Those of us who live in cooler climates have an annual ritual when the autumn chill finally becomes too much to bear. With great ceremony, we reach for the thermostat and declare The First Day of Running the Furnace.
Unfortunately, in some years, months of lying idle after months of hard usage can mean your first furnace day of the season doesn’t go off without a hitch. Worse yet, the problems could sneak up on you later; your furnace could seem fully operational in early November but take a turn for the worst as the real cold sets in later in the season, leaving you bundled up for a polar expedition in your own home. Putting your furnace back to work is what leads to many of the common issues with furnaces in the winter, but you can resolve many of these issues without breaking the bank.
The Pilot Light Is Out
When the pilot light won’t ignite, you can say goodbye to warm air. Pilot lights work hard and are susceptible to wear and breakage. If this important part of your furnace won’t start, consult your local HVAC professional who will be able to clean a dirty heat sensor or replace a broken pilot light.
The Filter Is Dirty
Sometimes, you can fix the biggest problems with the easiest solutions. Your furnace’s air filter works hard to pick up dirt and dust from your HVAC system and keep the furnace running efficiently. However, when the filter does all the work it can and has trapped as many particles as it can hold, your furnace has to work harder than it should until it simply can’t work any longer. A simple filter replacement may be all it takes to get your furnace back to peak performance. Many home furnace units call for the standard 12x24x1 AC filter, but you should check your owner’s manual or take measurements, just in case.
The Thermostat Is Out
In some cases, the furnace itself could be fully functional, but it’s the thermostat that has malfunctioned. Because you use your thermostat almost year-round, you could find that it has failed sometime during the transition from air-conditioned summers to heated winters, when you don’t find yourself reaching for the controls in either direction. With new smart thermostats on the market designed to maximize energy efficiency, your old manual model was probably due for a replacement anyway.
The Pipes Are Frozen
Pipes and coils that have frozen over mean serious trouble. Quick and drastic shifts in temperature cause condensation and freezing that impede the flow of warm air. This could cause pressure to build and pipes to burst, which spells disaster for any homeowner. Experienced homeowners may be able to de-ice their pipes themselves, but homeowners who are facing heavy icing may find it best to bring HVAC professionals into the fold.
For all their commonality, dealing with many of these common issues with furnaces in the winter still requires a level of expertise. However, not every furnace failure this winter calls for the pros; you may be able to troubleshoot the problem simply by remembering the filter. Quality air filters of all sizes and specifications from Remember the Filter are the first line of defense against the issues that furnaces face during those long layovers and hard winters.