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How To Troubleshoot 5 Common Furnace Problems

furnace repair massachusettsEvery year a furnace ages, the likelihood of encountering a problem with it becomes greater (especially if you skip routine annual maintenance). Here are some of the more common heating problems you’re likely to encounter in the months ahead, and what to do to solve them:

  1. Frequent cycling – If you notice your furnace turning on and off (cycling) more than usual, it could indicate one of several problems, including a dirty air filter or faulty thermostat. Check both, changing them if needed; if cycling continues, contact us for service.
  2. Carbon monoxide leaks – Carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless, odorless, and potentially deadly – and carbon monoxide leaks are most common in heating systems that are 10 to 15 years old. If your equipment is nearing or has past that age, contact us for service. Be sure to install carbon monoxide detectors at every level of your house and test them periodically; if your CO detector sounds, leave the house and contact us immediately!
  3. Dry Air – Excessively dry air can be uncomfortable, especially for people with respiratory issues; it can also damage furniture, artwork, and even expensive electronics. To fix a dry air problem, consider adding a whole house humidifier to your HVAC system – your house will feel cozier, and you won’t have to replace those antiques.
  4. Cold spots and drafts – Inconsistent heating from room to room can have two sources: a poorly functioning heating system or the house itself (or both). Simple weatherization measures like caulking, weather stripping and door sweeps will help tame drafts, as will adding insulation to walls and floors that abut unconditioned spaces.

    If these weatherization measures don’t solve the problem, you could have an issue with a dirty filter, dirty vents, or dirty/damaged coils. As a first step, check the filter and get your heating system cleaned (a cleaning should be included in your annual tune-up). If the problem continues to exist, contact us for service.

  5. No heat – If your furnace won’t start at all, please take these six steps before you call for service:
    • Check to see if you have enough propane or heating oil.
    • Make sure all power switches are in the “on” or “start” position, and that your circuit breaker has not been tripped.
    • Make sure the temperature on your thermostat is set at least five degrees above the current room temperature, and the system switch is on the HEAT or AUTO position. The fan switch should be set to ON for continuous airflow or AUTO. Make sure, too, that the batteries in your thermostat are fresh.
    • Check the pilot light, if your equipment has one.
    • If you have a forced (or warm) air system (a furnace with ductwork), check the air filter if airflow from your vent seems low; also make sure that vents are not blocked.
    • If you have an oil-fired system, reset the red burner switch once; doing it more than once may flood your system with oil.

Did you know that an old furnace could lose 30 percent efficiency or more over its lifetime? If your heating equipment is 12-15 years old or more, consider an upgrade – especially if a costly repair is on the horizon. Contact W.H. Riley today to get a FREE, no obligation estimate on furnace installation in southeastern Massachusetts.