Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you throw the switch to turn on your heating system in the fall and it won’t start, common furnace problems can affect your home at any moment.

Regardless of the problem, understanding how your heating system works and a little bit about some common furnace problems is vital in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional assistance. By noting the furnace's behavior, listening for unusual noises and checking for signs of damage or blockage, you can narrow down the possible causes.

If you're not sure about the problem or don't have the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like Fal-Ken Heating & Cooling Corporation. We can accurately diagnose the issue and complete the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace up and running ASAP.

Here's more about what causes a furnace to leak water and eight other common heating issues:

1. The Furnace Is Leaking

A furnace can leak water for several reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water produced during the combustion process is not completely draining away. This could be due to a blocked condensate drain line or a broken condensate pump. Another potential cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can result in water—as well as dangerous gases—escaping from the furnace.

It is imperative to correct water leaks immediately to prevent further damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Fal-Ken Heating & Cooling Corporation is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue properly.

2. My Furnace Blows Cold Air/Lack of Heat

Some potential causes for a furnace blowing cold air or not blowing hot air are a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a plugged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It also may be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety precaution.

If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's better to contact a skilled HVAC specialist to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and recommend the appropriate solution.

3. My Furnace Struggles to Keep Up

A frequent reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home lacks insulation, which can result in heat loss and lower efficiency. Another reason your furnace is falling short is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t generate enough heat to completely warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also cause insufficient heating.

To deal with this, first check your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to protect your home. Also, check the thermostat to see if it’s set right and the batteries are working.

If the problem won’t go away, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Fal-Ken Heating & Cooling Corporation, who can assess your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or changing your thermostat settings.

4. My Furnace Isn't Running at All

If your furnace is not working, there are some steps you can take to troubleshoot before phoning a heating specialist. Ensure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are not dead. If the furnace still doesn't start, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the furnace.

If there is power but no heat, the problem may rest with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to reach out to a knowledgeable HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.

5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling

If your furnace is short cycling, it means it is turning on and off multiple times at short intervals as opposed to running in regular cycles like it should. This can result in inefficiency, higher energy bills and potential damage to your unit.

If you believe your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be changed regularly to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is clogged with debris you should exchange it for a clean one—and be sure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, check your thermostat and look to see if  it’s set right and the batteries are good.

If those two things don’t work, it’s a good idea to call experts like the team at Fal-Ken Heating & Cooling Corporation. Quick professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and prevent additional complications and high energy bills.

6. My Furnace Hums All the Time

Whenever your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a symptom of an issue with the electrical parts or the blower motor. Because of this, if you detect your furnace making a humming noise, it is crucial to take action.

If the noise persists, it is a good idea to  contact a professional HVAC technician.

7. My Furnace Is Noisy

If your furnace is making a persistent loud noise, it's important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards.  One common problem that causes this is a broken blower motor or fan, which can generate a grinding or screeching sound. Another possible cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may emit a squealing or rattling noise.

Due to the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's best to consult with a heating and cooling specialist.

8. My Furnace Won't Start

If your furnace will not turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the desired temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, verify that the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is working right. If these basic checks don't address the problem, you can check the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to ensure they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.

If those steps don’t work, call a professional for furnace repair.

9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting

Similar to a furnace not turning on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be caused by a clogged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, inspecting the air filter and looking over your circuit breakers are a good place to start.

Other potential causes of a furnace not igniting are a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Symptoms of these include the furnace continually attempting to ignite without success, a lack of heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be simply fixed by HVAC specialists like the team at Fal-Ken Heating & Cooling Corporation.