furnace problems

Top 3 Problems You'll Face With Your Furnace

December 5, 2017

Our heating and cooling professionals see a lot of furnace issues throughout the season. We’ve compiled a detailed list of the top 3 problems that occur with furnaces during the winter season. If you have a furnace problem similar to the ones we mention, call our HVAC technicians right away.

Determine Which Furnace Odors Are Dangerous

While it’s common for furnaces to give off a musty smell when they’re first used for the season, other odors can indicate a problem that needs immediate attention. If you detect an odd furnace smell this winter, keep the following information in mind and get help from professional heating technicians in Des Moines if needed.

Persistent Musty or Dusty Smell

If your furnace keeps giving off a musty smell throughout winter, try changing the air filter. These filters become clogged with dirt and dust, which affects your furnace’s ability to run efficiently and gives it that burning dust stench.

Burning Smell

Furnaces sometimes give off a burning electrical smell when the motor becomes overheated. This can happen when the motor has bearings that have deteriorated from wear and tear. Keep in mind that an overheated motor can end up causing electrical hazards if the wires that connect to it become hot enough to melt. If you detect this furnace smell in your home, shut the heat off on your thermostat and have a professional check your heating system.

Rotten Egg Smell

If you have a gas furnace, having a rotten egg smell in your home can mean that you have a natural gas leak. This is considered an emergency and should be handled immediately! Open up windows and doors so outside air can come in, then stand far away from your home and call 911 for assistance. You should also contact your gas company about the leak.

Chemical Smell

A chemical smell can indicate that the heat exchanger in your furnace is cracked, which is also a serious problem. When this part of your furnace cracks, carbon monoxide can enter your home. Have an emergency HVAC repair technician check your furnace, and leave your home immediately if your carbon monoxide detectors go off.

Why is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

When the winter chill invades your home, triggering the start-up of your furnace, cold air certainly isn't the optimal or expected result. So what can cause your furnace to blow cold air?

Your Thermostat

Make sure that your temperature setting is higher than the room temperature, since that is essential to trigger operation of the furnace. Cold air flowing through your system can also be due to a thermostat fan set to “on”, since this keeps the air circulating at all times – even when the furnace is off. Setting it to “auto” ensures that the blower only moves air when the furnace is heating it.

Your Air Filter

Another very simple component of your system, the air filter can cause cold air problems. A dirty air filter can significantly restrict air flow within the heating system, which can cause the furnace to overheat. A safety feature, called a limit switch, automatically shuts the furnace down when it overheats. Typically, the blower will continue to circulate air to cool the overheated furnace, causing the system to blow cold air.

Your Duct System

In a forced air system, issues with your ductwork can be at the root of cold air flowing into your home. Leaky or poorly insulated ducts can draw cold air in to mix with your warm, conditioned air, cooling it before it reaches your living space. Other common causes of furnace cold air include faulty pilots/igniter, fuel supply issues, condensate drain clogs or electrical problems, among many others.

Not The Right Balance of Heat and Humidity

Excessively dry air is a common seasonal problem in Des Moines homes because cold winter air doesn't hold moisture very well. Running your heating system dries the air out even more, and the resulting lack of moisture can impact your family's comfort and health as well as the structure of your home. Balancing humidity and home heating is essential to avoid these problems.

The Solution to Not Enough Humidity

Installing a whole-house humidifier is the easiest way to maintain a balance between heating and humidity. The humidifier unit is installed beside the furnace blower fan and plumbed into your home's water supply. These low-maintenance units create water vapor that gets added to the air heated by the furnace and distributed through the ductwork. The amount of moisture that's added is easily adjusted via the unit's humidistat control.

If your furnace needs repairs this winter, please contact Lozier Heating & Cooling. We offer dependable HVAC services for homeowners have been keeping homes in the Greater Des Moines area comfortable since 1906.