What’s Wrong with My Gas Furnace?

Propane flame inside of gas boiler furnace

What Can Cause a Furnace to Stop Working?

What’s wrong with my gas furnace? There are a number of reasons why a furnace would stop working, and while it’s a disappointing situation, there is invariably a solution. Let’s go over them briefly, and review. Lack of maintenance for your furnace ticks a fair few of the boxes. Make sure that the outside of your furnace is kept tidy, and that your air filter has been changed recently. Air filters should optimally be changed every ninety days. One of the other reasons why your furnace might not be working is due to wear and tear. An older furnace will ostensibly have more problems than a newer one.

The electric ignition could be faulty, or there might be a pilot control problem. Consult with a trusted heating and cooling specialist to diagnose problems inside the heater before tickering with your furnace yourself. Another reason why your furnace isn’t working is ostensibly because you have a malfunctioning thermostat. If you notice that your furnace doesn’t produce any heat, check the battery level in the thermostat. In some models, merely replacing the battery will do the trick.

What does it Mean When a Furnace is Short Cycling?

When your furnace is short cycling, or turning on and off frequently, there is a serious problem. The ramifications of your furnace short cycling is a higher energy bill and harm to your furnace. Four main reason why your furnace is short cycling is because:

  1. Dirty air filter. Measure the dimensions of your current air filter (there should be numbers on the side of the filter (length x width x depth) and find a replacement filter at your local hardware store.
  2. A misplaced thermostat. Have a trusted heating and cooling professional evaluate your thermostat. If your thermostat is located too close to a heat source, it will register the heat and turn off the furnace before the entire house is at an even temperature.
  3. A corroded flame sensor. A corroded or dirty flame sensor will diminish your furnaces capacity to function properly. The purpose of a flame sensor is to let the system know if there’s a flame when the gas valve is open. When the flame sensor is dirty or corroded, it won’t register the flame and your system will shut down. Call a profession to repair this issue.
  4. Blocked exhaust vents. Also known as a flue pipe, when an exhaust vent is blocked, it can cause short cycling. If debris from outside like sticks, leaves, or a bird nest blocks the pipe, hot gases will build up in the furnace and cause it to overheat.

How Long Should It Take for a Furnace to Ignite?

A furnace should start up within five minutes of the thermostat being turned on. There are no exceptions to this rule. If the furnace takes as long as fifteen minutes, there is a problem with the furnace. When the furnace takes longer than five minutes to ignite, the furnace is in the process of trying to ignite, failing, and then trying again.

Repairman vacuuming inside of a gas furnace during a cleaning.

What Would Cause a Gas Furnace Not to Ignite?

There are a number of reasons why a system would not ignite. Many of these reasons are especially applicable if you are returning to your residence after a long absence. Let’s go over them:

  • The thermostat. Troubleshoot the thermostat by making sure the thermostat is set to heat and that the temperature your thermostat is set to is accurate for your needs.
  • The gas line. Verify that that gas is turned on. If you are uncertain, there is a gas shut-off valve located outside your home. For a more localized solution, try turning on one of your gas appliances inside your home, such as your gas stove.
  • The furnace. Odd as it may sound, the switch inside your furnace may have been accidentally turned off. Check this switch to be sure it is in the ‘on’ position. Even if you have a gas system, your furnace uses electricity, and the electricity must be turned on. Located by the furnace will be a power disconnect switch. You can also check the breaker to make sure the power to the furnace has not been tripped.

How Do I Know If My Furnace is Working Correctly?

Make sure your furnace is quiet, odorless, in good condition, clean, and operating efficiently. There are a couple of indicators of this. The furnace will be soundless, or nearly. No strange odors, such as sulfur, or that of rotten eggs, can be smelled. The furnace itself, and the surrounding area, are clean and free of dust. You will be able to tell if your furnace is operating efficiently by how high your energy bill is. If you have a relatively low energy bill and do not see extreme fluctuations, this is an indicator of good efficiency.

Gas Furnace Is Loud

If your gas furnace is loud, you have a problem. Pings, pops, rumbles, and screeches are not sounds that you’d hear from a furnace that is running with high efficiency. If you are routinely hearing these sounds, it is time to have a professional step in and diagnose your furnace.

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Gas Furnace is Not Kicking On

If your gas furnace is not kicking on, one of the possible reasons why is due to an insufficient gas supply. Check the gas valve to ensure that the gas valve is turned fully on so that the furnace has a sufficient supply of gas to fire up the system. Other possible issues include making sure the pilot light is lit, that the electricity is switched on, and that your thermostat has been evaluated for any issues, including battery replacement. Find out what gas furnace repair entails.

Gas Furnace Cleaning

Gas furnace cleaning is a timely and methodical process involving a keen eye and careful maneuvering. Hiring a professional to accomplish this task is not out of the question. Many HVAC companies offer a gas furnace maintenance service, wherein they will clean your air ducts in addition to servicing your gas furnace. Call our professionals at 412-561-3624 to receive more information.

Gas Furnace Filter

There is a great variety of air filters out there that offer increasing levels of allergen prevention and fresh air quality. Ultimately, the most important factors concerning replacing your gas furnace filter are procuring the right dimensions for your furnace, and replacing said filter every ninety days. You can find the dimensions for your replacement air filter on your current, dirty air filter. Once you have these dimensions written down, head over to your local hardware store, and select a filter. While you may desire an expensive air filter that guarantees high levels of filtration, a cheaper or bargain level air filter nonetheless works in such a scenario. The professionals at Patrick E. Chase Plumbing & Heating will be happy to resolve all your gas furnace needs in the Pittsburgh, PA area. Call us today! 412-561-3624