5 Simple Furnace Fixes You Can Perform Yourself
Not everything that goes wrong with a gas furnace requires a visit from a repairman. There are a surprising number of things that a homeowner can do themselves. What’s more, it’s often these simple malfunctions that account for most occasions when the machine won’t run.
When air filters are functioning properly, they keep the warmed air free of dust and dirt. In the process, they will become clogged. The heated air can accumulates in the heat exchanger and the temperature starts to rise, leading to worse things. Modern furnaces have a sensor that detects this and automatically turns off the machine. A monthly change can avert this.
There are three different locations where power can be cut off. Often, a furnace will have its own fuse or circuit breaker that can be tripped without affecting any other electrical devices. The on/off switch, usually on the side of the unit, can be accidentally turned off or forgotten about after deliberately switching off. Also, the access panels will have cut-off switches that keep the machine from running if the panels aren’t correctly re-installed.
Newer furnaces ignite the gas with a ceramic heating element that can become cracked, preventing the electric current from passing through. A heating element will glow orange when working correctly. Since they’re usually in an accessible spot and only have one or two screws holding them in place, they can be easily replaced. For this job, the gas and electricity must be shut off first. Then it’s just a matter of replacing the element with a screwdriver and plugging in the electrical connectors. A thermocouple or flame detector is located above the burner and can be replaced in much the same manner as the igniter. If the burner ignites but then shuts off, this might be the culprit.
Some furnaces use a drive belt to connect the motor to the fan blower instead of direct attachment. These belts can wear out and slip or completely break. If the motor is running but no air is flowing, this could be the cause. If the belt looks good but is slipping, an adjustment to tighten it might be all that’s needed.
High-efficiency furnaces draw more heat from the combustion of the natural gas to the point that the water vapor in the exhaust condenses. When this happens, it’s drained through a hose at the bottom of the furnace. If dirt and mold accumulate in the hose, detectable by less water than normal flowing out, a furnace sensor will shut down the unit. It can be cleaned by soaking it in water that’s one-quarter bleach for ten minutes.
Usually, it’s a small, easy problem that’s negatively affecting the furnace. On the other hand, there are things like a bad motor that shouldn’t be tackled by anyone other than an expert. Likewise, any gas- carrying piping needs to be considered hands-off. In these instances, a professional business like Cydcom Services Ltd must be called in to get things going again.