Have you done your furnace maintenance this year? If not, it’s time to get on it. There are plenty of basic things you can check and do yourself, including checking and vacuuming the burner, cleaning the pilot, and cleaning the blower. For more serious problems, it pays to call in a technician for furnace maintenance to prevent a breakdown. Anything you can do to prevent a breakdown is worthwhile.
A furnace breakdown can be a serious problem and they tend to increase during a cold snap. When temperatures plummeted below 5 °F (-15 °C) in Ontario, furnace technicians reported a 24 percent increase in service calls for that stretch of winter. Doing regular furnace maintenance helps prevent such breakdowns.
What are the most common causes of furnace breakdowns and problems? Here’s what you should look out for.
Ignition Failure – If your furnace uses electrical ignition, common on both electric and modern gas furnaces, ignition failure prevents the heating cycle from ever starting. A short visit from a furnace technician should sort out this problem easily.
Lack of Maintenance – Wear and tear caused by dirt and build-up are one of the leading causes of furnace breakdowns and problems. Unless you’re doing furnace maintenance yourself or having a furnace technician perform regular maintenance, your furnace will have a shorter lifespan and will be more prone to breakdowns. Don’t underestimate the importance of furnace maintenance, including occasional duct cleaning.
Problems with the Gas Line – If you have a gas furnace, make sure you get your gas lines checked. Any problems with your gas supply line will quickly cut off the fuel your furnace needs to keep your home warm and comfortable. There are a number of reasons why you may have problems with your gas line, though It’s important not to investigate on your own as these problems could be dangerous. Contact a furnace technician immediately.
Broken belts or motors – Wear and tear can cause mechanical problems inside your furnace that will prevent it from working. Broken belts and motors can prevent a furnace from blowing air through your home or otherwise getting the job done. If the motor, belt, or bearings are broken, your furnace won’t work.
Dirty air filters – The easiest furnace problem to fix is also one of the most common. Dirty air filters are a common cause of cold air blowing through your home, or it can cause your furnace to work harder to circulate air. Dirty air filters can also cause lasting damage and increased wear and tear on the unit. Change them out or invest in reusable air filters that you can clean. Check these before you call a furnace technician.
Blown breaker – Tripping or blowing a circuit fuse breaker can also cause a furnace breakdown, so check before you call a furnace technician. Look at your breaker panel and check the switch marked furnace. Reset the breaker by flipping it back and forth and making sure it’s set to on. If this isn’t enough, the problem may be with the wiring.
There are many reasons your furnace may be giving you problems. Keep up with regular maintenance and call a technician when you have a problem that stumps you.