What is the deal with your furnace, anyway?

You hear that bad boy click and clack away, sounding like it’s about to do something but then, nothing. Silence.  And even worse than that, No Heat? 

As if people aren’t hard enough to read, now it seems like your furnace is causing trouble. What gives?

If you are wondering if this is just part of a furnace’s process or if there is something genuinely wrong that needs your attention, here are some things to consider: 

Does your furnace seem to struggle Kicking On or Staying On?

A furnace not kicking on, especially in the middle of one of our cold Canadian winters, can put almost anybody into a full-blown panic.

If your furnace requires a lengthy time to kick on, or it kicks on but it does not stay on, it generally means the furnace has failed to ignite

But why is the furnace failing to ignite? 

This failing to ignite could be caused by things such as a damaged thermostat, defective wiring, or an ignition problem could be to blame. In some cases, there’s trouble with the motor. 

A furnace that has trouble kicking on does not correct itself and needs service, by you or a hired technician.

If you are hesitant to call your HVAC technician, here are some ways to troubleshoot the problem on your own.  

If you hear the furnace trying to light (ignite) or hear the blower running but aren’t getting any heat, then you can skip this step, because you have power. If not, its possible the issue is with power.   Check the following:

  1. Did a breaker trip? Breakers are often clearly marked, and this can be a quick and painless fix. Check your circuit breaker panel to make sure all switches for your HVAC system are set to “ON”
  2. Next, check your thermostat. If your furnace isn’t turning on, its possible the thermostat has reset or has faulty programming. Check your thermostat for an error code. 
  3. Is the service switch at the furnace on? (Most units have this mounted to the furnace or ceiling just above)
  4. Is the little red light on the furnace’s circuit board on? (Most modern furnaces have an indicator light to tell you it’s getting power, and if you’re lucky, tell you what might be wrong)

Now It Is Time to Check Your Air Filters

Your gas furnace burns a mixture of air and natural gas. If the air in your system is not flowing because of a dirty or clogged air filter, it cannot produce the needed amount of gas and air mixture. When the furnace’s igniter doesn’t get air, your system will not ignite.

And Finally, check your Ignition Source

You can look under your furnace to see if the igniter glows when your furnace tries to start up. The clicking noise you hear is your system trying to turn on. Repeated clicking in small intervals usually means your igniter is not coming on and hence, not working.

If there is a flame and the flame sensor can’t detect it, this prevents the furnace from firing up and if not fixed, it can create wear and tear on other parts in your furnace. Not only will this negatively affect your furnace efficiency, over time, it will create additional problems and increased repair costs. 

If the furnace flame sensor is dirty, it will need to be cleaned. This involves turning off the furnace, removing the sensor (very gently), cleaning it off, replacing it and double-checking the results.  Depending on your level of skill, patience & desire, you may be able to fix this problem yourself. 

These common checks sometimes correct the issue.  But, if the problem persists, the issue may be caused by the furnace motor or wiring.  In this case, it is recommended you call a professional furnace contractor to service your furnace and not attempt to resolve the issue on your own.

Please be advised that working on a furnace while the gas is on can be dangerous. If you are not comfortable with assuming some of the risks of cleaning DIY, you can always contact a trusted, experienced technician to do this for you. 

For any and all your furnace maintenance, repair and replacement needs, please Call us at 647-921-3810 or email us at syoudowitch@airinmotion.ca.


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