5 Common Winter Furnace Problems and How to Fix Them

Pittsburgh winters can be rough, so if your furnace starts acting up, don’t leave yourself in the cold. Many things can go wrong from your furnace blowing cold air to just not turning on. We explore common furnace problems you may have this winter and how to fix them.

Rest assured that your HVAC system is in working order for winter with HVAC tune-ups from Schultheis Brothers. We make sure that your system is clean, functioning, and ready for each season. Regular maintenance checks or routine home maintenance can prevent some problems with your system.

1.) Your Furnace is Only Blowing Cold Air

If your furnace is only blowing cold air through your home, you want to make sure to find the root cause and resolve it quickly. You will feel the cold chill through Pittsburgh in January in no time when you have this issue.

  • Check your thermostat, as this is a common issue when your system is left on the “cool” setting. Double-check to make sure your heat and air temperature settings are correct.
  • If you have a gas furnace, make sure the pilot light has not gone out. If your pilot light is out, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to reignite it.
  • A broken thermostat could be the cause of cold air blowing through your home. You can test your thermostat by setting it to a higher heat setting. If you do not hear the furnace kick on to accommodate the change, you may need to replace your thermostat.
  • Problems with the gas supply can cause temperature issues in your home. Check to make sure the gas valve to your furnace is open.
  • Blower motor issues will cause cooler air to blow through your home as it does not distribute heat properly through the ductwork. Call Schultheis Brothers to assess these issues and offer a solution.

2.) Uneven Airflow Through Your Home

Uneven airflow happens when one part of your home is warm and comfortable while another part of your home has a chill. A proper HVAC system should produce heat evenly throughout your home. If you have poor air circulation, check for these common issues:

  • Search for blocked or closed vents. When you close a vent to a certain room, the room stays cool while the rest of the house remains warm.
  • Dirty or clogged filters can also be to blame for poor air circulation in your home. Make sure to check and change your filters regularly for optimal airflow.
  • Lack of return airflow can disrupt the air balance in the system. Make sure all of your return vents have a clear opening and airflow.
  • Leaks, blockages, or improper design of the ductwork can lead to uneven air flow through your home. A malfunctioning blower motor can be to blame for uneven airflow through your home. Make sure to call Schultheis Brothers for a check for these issues within your home.

3.) Your Furnace is Excessive Cycling

Does it sound like your furnace never takes a break? Does it constantly turn on and off if the need is there or not? Your furnace could be excessively cycling, check for these issues when your furnace won’t stop running.

  • A malfunctioning thermostat could be the issue causing the cycling. If your thermostat is incorrectly sensing the temperature, it can give the signal for your furnace to run when there is no need. Test the thermostat by raising the temperature and if your furnace does not respond accordingly, replace your thermostat.
  • Dirty or clogged filters can cause an airflow issue. Be sure that your filter is clean and placed properly into your system.
  • An incorrectly sized furnace can cause it to consistently run to keep your house at a comfortable temperature. Be sure to contact an HVAC specialist to assess your needs and provide a furnace solution.
  • Issues with the thermostat location can also cause inadequate functionality of your furnace. If your thermostat is close to an air vent, it will heat/cool much faster than the rest of the house. This causes the thermostat to kick on or off earlier than anticipated.
  • A faulty blower motor can also cause issues when it does not circulate air efficiently and then overheats. Your furnace could also be short-cycling due to overheating.

4.) Loss of Power or Heat to Your Furnace

A loss of power to your furnace can be especially concerning in the cold of the winter months. If your furnace is losing power and heat, ensure to check these common issues.

  • Check the power supply to your furnace. Ensure to check the circuit breaker and check that the switch isn’t tripped. Oftentimes, after a power outage, your circuit breaker will trip without your knowing. Be sure the switch is in the “on” position.
  • Check your thermostat to ensure it is working properly. If your thermostat takes batteries, replace them, even if they don’t need to be replaced. Also, make sure that you install the batteries in the correct position.
  • Reset your furnace if your furnace is equipped with a reset button. This is often located close to the blower motor on your furnace. Look for its specific location according to the manufacturer’s manual for your furnace.
  • Change the air filter to a fresh filter. Oftentimes, a dirty air filter can cause many issues, including your furnace not working. We recommend you change your air filter monthly to avoid damaging your furnace.
  • Check the emergency switch. Sometimes a furnace will have an emergency power switch on the wall near it. If this switch is off, it will cause the furnace not to heat properly.

5.) Carbon Monoxide Leaks

Fuel-burning appliances can produce carbon monoxide, which is a clear odorless gas. Your furnace can produce these gasses without you knowing about it. It is important to know the signs of carbon monoxide infiltration into your home and take measures accordingly.

  • Be sure to install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home. These detectors will find elevated levels of CO in the air and alarm if found. Treat these alarms as emergencies and be sure to exit your home and call 911.
  • If you think there’s a Carbon Monoxide leak at home, contact Schultheis Brothers’ specialists to locate and assess the problem.

Be sure to avoid these common issues with your furnace as our Pittsburgh winter approaches. Schultheis Brothers suggests you schedule an annual maintenance check on your HVAC system to keep it running effectively. Call us today to schedule your free consultation!