Friday, December 5, 2014
Furnace Repair: Common Problems and Their Solutions
As the weather gets colder, you may notice that your furnace just isn't working right or that it isn't keeping your home quite as warm this year. You might think that you need to call in a furnace repair specialist to take a look. However, there are things you as a homeowner can check before you decide to bring in the professionals.
Check the Thermostat
A dirty thermostat can be the culprit of all kinds of furnace issues because the air in your home cannot reach the temperature sensor in the back of the unit. It can cause your furnace to cycle on-and-off repeatedly, not allow your furnace to shut off, or stop it from coming on at all. Simply cleaning the dust out of your thermostat can save you an expensive service call during the busiest time of the year. It could also save you the embarrassment of knowing it was so simple to fix.
If you have a programmable thermostat, the battery may need to be replaced. This should be done every 12 - 24 months when you change your smoke detector batteries. Furthermore, it's entirely possible that the battery has simply jiggled loose from an accidental bump to the wall. Checking and replacing the battery, if necessary, is often a simple task.
Check the Furnace Filter
The furnace filter is one of the easiest things a homeowner can check and replace if necessary. Although often overlooked, a dirty filter can greatly reduce your furnace's ability to heat your home efficiently. Additionally, a clogged filter will cause your furnace fan to work a lot harder trying to push air through your heat ducts to warm your home.
Some furnace filters are made to be cleaned with a simple vacuuming. However, most are disposable and will need to be replaced. Fortunately, furnace filters are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at your local hardware or home improvement store. When going to buy a new one, you'll want to remove the old one first and take down the measurements to be sure you get the right size. Generally, they are sold in packs of two or more, so you'll have one handy for next year.
Calling in the Professionals
If you notice other things such as a funny smell, a squealing sound or any other strange noises, it's time to call in the pros. Obviously, if your furnace won't turn on or off and you've already checked the thermostat, you're going to need help from a qualified technician. There is little a homeowner can do to remedy this type of situation safely.
Many people turn on their furnace for the first time during late fall or early winter only to find out it's not working right. Regular, annual maintenance checks can help avoid this. If you haven't done this yet, call a reputable heating company in your area to schedule a visit. That way, you'll eliminate the risk that a small maintenance issue doesn't turn into an expensive, untimely furnace replacement.