You’ve enjoyed living comfortably in your home, but a furnace problem is keeping your family from staying warm. You’ll need to identify if the furnace is working in short cycles or whether there is damage to the heat exchanger. You also need to know that too much heat is as bad as too little. Your furnace issues need addressing, so keep reading so you can learn how to diagnose a furnace problem in your home.
Check the thermostat settings for a furnace that works in short cycles
Either damaged sensors or faulty connections can interfere with the temperature readings on your thermostat. The result is a furnace that either produces less heat than needed or heats in short cycles. Checking for a damaged thermostat can help you diagnose a furnace problem well before you start furnace repair. You may also notice the problem when you get your utility bills in the mail.
A damaged thermostat can also cause a furnace to stop running early. The problem arises because the furnace receives information that the home is heating sufficiently. Meanwhile, frequent use of the thermostat will deplete the thermostat battery faster. Check your thermostat for damage or dysfunction when diagnosing a furnace that won’t start or doesn’t heat your home correctly.
Check for clogged air filters if your heat exchanger isn’t working
Clogged air filters reduce airflow leading to noticeable changes in your furnace’s heating capabilities. Warm or cool air passes through the filters before exiting through the vents. But if you notice your allergy symptoms worsening, your furnace’s air filters may need to be changed. Aim for 90 days to prevent the buildup of pet dander, dirt, and dust.
To diagnose clogged air filters, look for damage to the heat exchanger. Your heat exchanger stops toxic gases from getting into the blower. But the resulting stress cracks from overheating allow unhealthy combustion and gas fumes to contaminate the air. Restricted air filters cause your heat exchanger to overheat and switch off. A damaged heat exchanger is a clear sign your air filters are clogged.
Check the pilot light or electronic ignition if you notice excessive heating cycles
For older models, the pilot light is the blue flame near the bottom of the furnace, which works as an ignition source. The flame should always be blue and not yellow to show there is enough oxygen in the flame. A yellow flame could be a sign of dirt inside the pilot burner. Check for a nearby draft if you notice the pilot light flickering. For safety, consider hiring an HVAC technician to help with your furnace if you see problems with the pilot light.
Problems at the ignition source notably lead to excessive heating in your home. Newer models mostly use a hot surface ignition to start the furnace. Hot surface ignitions have a ceramic fork with a plastic base that heats when the thermostat signals for heat. If your furnace won’t start, the blower keeps running, or you notice frequent heating cycles, check for signs of damage on the igniter or an igniter that glows but doesn’t light. A furnace that uses a hot surface ignition may only last several years, and damage could be detrimental to the furnace’s ability to function.
Diagnose furnace problems regularly to ensure living at home is as comfortable as possible. If you can determine whether your furnace is overheating or short-cycling, you’ll know how to diagnose the furnace problem. Check your furnace air filters and the thermostat while looking to see if the heat exchanger is damaged. If you notice your pilot light is the wrong color or your hot surface igniter won’t start, hiring a furnace repair expert may be one step you’ll want to take.