How To Troubleshoot Common Winter Furnace Problems

All homeowners should learn simple furnace troubleshooting skills. They are highly useful during the coming cold months when you rely on your furnace for home heating. Furnaces are generally durable, but they aren’t invincible. These tough systems will eventually show problems that impact your home’s comfort and safety. If you aren’t a licensed HVAC contractor, you can still do several furnace troubleshooting methods. However, a DIY furnace repair should not be an option.

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Furnace Troubleshooting Tips For Every Homeowner

home heatingRead on to learn about some standard furnace troubleshooting methods that each homeowner can do.

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Lack Of Furnace Maintenance

Furnaces work hard during the cold season. Unfortunately, this means that heating units are more likely to break down from component damage and wear and tear if they do not receive regular maintenance. Regular upkeep is relatively simple. An efficient furnace is certainly achievable through a combination of troubleshooting, yearly maintenance, and furnace repair when and where needed by a qualified HVAC company. Don’t let the problem worsen before you call a certified HVAC technician. It may be too late by that time, and the issues may be irreparable or too expensive to repair.

Troubleshooting Tip: Hire a professional HVAC technician to check and maintain your unit at least once a year.


Malfunctioning Thermostat

You have a faulty or damaged thermostat if the furnace won’t switch on when using this component. This is typically easy to troubleshoot and doesn’t tend to be expensive (unless the thermostat requires an upgrade or replacement). It may have dead batteries if the thermostat doesn’t show any temperature readings.

Troubleshooting Tip: Do a thermostat reset by switching the furnace on and off or completely shutting off the unit’s power. Replace old batteries with new ones every now and then. Have an HVAC professional check the unit if these methods fail.

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Dirty Furnace Filter

A common problem you will encounter when performing gas furnace troubleshooting is a dirty filter. Air filters catch air particles that circulate throughout your home. This way, you can be sure that the air is clean and safe. Air filters accumulate dirt, dust, and debris as time passes, making them clogged and less efficient.

Troubleshooting Tip: Conduct monthly filter checks. Take the filter out and clean or replace it when you notice it’s dirty as a way to improve your indoor air quality.


Electric Ignition Or Pilot Control Problems

An electrical issue may be the reason behind the problem with the electric ignition. Check the pilot. The furnace cannot heat your home if the pilot is out. If your furnace has an electronic igniter, don’t light it manually. Do so only if the furnace has power, and ensure that you follow the re-lighting process as stated in the owner’s manual.

Troubleshooting Tip: Examine the circuit breaker. Reset it if it tripped, then check the unit again. Find any drafts or clogs as well. Call your local, trusted HVAC technician immediately if the pilot still won’t relight.

The Furnace Blows Cold Air

image of a homeowner in front of space heater depicting furnace blowing cold air

Several likely causes result in a furnace that doesn’t generate warm air. Some of these causes are a clogged filter, incorrect temperature setting, pilot light going out, and no power or gas. Another reason is that the furnace may have inadequate capacity for the space it needs to heat.

Troubleshooting Tip: Call a certified HVAC company to determine the furnace sizing. You need to upgrade the unit if it is too small. Clean or replace the air filter, ensure the thermostat has the right settings, and check the pilot light. Check the power and fuel as well.

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Related Article: Why Are My Rooms Heating Unevenly?

Furnace Is Frequently Cycling

Short cycling is when your furnace turns on or off frequently. This malfunction is noticeable because it is characterized by short and continuous bursts of activity. It can happen because of dirty air filters, incorrect furnace size, overheating, and inaccurate temperature reading.

Troubleshooting Tip: Inspect the thermostat to ensure it works correctly or if there is any damage. A thermostat that receives direct heat or light from an external source, like a stove or the sun, will give the wrong temperature reading. Contact your local, trusted HVAC technician to ensure you have the right-sized furnace in your home. Call them immediately if the furnace has a damaged heat exchanger.


Furnace Blower Continuously Runs

An issue with the limit switch may be why a furnace blower keeps running when it should stop. Some models allow the fan limit switch to be switched off manually. If your unit is like this, check the switch to see if it is in manual or automatic position. Make the correct adjustments as needed.

Troubleshooting Tip: The fan will stop constantly running when you leave the limit switch at the automatic setting. However, a licensed HVAC contractor must check the unit to see if it has a damaged limit switch.

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Furnace Produces Unusual Noises Or Smells

image of a homeowner covering ears due to furnace making noise

Certain noises your furnace produces are warning sounds that shouldn’t be ignored. These include screeching, booming, clicking, and rattling noises. It can also point to a problem if it generates an unusual odor.

Troubleshooting Tip: Check the air filters if there is an airflow issue. There could be a blockage in the airflow. Do not try to repair a clogged burner or a mechanical problem. Call a professional heating technician to help you instead.


Homeowners should know how to conduct simple furnace troubleshooting methods. They can do this safely if they are armed with the correct information. Therefore, it is crucial that you understand how your furnace operates and what you can safely do. Some problems may not even need a professional. Having a better understanding of your furnace means it can work more efficiently for you.

Tevis Energy’s sister company, Modern Comfort, performs HVAC installations, repairs, replacements, tune-ups, and more. Our technicians can provide you with expert HVAC services to ensure that your system provides you with the comfort and efficiency you deserve. Call now to schedule an appointment.

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Call Tevis Energy For Furnace Services

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For all your HVAC service needs in the area, be sure to call Tevis Energy. We have the best professionally certified technicians who can perform high-quality heating and cooling services, including furnace tune-ups, boiler replacements, air conditioner installations, and more. All our friendly techs are knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced in servicing any HVAC system accurately.

Do you need to repair or replace your heating system? No worries. You are in capable hands with Tevis Energy. We guarantee highly competitive repair and replacement rates in the area. We can recommend the best replacement system for your home within your budget. As always, your satisfaction is our priority. Give Tevis Energy a call today to book an appointment and avail of our free, in-home estimate. Click here to view our service area.

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