3 common furnace problems

As the weather gets colder, we’re getting a lot more calls from frustrated homeowners who are dealing with various furnace problems.

But a lot of these problems could have been solved with a few simple, DIY troubleshooting steps. So, to help you save money on unneeded service calls, we’ve listed the top 3 furnace problems in Kansas City Metro and what you can do to solve them yourself.

Not interested in DIY solutions? Just contact us and we’ll send over a tech that can fix your furnace problem in no time.

Problem #1: “My furnace keeps turning on and off”

Here’s the problem: your furnace comes on, heats for a few minutes then turns off before your house warms up. Then it turns on again and repeats the cycle all over again.

Let’s look at what you can do to try to solve the problem.

Some DIY solutions:

1. Change your air filter. A clogged air filter restricts the amount of air that gets blown over your heat exchanger. Reduced airflow causes the heat exchanger to overheat and shut off the burners. But once the heat exchanger cools down, your furnace turns back on only to repeat this process and shut back off after a few minutes. It’s a vicious cycle that can damage your furnace. So, if your filter looks like the one to the right (in the picture below), replace it with a clean one ASAP.

2. Open all air vents. It’s a common myth that shutting return air vents will save you money. All it really does is cause loads of furnace problems. You see, when you shut an air vent, it increases the pressure inside your system. That means your blower motor can’t push as much air over the heat exchanger, causing it to overheat and shut off. And that process repeats as long as there’s extra pressure inside the system So walk around your house and make sure all the return air vents (like the one below) are kept open.

3. Check your exhaust vent. As your furnace runs, it needs to vent dangerous gases away from your home. And your exhaust vent is responsible for just that, so if it’s blocked your furnace will shut off. Because the exhaust vent juts outdoors, it’s likely to get clogged from leaves, debris, bird nests, etc. So check your exhaust vent and clear it if needed. Be careful, though, because sometimes exhaust vents are located on the roof.

Problem #2: “My furnace is blowing cold air”

If you’ve noticed that your furnace is running but blowing cold air, that can usually be solved by following the steps below.

Some DIY solutions:

1. Set your thermostat correctly. Make sure the thermostat is set to HEAT and the fan is set to AUTO.

2. Check and change your air filter. If your air filter is clogged, it cuts down on the amount of air your system can breathe in. And this causes the heat exchanger to overheat and shut off. And without the burners on, your air doesn’t get heated before it’s pushed into your home. So change your filter if it’s dirty.

Problem #3: “My furnace keeps tripping the breaker”

Unfortunately, if you’ve tried to turn on the heat but the furnace immediately trips the breaker, there aren’t too many DIY solutions. However, you can try to reset the breaker. But only do this once, if that doesn’t solve the problem, call a professional.

Some DIY solutions:

1. Locate your electrical panel. These are usually located in a basement, garage or utility closet somewhere in the house.

2. Find the furnace circuit breaker. The breaker should be labeled “furnace”,  “heating” or something along those lines. It should be the only breaker that is flipped to the OFF position.

3. Push breaker to the ON position. If the breaker stays in the ON position, try turning the heat on to see if the problem is solved. If the breaker immediately flips back to the OFF position, though, leave it alone. Don’t keep trying to adjust the breaker. Have a tech inspect the system for the root problem.

Still having furnace problems? Ask a Kansas City tech

If you’ve tried our advice above but are still having issues with your furnace, we’re here to help.

Just schedule your appointment today and we’ll send over a tech immediately.