5 Common Furnace Problems You Can Absolutely Avoid
According to the United States Department of Energy, space heating is the largest energy expense in the average household.
It accounts for around 45 percent of a household’s energy bills.
You probably don’t give much thought to your furnace on a day-to-day basis. As the days and nights grow colder, you may turn the heat up little by little, then turn it back down once spring arrives along with warmer days.
But a number of common furnace problems can put a quick stop to this routine.
If you’re like most Americans, you don’t worry about the heat going out until the day that it does, and you’re left with a cold home and a costly repair or replacement.
Most people also don’t wonder whether their furnace is operating efficiently until they receive a higher-than-normal bill at the end of the month.
Before you automatically start shopping for a new furnace, it’s a good idea to check and see if any common furnace problems are actually to blame for the system not working.
Here are just a few of the common problems that you or an expert might discover to be to blame for issues with your furnace.
A Faulty Thermostat
The thermostat is the control center of the furnace, allowing you to raise and lower the heat or turn off the system entirely.
It’s can also be the cause of your furnace problems.
There are a number of things that can go wrong with your thermostat that will prevent your furnace from running properly.
While most thermostats are connected to your home’s electrical system, some are battery operated. For a quick fix to a common furnace problem, simply check to see if the batteries in your thermostat need replacement.
If not, or if your thermostat runs on electricity rather than battery power, you may need to call in an expert to see if your thermostat needs to be recalibrated.
This may be the case if you find that your home feels much too cold long after you’ve turned up the heat or much too warm long after you’ve turned it down.
Another common cause of furnace problems is dirty filters.
Over time, the filters in your furnace become clogged with dust and debris filtered in from the air in your home. If the filter becomes too clogged, it can make it difficult for your furnace to continue cycling air through.
Pressure builds in the furnace, causing it to run less efficiently. If left untreated, this can also cause damage to the furnace’s fan.
Filters need to be replaced at least once every three months (though certain factors may require you to change them more often).
If you have pets that release hair or track dirt into your home, you’ll need to replace them even more often. You also need to replace them more often if you suffer from allergies, or if you want your furnace to run as efficiently as possible.
For optimal furnace function, replace your filters once a month.
This will help keep your furnace running efficiently and prevent many other common furnace problems from occurring.
Replacing the filters is not essential for only your furnace; for many of the same reasons, you need to regularly replace the filters in your air conditioning unit as well.
To avoid costly AC repairs, replace your air conditioner’s filter regularly during the months that you use it. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, doing so can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by as much as 5 to 15 percent.
An Individual Part May Be Broken
While this can be the hardest problem for you to diagnose on your own, if only one individual component of your furnace is broken, you may be able to fix just that part rather than replacing the entire unit.
There are a number of components that may break or malfunction during the life of your furnace.
To figure out whether one of these may be the source of your problems, you’ll need to do some troubleshooting.
After checking to make sure that your filters do not need to be replaced and ensuring that your thermostat is running properly, the next step is to make sure that your furnace is actually receiving the electricity that it needs to run.
To check this, go to your thermostat and try turning on the fan. If it turns on, you have power. If not, a power outage may be to blame.
Next, you’ll want to check to see if you’ve flipped a circuit. Find the circuit that powers your furnace on your home’s breaker panel, and make sure that it’s flipped to the on position.
Units that are older than 20-years-old may have a pilot light, and if that light goes out, so will your furnace. Consult your owner’s manual to learn how to relight the pilot light or contact an expert if you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself.
If none of these quick fixes get your furnace back up and running, it may be time to call in an expert on furnace repairs.
You May Not Be Running Your Furnace Efficiently
If your furnace seems to be running properly, but your energy bill has been higher than it should be, the way that you are running your furnace may be to blame.
Many people think that turning the heat off or setting it to a lower temperature overnight, when their family is bundled up in bed, will save energy.
However, doing this causes your furnace to work overtime in the morning when you turn the heat back on or turn it to a higher temperature.
Another common furnace mistake is to leave your fan set to the “on” position 24/7. While doing so keeps air moving through your fan, which keeps it clean, and also maintains even heat distribution in your home, it can also be a costly mistake.
Running the fan 24/7 can cost you as much as $50 extra every month.
Lack of Routine Maintenance May Lead to These Common Furnace Problems and More
One of the easiest ways to avoid most furnace problems is by performing routine maintenance.
While you can change filters on your own, you’ll need an expert to inspect and check for other issues.
It’s important to schedule yearly fall checkups, during which an expert will look for these issues and more.
They’ll perform cleaning and maintenance during this visit that will allow your system to run efficiently, helping you save money and ensuring that you and your family stays warm and happy throughout the colder months.
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