Your furnace is a complex machine with many intricate parts. Like all machines, it is also prone to damage. But knowing how to troubleshoot your system can be useful during those cold nights when your system breaks down. You can fix some issues, but it is always best to call a professional when in doubt. Here are some top tips to help you find the fault in your HVAC system.
Always Check the Thermostat First
Your thermostat determines when your system runs depending on the temperature settings. When it is faulty, it can cause a wide range of problems, from insufficient heating to hot and cold spots. By starting with the thermostat, you can eliminate the issues that are easy and inexpensive to fix.
On your device settings, ensure that the thermostat is set to heat. Remember that old battery can affect the thermostat’s settings. It is therefore essential to change the batteries before concluding that the device is faulty.
Ensure that the room’s temperature values are similar to those shown on the thermostat. You may be getting incorrect readings due to the location of the device. Sunlight and heat from appliances in your home can change the temperature readings of your thermostat.
Also, ensure that the condenser unit of your HVAC system is running. If it is not, locate the circuit breaker box and ensure that the switch is set to the ‘on’ position.
You may want to consider replacing your thermostat if you suspect temperature regulation in your home is inefficient. You can program modern thermostats to optimize your system’s efficiency. They can produce reports showing a breakdown of your system’s energy consumption.
When Your HVAC Won’t Turn On
Once you’ve ruled out the circuit breaker and thermostat and your HVAC doesn’t turn on, check the condensate drain. Modern units have a safety mechanism that shuts off the furnace when the condensate drain is full.
Unlike air conditioners, furnaces also produce small amounts of condensation. Unfortunately, it often produces acidic water. That’s why you should be cautious when inspecting the pump and the drain pan. This helps you avoid injuries.
If the unit will still not turn on, the source of the problem could be the pilot light. Modern systems have pilot lights that will only release the gas to the burners once there’s sufficient heat. The mechanism also prevents the furnace from releasing dangerous amounts of gas.
If your furnace still fails to start, it could be other components, such as faulty ignition sensors. The blower motor may also need to be serviced by a professional. Remember to watch out for rattling or banging noises within the compartment when the system is working. In some cases, it may be a sign of impending failure.
Check Your Air Filters and Inspect the Vents
If your utility bill has been going up considerably, it could be a problem related to airflow. Your system’s filter may be clogged, and that’s why you need to clean it or replace it regularly. Blockages that restrict airflow will force your furnace to keep running continuously to heat the room.
When the filter is clogged, air will struggle to get past it. If you pay attention to the sounds coming from your equipment, you may hear a wheezing noise. A change of filter should fix the issue, but there could be other factors restricting airflow.
The vents of your HVAC system may not be supplying enough air to condition temperatures in your home. Often it is furniture, toys, or clothes blocking the return vents. Removing obstructions should restore your system’s efficiency.
It is also probable that your ductwork is leaking or blocked. Obstructions can also prevent conditioned air from getting into parts of your home. This might lead to irregular temperatures or insufficient heating.
Leaks may also allow unconditioned air into the interior of your home. Leaking ductwork will force your system to overwork to meet the heating demands of the building. After an inspection, cracks in the ductwork should be sealed to prevent further energy losses.
Pay Attention to the Indoor Air Quality
You shouldn’t overlook any signs that show your indoor air quality is getting worse. Not only could it be an indication of a failing system, but your home could also be harboring health hazards.
Pollutants can cause respiratory problems, and they may impact your overall wellbeing. Additionally, if your system is leaking toxic gases like carbon monoxide, it could pose a danger to your family.
Sometimes using substandard materials for household furnishings can compromise the indoor air quality in buildings. Carpets and furnishings have been known to emit significant amounts of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). VOCs can irritate the respiratory system and may cause headaches and nausea.
Also, pay attention to any activities that involve the use of glue, varnish, and paints. Before you conclude that there is a fault in your heating system, ensure that the room is adequately ventilated. Improving ventilation can facilitate the expulsion of toxic gases, especially when carrying out renovations.
If you still have an indoor air quality problem, then it is likely that your heating unit is faulty. Your ductwork may have obstructions that are restricting airflow. It is also common for debris to accumulate within the ductwork, especially for a system that is not maintained frequently. Your HVAC system then circulates those pollutants back into your house.
Your furnace can produce dangerous pollutants if it is faulty. At JW Plumbing, Heating, and Air, we recommend scheduling a maintenance appointment to ensure the safety systems are working. Remember you need your detectors working as they are likely the only thing that will alert you to a carbon monoxide leak.
What to Do When You Have a Problem
Remember, there are certain furnace issues that you should leave to professionals to fix. Depending on the problem, you may have to switch off your heating system as soon as you detect faults. When there is a carbon monoxide leak, the best thing is to turn off your equipment and call our certified professionals. Seeking repairs early on will also help prevent expensive repairs in the future.
Also, when components within your equipment are loose, switching off the system can save your equipment. Loose components will cause continuous sounds of rattling. If your system continues running there could damage critical components and may cause electrical fires.
If you are unsure about the problem, it is always wise to call a professional. Remember, you can easily injure yourself while trying to fix electrical components without the requisite experience. You also risk exposing your home to toxic gasses and pollutants. Even minor mistakes can make your system more inefficient and expensive to fix.
Scheduling for routine maintenance every year is the best way to avoid such issues. We recommend servicing your furnace before winter. A JW Plumbing, Heating, and Air professional in Los Angeles can detect and service faulty components. Capturing these faults early on allows you to fix them, thereby reducing the frequency of repairs and your utility bills.