You’re sitting at home and relaxing while binging the latest crime drama on Netflix. That’s until you start to realise something — you’ve been shivering for more than a couple of minutes and need to put your hoodie or sweater on. Maybe even a blanket on top. One major reason could be that your furnace stopped heating your home and is now blowing cold air.
Another could be you don’t have a furnace in the first place and that’s not uncommon as some people aren’t even aware what they are. However, they are crucial for heating buildings and homes, especially during the harsh winter time in the Greater Toronto Area. Furnaces are prone to break especially during the winter, because furnace works on using all the resources to heat the whole house. Having said that, it’s crucially to be extremely cautions during this period. Nobody wants to stuck in the cold house in the middle of the harsh winter. Here is a guide on all you need to know about furnaces and the common problems faced.
To start, what is a furnace?
A furnace is a heating device used to heat air in homes and commercial buildings. There are four main types of furnaces consisting of natural gas, oil, electric and propane. The most common type are natural gas furnaces where natural gas or propane is ignited in a burner. The resulting heat is transferred to the air through the ducts and is distributed throughout the home or building. They are a popular choice given how economical and efficient they are and it is possible you already have one in your home.
If you don’t have a furnace, however, it is seriously worth investing in one. After all, we know how brutal the winter can be in Canada and why freeze or overdress in your own home when you can have a nice, heated and cozy home to relax and sleep in?
Not only that — most furnaces automatically adjust their temperatures depending on the overall temperature of your home so you don’t need to worry about sweating indoors either. That said, furnaces are not perfect and there are many common issues people deal with on a regular basis.
Firstly, there is general wear and tear, especially if you’ve been using one for many years. That also becomes a bigger problem if your furnace has had a major lack of regular maintenance. Regular maintenance could fix issues down the line such as cracked heat exchangers or your furnace not working entirely so it’s highly important to not just install a furnace and leave it as is. Most experts recommend to do a furnace maintenance at least 1 time per year in fall before winter come, so you can be sure that you won’t have any issues with your furnace the whole cold season.
According to Smile HVAC owner Genadi Kahanovich: “It is also important to clean the filters on your furnace. The dirtier they are, the harder your furnace will be working to provide heat. This, in turn, leads to potential damage as well as higher energy costs.” Most technicians agree that you should change your furnace filters every 3 months. However, you may need to do it more often if you have pets in the house, you smoke in the house or there a lot of dust in your house. The rule is, the cleaner your place is, less often you need to replace your furnace filters.
Sometimes, your furnace may not even start. This could be because your circuit breaker is off or the wiring is short in the furnace. The opposite could happen where your furnace turns on but keeps shutting off soon after. This could be because of your thermostat or other issues such as your flame sensor not working. If that is the case, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
Other common issues include a malfunctioning thermostat, loud noises and frequent cycling between turning on and off. However, let’s look at one of the prime problems as mentioned earlier — your furnace blowing cold air.
Your furnace is supposed to heat up your home and instead, it’s making it even colder for you by blowing cold air. There can be many reasons for this. It can be simple thermostat issues for one. Your thermostat might have the wrong setting or maybe someone may have put the fan setting on which means no heat. It’s also possible that your thermostat is low on battery which is affecting its ability to put on a heated setting so make sure to replace it with new ones.
As mentioned earlier, there are other types of furnaces and if you are using an oil furnace, it could also be that it’s out of fuel. If it’s not refuelled, it will just keep circulating cold air.
There could also be holes in your ducts which result in all your hot air leaking through. As a result, you get cold air instead of heat. This issue can be fixed by checking and repairing the ducts but iit is best to have an expert inspect it for you to fully make sure the issue is completely dealt with.
Many furnace issues are linked with each other so your furnace blowing cold air can also be a result of dirty filters or a cracked heat exchanger to name a few. You could also have an extinguished pilot light which can be a bit complicated to relight on your own. Even worse, you could have a faulty gas valve.
If you are comfortable fixing those issues on your own, you can certainly go for it. Otherwise, it is always best to call the HVAC professionals who can fix all these issues and check for other potential ones as well. It’s always better to call professional HVAC technician. If you don’t have enough knowledge about furnaces, you can potentially damage your furnace and it will impossible to repair later even using the warranty from the manufacturer.