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The 6 Most Common Heating Repairs And What To Do

Posted by Kelly on Feb 11, 2016 11:22:21 AM

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Dealing with a furnace repair may sound like a nightmare. Most people aren’t HVAC experts, and many homeowners keep their home heating knowledge down to knowing how to work the thermostat and how to call their local HVAC company for repairs and maintenance. However, we’re here to help you on your journey to becoming more knowledgeable about your home’s heating – it is responsible for your comfort, after all. Here are the six most common heating repairs and what you should do if they happen to you. 

Problem 1: Overheating

Your furnace may stop working because it’s taking too much energy to work properly, causing your whole system to overheat. Our resident expert, Minnesota Air technical support manager Keith Hill, says overheating is by far the number one problem, but it’s also the easiest to prevent and repair since it’s usually caused by a dirty filter. 

Solution: Change the filter to improve airflow.

Problem 2: Clogged Drain Lines

Keith says the second most common heating repair (on a 90% efficient furnace) would be the condensate drain lines backing up. This happens as dirt, debris, and soot caused a dirty furnace gets pushed into the drain lines. If you don’t regularly clean your system, this can happen.

Solution: Make sure you are getting basic maintenance done regularly to prevent a clogged drain line. 

Problem 3: Ignition System Trouble

If your furnace isn’t turning on, it could be trouble with the ignition system. After years of use, most mechanical parts have a certain lifespan that they will be good for. Keith says ignitors and sensors on your furnace have limited lifespans, so replacing these components proactively is a good idea.

Solution: Talk to a pro to change out the components.

“Due to the variations of the systems, check with your pro for frequency, but generally speaking, older style components should be replaced every four or five years. Newer, every nine or ten years,” says Keith.  

Problem 4: Blocked Intake Or Blocked Vent

Another issue that could prevent your furnace from working would be a blocked intake or vent. Keith says in sub-zero weather, it could be frost or snow that’s causing the blockage.

“On occasion it could be kids or critters,” he says. “Children putting things in the pipes protruding from the home or insects or birds making themselves at home.”

Solution: Inspections and maintenance will usually prevent this from becoming a problem.

Problem 5: Pressure Switch Fail

This is another mechanical component that can fail over time. Pressure switches, also called proving switches, can break because of lack of maintenance. According to repair site doityourself.com, the main function of the switch is to sense whether the combustion air blower is running. If it gets too dirty, it can stick or break, making your furnace non-functional. 

Solution: This requires a professional to fix the stuck switch or replace the component.

Problem 6: Blower Motor Failure

Keith says that blower motors may stop working due to bearing failure or overheating. Dirty filters or operating the furnace without a filter can be contributing factors to this failure, he says.

Solution: This would also be a repair best left to the pros, says Keith.

If you want to learn more about furnace repairs, their solutions, or what steps to take to fix them, we have a list of articles on our Stay Comfy Minnesota website that can help:

HVACWinterChecklist

Topics: HVAC