Updated for 2021
Your furnace is a very necessary appliance, but it’s often misunderstood. Just about everyone’s looked at their furnace sometime and asked,
“Why isn’t it working? How often do I have to get it cleaned? When should I kick it to the curb?”
Here are your seven most common furnace questions, with our expert answers:
1. Why Is My Furnace Beeping?
When your furnace starts beeping at you constantly, it’s trying to tell you something’s wrong. The same goes for other unusual, loud furnace noises. So please listen!
Sometimes, all you’ll need to do is change or clean the air filter. Before troubleshooting, turn off your furnace as a precaution. Then read the owner’s manual.
If the problem seems more complex than an air filter, don’t attempt your own furnace repair — a furnace is too dangerous for amateur DIY! Instead, call us at Ottawa Home Services. We’ll pinpoint the trouble source and fix it for you, safely and effectively.
2. Why Is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air Instead of Heat?
In the middle of winter, a furnace blowing cold air is the last thing you want. Find out possible reasons behind this chilly problem (so you can make it stop!).
First, your thermostat could be accidentally set to ON. That means the blower fan will continuously run, even when your furnace isn’t heating. The result? Cold air. Easy to solve — just flip the setting to AUTO.
A second cause might be your furnace overheating. When it gets too hot, the limit switch automatically shuts down the heat for safety. Meanwhile, the blower fan stays on to cool the furnace, causing you to feel gusts of cold air. Most often, a furnace overheats because a clogged filter has restricted the airflow. Once again, changing the filter may be the solution. If that doesn’t work, though, it’s time to call in the pros.
3. When Should I Change My Furnace Filter?
Most homeowners have a vague idea that they need to change the filter occasionally. However, do you know how often your furnace filter needs changing?
Every 90 days — at least. Check the filter once a month to see whether it looks greyish and dusty. If so, change it (for a disposable filter) or clean it (for a permanent filter).
This way, you’ll help keep your furnace running efficiently and prevent a potential breakdown.
4. Why Is My Furnace Turning On and Off?
It’s usual for a furnace to cycle on and off about 3-8 times per hour. A furnace that keeps shutting off more than that is not normal, though.
Often the frequent cycling is due to restricted airflow. Make sure that your furnace filter is clean and that at least some of the heating vents are open.
Another culprit might be your thermostat. Check that it’s set to ON, and that the temperature setting is not too low.
Also, investigate whether the thermostat is communicating properly with your furnace. You can do this by adjusting the thermostat to “heat” while a family member stands at the furnace. Slowly raise the heat of the thermostat. As that’s happening, your furnace should make an emitting sound. If the furnace is silent, the thermostat is not communicating and needs to be fixed.
Finally, ensure the thermostat is positioned in a spot that isn’t too hot so that it won’t “misread” the temperature of your room.
5. What Do I Do When My Furnace Is Leaking?
There are a number of reasons why your furnace could be leaking water — none of them good news. Furnace leakage might be due to a clogged or damaged condensate line or a broken condensate pump. It might even be caused by another component of your HVAC system, not by the furnace at all. In any of these scenarios, you’ll need professional repair.
If you see the furnace leaking, your first action is to turn off the thermostat, the furnace switch, and the breaker. Then contact Ottawa Home Services for emergency repair. After that, clean up the liquid, with the power still safely off. Water and electricity are two items you do NOT want to mix.
6. How Often Should You Clean Your Furnace?
Surprisingly, many folks don’t think about cleaning their furnace on a regular basis. But your furnace can become choked with dust and debris over time, particularly if you own a furry pet or have recently done home renovations.
The nominal charge for furnace cleaning is well worth it. Annual maintenance will keep this hardworking home appliance in good shape and working longer. It will also help protect your family from unhealthy indoor air and even deadly carbon monoxide emissions. Finally, furnace cleaning can reduce your energy costs.
7. Should I Repair or Replace My Furnace?
When faced with a furnace breakdown, consider whether you’ll be better off with furnace repair or replacement. Two main factors play a part here.
First, bear in mind that a furnace will generally last 10-20 years in Canada’s harsh climate… and like your car, it depreciates over time. If your furnace is approaching this age, it’s probably time to start shopping around for a new one.
Second, consider the estimated repair bill. For an older furnace, it’s just not worth investing in expensive repairs. You’ll be better off installing a new, problem-free furnace that boosts your energy efficiency (and lowers your monthly fuel costs).
Ask the Furnace Repair and Replacement Experts
For every type of furnace question, contact Ottawa Home Services. We’ll professionally troubleshoot your issue and recommend the best action — whether it’s furnace repair or installation.