If your furnace isn’t heating, well, what do you even have it for? Before you have it replaced, though, you should have a professional have a look at it to make sure that it can’t be repaired. There are a lot of different factors that can impact the heating efficiency of your furnace, most of which can be taken care of by a professional technician without replacing the entire system. Have a look at some of those issues below, and the warning signs that accompany them.
Clogged Air Filter
This is actually one of the best-case scenarios for why your furnace isn’t heating properly. The air filter sits in the air return duct of the furnace, and helps to protect it from the dust and other debris commonly found in the ducts. If you don’t replace the filter often enough, though, it will become clogged. This will cut off most of the air from flowing into the furnace, reducing the system’s ability to circulate heat through the home. Change the air filter every three months, or have a professional do it for you, in order to resolve and prevent this issue.
Burner Assembly Issues
The burner assembly is the part of the gas furnace responsible for combusting gas to generate heat. Carbon particles build up on the assembly jets over time, similar to car engines or gas stoves. Eventually, these carbon deposits can become significant enough that they prevent the jets from igniting. The more jets become too clogged to ignite, the more the furnace output will drop. Having a professional clean your burner assembly for you should resolve the issue. You should have it done as soon as possible, though. If you wait, the assembly could become completely clogged and the furnace will stop working entirely.
If your furnace is turning itself on and off every couple of minutes, that’s called short cycling. Short term effects of short cycling include a substantial cut to its heating ability, but that’s far from the worst of it. In the long term, short cycling increases the rate at which the system wears down. The various parts of the furnace begin to fail at a rapid clip, increasing the frequency and cost of repairs. Eventually, the cumulative effects of short cycling may cause the system to break down permanently years before it otherwise would have.
Air Handler Problems
The air handler is the part that blows air through the ducts while the furnace is on. It’s basically a large motor and fan. If the air handler malfunctions in any way, the furnace will not be able to circulate the heat that it produces. This can cause all kinds of other issues in the system, some of which can result in catastrophic breakdowns. So, make sure that you call for repairs if you have reason to suspect that your furnace is having air handler issues.