How many pieces of machinery can you think of that run almost constantly every day, and still last for decades? Not many! Yet your heating and cooling systems continue to work each day, ensuring that your home is kept cozy for your pleasure. Even the newest, most energy efficient heater installation however, still needs consistent care to last for its full lifetime.
Your gas furnace is no exception. Heavy, extended use combined with other challenges can prevent your appliance from reaching its full potential. Today, we’ll be talking about hazards that can cause malfunctions in your heating system, then we’ll outline a couple basic steps homeowners can utilize in gas furnace repair! These will help you diagnose problems faster, and let you know when it’s time to call your local HVAC technician.
What Causes a Gas Furnace to Stop Working?
First, you need to understand that your furnace has several built in safety mechanisms to shut itself off in the event of a malfunction. Without these features, your house could burn down or be filled with lethal carbon monoxide. If your heater can turn on but shuts off too soon, it’s likely that a safety mechanism is being activated. You just need to know which one.
Common Furnace Problems Include
- Obstructed Exhaust Vents
- Clogged Air Filters
- Faulty or Poorly Placed Thermostats
- Malfunctioning Flame Sensors
- Settings Error (Power, Gas Supply)
- Tripped Circuit and Motor Switches
One of the most frequently encountered problems is an overheated furnace caused by a clogged air filter. You know how your car starts to shut down when the engine overheats? Your furnace reacts to excess heat the same way. A sensor detects the heat and turns off the system. Changing out your furnace’s air filter on a regular basis not only helps you keep your system working, it also allows for maximum efficiency.
Blockage can affect other parts of your heating system too, such as duct work and exhaust vents. If your ducts become congested, it can cause a strain on your hardware and restrict the even flow of heat to certain rooms. Obstructed exhaust vents (either in the chimney or on the roof) while direct hot exhaust back down to the furnace, where the excess heat will cause a shutdown.
Degraded sensors can also be an active obstacle for your furnace. The flame sensor for instance, which protects your home against carbon monoxide poisoning, can become rusted and take faulty readings. As a result, it doesn’t detect the flame which consumes the natural gas to heat your home. So it shuts everything down.
Other common issues that we see at Shanco Heating & Air are tripped circuits. Sometimes the breaker is tripped during operation and simply needs to be turned back on. There’s also the push-in switch next to the blower motor that deactivates the system when the cover panel is opened. Make sure that switch is fully depressed. Finally, make sure that the power and gas to your furnace is been turned back on each time you examine the interior.
Gas Furnace Troubleshooting
Below, we’ll break down a couple of the most common questions we get about furnace operation. We’ll be focusing on information that we haven’t covered yet. If you have any additional questions about gas furnace repair that aren’t mentioned here, feel free to give us a call at (208) 629-3335.
Why is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?
There are three typically reasons for this. The first and simplest possibility is that your fan is set to “ON” instead of “AUTO” meaning that it continues to blow air even when your furnace isn’t heating that air.
The second potential explanation is a blown out pilot light. This is something you can easily check and confirm. If the pilot light is out, try cleaning out the area around it and make sure the gas valve is open. Try relighting the pilot light. If it won’t stay lit, call a professional.
Finally, we mentioned earlier that the furnace turns off when it overheats. Your fan continues to blow while the furnace cools back down, meaning it may circulate some cold air in the meantime. Check out your filter, exhaust vent, and ducts for potential blockage.
How Do You Reset a Furnace Blower?
Start by deactivating the furnace’s power at your circuit breaker. Next, open the compartment which houses the blower motor, paying special care not to burn your fingers. The compartment may be hot from frequent use. There should be a yellow or red reset button located on the side or back of the motor. Press the button, replace the cover to the compartment and restore the power.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does a Gas Furnace Last?
Furnaces will typically last from 20 to 25 years. That number assumes proper maintenance and occasional gas furnace repair. Without this basic care, your system will likely not last that long. With exceptional attention, your heating system could last years longer.
How Long Does a Furnace Heat Exchanger Last?
The heat exchanger is one of the most integral and expensive parts of the furnace. Because replacing it is so costly, many homeowners choose to replace the entire unit rather than just the exchanger. Steel exchangers last anywhere from 15 to 25 years, while cast iron versions may last as long as 40 years.
Where Can I Find Gas Furnace Repair Parts?
Some HVAC contractors will supply parts. A good number of them however, only supply the parts as part of an installation service. Your best bet is to contact your furnace manufacturer’s nearest heating equipment supply stores.
Schedule Your Gas Furnace Repair!
If you’d like to learn more about caring for your furnace, or if you’d like to schedule a service visit for your home, call the Shanco Heating & Air team at (208) 629-3335 today! We provide lasting solutions for all your Boise, ID gas furnace repair needs.