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Home Furnace Malfunctions: Top Reasons Why Furnaces Fail

The cold season is almost at your doorstep. With temperatures down, chances are you are already using your furnace to keep warm inside the house. If you haven’t done so yet, it is time to have it checked, or you may be one of homeowners facing furnace malfunctions in Seattle and Bellevue.

A host of problems cause furnace malfunctions in Seattle and Bellevue. Even if you do not have full knowledge of how furnaces work, there are still things that a DIY-er can do to inspect the unit for furnace malfunctions.

Understanding how a furnace works

Many homeowners take their furnaces for granted. However, furnaces are machines. While they are meant to work continuously, there are instances when some of its parts may fail.

A gas furnace has about 12 components, as follows:

  • Warm air supply duct
  • Cold air return duct
  • Blower
  • Heat exchanger
  • Condensing heat exchanger
  • Exhaust gases vent pipe (flue)
  • Intake-air pipe
  • Induced draft fan
  • Gas burner
  • Gas valve
  • Gas regulator
  • Gas solenoid

To provide heat, the process starts with the burner. When the temperature drops, the furnace is triggered by the thermostat to run by engaging the burner. The gas is delivered to the heat exchanger. This part takes in air and turns the air and gas into heat. The process is called combustion, wherein the gas and the air combine, igniting the gas to produce heat. The heat is distributed to the home via air distribution system, which includes the furnace blower. The heated air is blown through the ductwork and distributed throughout your home.

Furnace parts that are likely to fail

Homeowners in Seattle and Bellevue should understand that any component of a gas and electric furnace is liable to fail. A furnace is expected to last for a long a time but sometimes one or two components of the furnace might fail to operate.

There are no moving parts on a gas burner therefore it does not fail often. However, the burner can still stop working if the gas valve, the part the controls the flow of gas to the burner stops functioning. The gas valve should shut off when there is something wrong with the furnace. If it fails, a furnace technician can replace this part for you.

Another thing that you should check is the gas regulator which reduces the pressure of the gas line delivered to the burners.

In an electric furnace, regular check the solenoid valve. It automatically opens to allow gas to flow when the thermostat demands the required heat.

The electric ignitor in a gas furnace is prone to failure, so this part should also be checked regularly. The ignitor lights the burners. The metal parts of the ignitor heats up to a point that it glows red and sparks to light the burners. It cools down when the burners are lit. The constant contraction and expansion of the metal leads to breakage so it should be checked and replaced when needed.

Another component of a gas furnace that is likely to fail over time is the blower. Its function is to move the household air through the heating system. Another fan that runs continuously while the burners are running is the induced-draft motor. It should shut off when the burners stop running. The blower can get dirty over time, which means that the air circulating inside your home will be contaminated. When there is too much dirt build up, the blower will fail to function.

Common Furnace Malfunctions

Furnace Malfunction

Here are some of the top things that can cause furnace malfunctions in Seattle and Bellevue.

Too much noise coming from the furnace

If you hear too much unusual noise from the furnace, such as rattling, squeaking and rumbling, it indicates that there is a mechanical problem. It could be that the burner is clogged, the airflow is reduced dramatically or there is something wrong with the motor. Call an expert technician to inspect your unit.

Continuous running of the blower

If the blower continues to run, there could be an issue with the limit switch. It is better to call a Fischer Heating technician to solve this problem, as the switch might need replacement.

Constant and short cycling

When the furnace continues to go on and off in short bursts, rather than for a sustained amount of time, it could be due to a bad setting of the thermostat, there is improper airflow or because the filter is already clogged with dust, dirt and other debris.

Furnace does not give enough heat

The furnace is not producing enough heat is another furnace malfunction in the greater Seattle area. It could be due to dirty air filter or the unit is not the proper size for the home.

Furnace not heating at all

When your furnace stops to give you heat or shuts off completely, there could be problems with the pilot light, gas, power or thermostat setting. There might be faulty wiring as well. This is not something that you can fix on your own. Call a trained and certified technician at Fischer Heating.

Thermostat is malfunctioning

If you have replaced the furnace filter and you are not getting the right temperature, the thermostat may be causing the issue. It could be due to aging or faulty wiring or extreme changes in temperature. Try replacing the batteries. If that doesn’t work, check your circuit breaker or the fuse. The thermostat might not match the heating system.

Problems with pilot control or electric ignition

The pilot light may remain unlit due to clogs, drafts and problems with the thermocouple sensors. If the furnace is out of propane or the gas is accidentally shut off, the pilot light will not turn on. You can fix this problem yourself. However, call a Fischer Heating professional technician if the problem is due to the following:

  • Chimney or flue problems or the venting is done improperly.
  • The heat exchanger is cracked.
  • There is a downdraft.
  • The pilot flame is poor because the orifice is blocked or the gas pressure is low.
  • The gas valve is bad.
  • The thermocouple is loose or defective.

Filters are plugged up

Dirty and clogged filter is one of the most common cause of furnace malfunctions in Seattle and Bellevue. Make sure that you replace the furnace filter once a month or every four months. A clogged filter not only reduces the flow of air inside your home, causing the heating unit to work harder. It can also impair the limit switch that controls the furnace’s fan.

Infrequent maintenance

Another common issue that leads to furnace malfunctions in Seattle and Bellevue is the lack or absence of maintenance. The furnace is a mechanical system and needs proper and regular maintenance to keep its efficiency level up. Without maintenance, the normal wear and tear of the unit will increase and the unit can breakdown more often.

fischer-heating-call-for-an-hvac-maintenance-service-plan-900x288Know the basic things that lead to furnace malfunctions in Seattle and Bellevue. There are simple things that you can do to ensure that your furnace works properly. Otherwise, get expert help. Give Fischer Heating a call at 206-202-9499 or 425-406-3050 to schedule an appointment for regular maintenance, repair or replacement of your furnace.



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