What Can Cause a Furnace to Stop Working?
How often have we repeated these words: “What can cause a furnace to stop working?” Typically, the furnace is very reliable in keeping you and your family comfortable during the cold Calgary winters. However, it is customary to start panicking when the furnace stops working at 2 AM with the outside temperature -30C. Why can’t the warm Chinook winds be around all the time? The issues can sometimes be straightforward to troubleshoot, while others can be very complicated. Before upgrading your furnace, check out the following common problems that cause furnaces to stop functioning. Our technicians put together the following tips to help in the troubleshooting process.
What Can Cause a Furnace to Stop Working?Is it time to replace your furnace? An efficient furnace is critical to keeping your home warm.
The thermostat setting causes the furnace to shut off prematurely.As you are aware, the thermostat controls the heating system operations. If the thermostat stops working, the furnace will not work. Following are three possible solutions:
- Check if the thermostat requires fresh batteries.
- Confirm that the breaker has not tripped
- Check the setting of the thermostat. Is the heat mode set to the on position? Is the temperature set above the room temperature to initiate the heating cycle?
The circuit breaker has flipped.If the circuit breaker has flipped, this cuts off the power traveling to the heating components of your system. If this is the case, reset the tripped breakers.
A clogged air filter.A clogged air filter restricts the airflow in your furnace, which can lead to problems such as overheating. You don’t need to wait for your local HVAC contractor to inspect your furnace. In case the filter is covered wholly with debris, replace it. Give it some humble time to cool off and come back to see if the furnace relights. Ever wondered how a gas furnace works?
Improperly positioned access panel.Modern furnaces have safety precautions and controls, which can cause the furnace to cease functioning. If the access panel is not attached to the unit properly, this can cause a furnace to stop working. Check the furnace’s exterior and verify if the panels are all appropriately placed in their respective positions.
Dirt and other items blocking airflow in the furnaceRugs, dirt, furniture, debris, among other various items, block the airflow in your furnace; this could cause problems such as overheating. You should:
- Clear the things stored around the furnace. Keep them six feet away.
- Check the system’s air filter, and in case they are dirty, you should be in a perfect position to replace them.
- Ensure that all the vents are open and unblocked to allow air circulation.
Burners are dirtyThe burners collect dust and dirt from time to time, thus reducing the heat output. Here are the steps to clean the burners:
- Ensure that the electricity at the breaker box is switched off and close off the gas valve that leads to the furnace.
- Remove the access panel to the combustion chamber and the small cabinet that encloses the system’s burner chamber.
- Ensure that you remove the metal clips to detach the burners.
- Use a soft brush and a vacuum to clean the debris from the surface of the burner.
- Replace all burners and re-attach the metal clips.
- Re-insert the access panels.
- Restore gas and electricity to the furnace.
The furnace is not well lubricated.If your furnace is not adequately lubricated, this will cause problems in time. One symptom is furnace noises, this is a sign that the motor bearings are not well lubricated. Inadequately lubricated bearing creates friction, which eventually shut your furnace down. Extend the life of your furnace by ensuring that your furnace is sufficiently lubricated. If your furnace is making noises, shut down the furnace and call a local HVAC professional immediately.
Furnace cycling on to off.Short cycling, caused by clogged filters and compromised airflow, is a problem that can result in severe damage. Solutions include:
- Replace the air filter
- Remove items blocking vents.
- Hire an HVAC contractor to diagnose the issue. For example, incorrectly sized components can cause short cycling.