A Hassle-Free Guide to Troubleshooting Your Heating System

Winters in the Marietta, GA, area may be short, but reliable heating for your home is still a must. Through the cold, wet nights and overcast days, the last thing you want to deal with is a malfunctioning furnace. Knowing how your heating system works is the first step to getting it running again! This blog will walk you through common furnace problems and DIY solutions to restore your comfort.

Not all problems require professional repair or a new furnace installation, so you might be surprised how many heating woes you can resolve on your own! We will also guide you through when calling for professional help is the safest, most effective solution.

No Heat or Insufficient Heat

Problem: One of the most common issues homeowners face in the winter is their furnace blowing cold air or not producing enough heat.

DIY Solution: Before calling a professional, check the thermostat settings. Ensure it’s set to “heat” and the desired temperature is higher than the current room temperature. If that doesn’t solve the problem, inspect and replace the furnace filter. A clogged filter can obstruct airflow and reduce heat output. You can also check for blocked or closed vents and registers.

If the Problem Persists: When the furnace is completely unresponsive or warm airflow does not improve after these DIY steps, there could be several problems. Issues with the fan motor, thermocouple or gas line may result in no heat and should always be handled by a professional.

Strange Noises

Problem: If you hear unusual sounds while your furnace is running, there may be loose, broken, or dirty parts.

DIY Solution: Odd noises can be unsettling, and the solution will depend on what kind of noise the furnace makes. Start by turning off the furnace, visually inspecting for any damage, and tightening any loose screws. If you hear a hissing noise, check that the air filter is not dirty or obstructed and replace it if necessary.

If the Problem Persists: Sounds like screeching, banging, clicking, buzzing, and scraping can indicate a bigger problem. Never handle potential gas leaks, electrical hazards, ignition problems, or internal components like the blower wheel on your own. If the sound isn’t resolved by tightening screws and changing the air filter, we recommend calling a professional.

Short Cycling

Problem: If your furnace frequently turns on and off, it might be short cycling.

DIY Solution: The most common cause for short cycling is a dirty air filter. If the air filter is dirty or clogged, replace it with a clean one and make sure it’s installed securely in the right direction. Your furnace could also be short-cycling due to a thermostat issue. Start by changing the thermostat batteries and test that it’s working properly. Thermostats should be installed in a location that reflects the temperature of your home. If it’s installed in a drafty hallway or near a door to the outside, try moving it closer to the center of your home.

If the Problem Persists: Though less common, short cycling can indicate that you have an improper furnace size for your home. When a furnace is too large for a space, it’s usually too powerful and cannot operate properly. If changing the air filters and checking the thermostat don’t work, we recommend calling a professional to assess your home’s needs and install a correctly sized furnace.

Pilot Light Problems

Problem: Older furnaces often use a pilot light. If it’s not lit or won’t stay lit, your furnace won’t function and heat your home.

DIY Solution: If the pilot light goes out, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight it. If the pilot light won’t stay lit, start by checking that the gas valve is set to ON and that the thermostat is set to heat. Next, replace the air filter to provide maximum airflow for your furnace and prevent the exchanger from overheating. Then, check if the circuit breaker has tripped and reset it if needed.

If the Problem Persists: A pilot light issue can usually be resolved with simple DIY steps, but a persistent issue should be handled by a professional. There may be a problem with the thermocouple, a faulty gas valve, a dirty pilot light orifice, or a faulty gas regulator.

High Energy Bills

Problem: A spike in your energy costs during the fall and winter usually indicates strain on your heating system.

DIY Solution: Start by ensuring your home is well-insulated and that there are no drafts. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and replacing filters, can significantly improve energy efficiency.

If the Problem Persists: A well-maintained furnace should run efficiently and have no problem heating your home. If you face consistently high energy costs, consider upgrading to an energy-efficient heat pump or new furnace model to lower costs and save in the long run.

Uneven Heating

Problem: If some areas of your home are warm while others remain chilly, your furnace may not be distributing heat evenly.

DIY Solution: Check for obstructions around the vents and registers in the colder rooms. Next, adjust the dampers if they are stuck or closed, as they can also cause zone controls to malfunction. As with many furnace issues, replace any dirty or clogged air filters to improve airflow.

If the Problem Persists:  If the problem persists, it might be a more complex issue with ductwork or the furnace. Consult with a professional to inspect the ductwork and seal any leaks, check the furnace for damage, and make any necessary repairs.

When to Call a Professional HVAC Company for Heating Issues

While many furnace issues can be resolved with DIY solutions, there are certain situations where professional help is necessary. Here are some scenarios when you should contact an HVAC company like A-Team Home Services:

  • Gas Leaks: If you smell gas near your furnace, immediately shut it off, ventilate the area, and contact an HVAC professional. Gas leaks can be extremely dangerous and should not be handled without the proper expertise.
  • No Improvement: If your DIY attempts don’t resolve the issue or if the problem keeps recurring, it’s time to call in professionals who can identify and address the root cause.
  • Complex Repairs: Furnace repairs involving electrical or mechanical components are best left to trained technicians. Attempting these repairs yourself can lead to further damage or injury.
  • Regular Maintenance: Even if your furnace seems to be working fine, it’s advisable to schedule annual maintenance with an HVAC company to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Restore Your Home’s Heat Fast With A-Team Home Services

Understanding common furnace problems and their DIY solutions can save you time and money. However, it’s important to know your comfort level and limitations so you can seek professional help when needed. For Marietta, GA, homeowners, A-Team Home Services is your trusted partner for all your HVAC needs. Our team of experts is ready to assist you in keeping your home warm and comfortable throughout the winter. Contact us today or call for all your furnace maintenance, repair, and replacement needs. Your comfort and safety are our top priorities!

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