Furnace issues are more likely during the winter, when the demand on the system is greatest. As you use your system to keep your home warm during the cold days and nights, you should keep careful watch for signs that the system is having issues. If you can identify problems quickly enough and then have them repaired, you can prevent quite a bit of damage to your furnace.
Have a look at some of the more common furnace issues and what you can do to catch them.
Clogged Air Filter
One of the simplest problems to contract, and to fix, is the clogged air filter. The air filter is designed to protect the furnace from the dust and other debris commonly found in the ducts of a home. However, when the filter is not changed often enough, it tends to become clogged. This prevents air from flowing into the furnace, lowering its heating output and causing other problems down the line. If you know where your filter is, you can replace it yourself. Just make sure you have the right type of replacement filter, and do it every three months or so to keep it from becoming clogged.
If you’re using a gas furnace, you need to be careful of allowing the burner assembly to become too dirty. The jets in the assembly typically have carbon particles build up on them over time, as a combustion byproduct of burning natural gas. If the carbon build up gets bad enough, it will eventually start clogging the jets and causing them to fire later than they should. You can often detect this in your furnace by listening for a loud booming sound when the system starts, as the jets finally ignite and burn through a lot of gas at once. If you hear this sound, call a professional to clean out the burner assembly for you.
If your furnace is turning itself on and off every few minutes without completing a full heating cycle, then it’s short-cycling. Short cycling can be caused by a number of things, including a clogged air filter or an electrical issue. The immediate effect of short cycling is that it prevents the furnace from properly heating the home. The long-term effects, though, are worse.
Short cycling puts a lot of strain on the furnace, accelerating the speed at which various parts of the system start to wear down. Over time, this will cause the system to break down and require repairs more often. If the short cycling isn’t dealt with, it will shorten the lifespan of the furnace by a number of years. If your furnace is short cycling, it is imperative that you have it repaired as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may end up having to replace the system much earlier than you thought.