an insufficient power source, or a malfunctioning thermostat.
If it becomes unusually cold, the problem of the heater not being able to warm a living area could be that the furnace is unable to keep up with the cold seepage. In this case, it is best to use a further means of heating the space including space heaters, heating blankets, fireplace fires and more.
#8: The Heater Resets Itself Or Refuses To Operate
If the electric heater constantly resets the thermostat, this may be indicative of a malfunctioning thermostat, a potential interruption in the flow of electric power to the furnace or the case of a tripped circuit. When a gas heater is not operating, it could be related to the interruption of gas power to the heater, a problem with the gas pipe valve or an issue with the flame sensor.
#9: Negligence Of Routine Maintenance
There is routine maintenance that needs to be conducted regularly to ensure that all heaters or furnaces remain in working condition. Ranging from the replacement of certain elements in the heater to parts that wear out, lubrication of motors to cleaning debris and filters along with tightening of screws and bolts. All of these maintenance actions can make the world of difference between a malfunctioning heater and a trustworthy furnace when winter sets in.
#10: The Heater Is Working By The Energy Bills Are Skyrocketing
Lastly, while all seems to be running smoothly with the heater in that the living area is being heated sufficiently, when you go to pay the energy bills you receive a bit of sticker shock. This can be a sign of more happening with the furnace than meets your eye. Increased levels of energy consumption are indicative of the heater being dirty, damaged or under-powered.
As it is difficult to troubleshoot specific issues from generic ones, it is recommended that you contact an HVAC professional during this time. The technician is able to clean, maintain and repair the furnace while performing an energy audit.
The HVAC Professional Versus The DIY Approach
In conclusion, while it is your decision on whether to use a DIY approach or contact an HVAC professional technician to care for the heater or furnace; it is important to consider specific factors to make an informed decision. Given the high number of home fires linked to poorly maintained HVAC systems, it is best to schedule yearly heater inspections and perform routine cleaning to ensure you are safe when winter sets in.