Furnace problems can be frustrating. But they can also be expensive, especially when you call in a professional when you could have solved the problem yourself.
We see this happen a lot in Atlanta. So we’ve listed some DIY steps you can take to solve the most common furnace problems before calling a professional.
Have a furnace problem that you know you can’t solve on your own? Just schedule an appointment with us now and we’ll send over a tech immediately.
Problem #1: Some rooms are hotter or colder than others
Getting cold or stuffy spots when you turn on your furnace? This problem is typically caused by 2 issues:
- Airflow problems
- Abnormal heat loss/gain
Troubleshoot for airflow problems
- Check your filter. If your furnace filter is dirty or clogged it can’t “breathe” in as much air as it should. And a furnace can only give out as much air as it breathes in. That dirty filter is now restricting how much hot air other rooms get, which can cause temperature imbalances throughout the home. Change your air filter if it looks like the one to the right.
- Check for closed air vents (and open them ASAP). Contrary to what most homeowners believe, closing vents in unused rooms wastes money, damages your HVAC system and creates unbalanced temperatures. You see, when you close vents, it increases the pressure inside your air ducts. That extra pressure forces air to leak out of the ductwork and escape into unconditioned areas like your basement or attic. Which means certain areas in your home gets less warm air than others.
A diagram of how warm air escapes via duct leaks.
Troubleshoot for heat gain/loss
- Check for air leaks around windows. An easy DIY test is to light a stick of incense and pass it slowly around the border of your window. Wherever the smoke is pushed into the home or sucked out toward the window is a leaky area. The solution? Weather strip (air seal) your windows. According to Energy.gov, weather stripping your home can save 20% on heating/cooling bills and it will keep your home’s temperature more balanced. Check out this article for instructions on how to air seal your home.
- Draw the shades. Heat can escape even through closed windows. In fact, you can lose up to 30% of your heat energy through windows and doors. Blocking that heat from hitting the cold window, though, can help stop that bleeding. So, keep your shades drawn as much as possible.
Need more information on this problem? Check out our article, “Why Are Some Rooms Colder or Warmer Than Others?”
Problem #2: My furnace is blowing cold air
If you’re getting cold air from your furnace, one of these 4 issues are usually the cause:
- Wrong thermostat settings
- Low airflow
- Pilot light problems
- Clogged condensate line
Unfortunately, there are only DIY solutions for the first two issues. So we suggest you first follow the troubleshooting tips below and refer to our article “How to Troubleshoot a Furnace Blowing Cold Air” for additional help.
If after all this you’re still getting cold air, you’ll need to get help from a professional.
Troubleshoot for bad thermostat settings
- Make sure your thermostat is set to HEAT and the fan is set to AUTO. If your fan is set to ON, it will run constantly, even when your furnace isn’t going through a heating cycle. And when the furnace isn’t actually heating, the air that the fan blows out of your system will be cold.
Troubleshoot for low airflow
- Check and change the air filter. A dirty air filter reduces the amount of air your furnace can “breathe” in and pass over the heat exchanger. And that causes the heat exchanger to overheat and shut off. But when the burners shut off, the fan stays on to help cool them off, which means the air you feel coming from your vents will be cold, not warm. So always change your air filter when there’s a visible layer of dirt.
Problem #3: My gas furnace is turning on/off frequently
3 issues that cause your furnace to turn on and off constantly include:
- Poorly placed thermostat or a broken thermostat
- An oversized furnace
The only issue you can try to solve on your own is an overheating furnace. If you have thermostat problems or if your furnace is too big for your home, you’ll need help from a professional.
Let’s look at some DIY steps to fix an overheating furnace…
Troubleshoot an overheating furnace
- Check for a clogged filter. Again, a dirty filter basically “suffocates” your system. And when your heat exchanger is deprived of cool air, it overheats and shuts off quickly. And once the burners cool off, the furnace kicks back on just to repeat the process over again. So check for a clogged filter and replace it if needed.
Have furnace problems you can’t solve on your own? Ask an ATL tech
If you’ve tried our troubleshooting tips above but you’re still having furnace issues, we’re here to help.
Just schedule your appointment with us today and we’ll send you an experienced and helpful tech.