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Common Furnace Problems

Common Furnace Problems

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During these cold winter months, furnace problems can be very common. The freezing temperatures and snow can be unbearable if you do not maintain your furnace properly. The good thing about this article is that it will have common furnace problems and if it is possible, how to avoid them.

A furnace work through the ducts in your house just like a full air conditioning system during the summer. It will bring in cold air from the ducts and warm it up with the heat exchanger. Then finish by blowing it out into the ducts to distribute to the house. Once the house reaches the desired temperature then the furnace will stop.


The filter in your furnace regulates the air coming in and out. To function properly there can’t be any gunk coming into the furnace, so that is where the filter stops it all. The air coming in helps the furnace function, and with the filter either being clogged or extremely dirty, the furnace will not be able to do its job. To properly use a filter, you should check it often and replace it when dirty or quarterly (every 3 months).

How Old is Your Furnace?

Find out from the homeowner before you or read the label on the furnace to find how old your furnace is. Your furnace should not be over 20 years old if not taken care of properly. The life span of one furnace is 15-20 years, if the maintenance is done annually, it can last a little longer. But it is almost impossible for it to last more than 40 years. Make sure that you are within the healthy range of 15-20 or consider budgeting for a new one.


Airflow is essential for the proper function of a furnace. Without this, it can damage the system and be unhealthy for you to breathe. But you may also consider how you or the person who installed the furnace filter if it was done correctly. You may have not known that there was a wrong way to install a furnace filter, but there is. There will be an arrow on the side of the filter, and this should always be pointing towards the furnace.


There are obvious signs that your thermostat is not working. When your fan, which distributes the warm air to the house, is always running, this means that your thermostat is broken. Another sign is that it has completely stopped working or the temperature doesn’t match the room temperature. To troubleshoot this problem by yourself you can clean the inside of the thermostat and look for any loose wires. Tighten and clean everything up and this may cure the problem. But if anything looks corroded then you should budget to buy a new thermostat.

Pilot Control (flame) Light

If you have a traditional standing pilot light then you may have these problems. The pilot might have been blown out by a draft of wind or is not lighting consistently because of dirt in the intake valve. To make sure that you are having a healthy flame in your furnace, you should look for bright blue flames. If it is orange or yellow, this means that there is not enough oxygen in the furnace. To fix the problem you might change the filter. The best thing you can do for your furnace and pilot light is to have cleaning maintenance done to it regularly to prohibit dirt from getting into the little devices that help properly function the furnace.

Heat Exchanger

The most common problem with the heat exchanger is a clogged or dirty filter. Signs that your heat exchanger has cracked or has a problem are White soot build-up around the furnace, strange smells, cracks, rattling and weird noises, or carbon monoxide. It is important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home just in case your furnace leaks some. This is caused because the maintenance checks and cleaning have not been kept up.


Maintenance is the one thing that needs to be done on your furnace to extend its life span and to keep your home safe from harmful gases and the improper function of your furnace. A furnace warranty is important because at some point or another you will have to have something fixed on it, and this ensures that you receive the correct maintenance and save money for buying it beforehand. Your furnace needs one turn-up and maintenance check each year by a professional.

Maintenance includes:

  • Furnace inspection
  • Furnace cleaning

Filters need to be replaced every 1-3 months for 1–2-inch filters and 6-9 months for every 3–4-inch filter.

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