Winter is the time of year that is most stressful for furnaces. Wear and tear is increased, and the chances of a serious problem occurring go up significantly. Even if you’ve had your furnace professionally checked recently, you should remain vigilant for any problems that may crop up. Let’s take a look at some of the more common furnace problems that you may run into this winter.
If you’re using a gas furnace, as most homeowners do, your system relies on some type of ignition device to start up. This can be a standing pilot light (quite common among older systems), an intermittent electric system or a heating element. If this ignition system fails, the furnace will be unable to ignite the burner assembly to provide heat. Typically, the first sign of a problem with the ignition system is if the furnace fails to start. Though this is a very irritating problem, a professional should have no problem fixing it in short order.
Air Handler Breakdown
The air handler is the part of the furnace responsible for circulating air throughout the system during operation. In order to compensate for the friction generated during operation, the air handler motor is outfitted with oiled bearings. Over time, these bearings wear down and require replacement. You can tell when the bearings are worn down by the loud grinding sound that they make during operation. If the bearings are not replaced, the friction will continue to mount until the air handler motor burns itself out. Be sure to call for repairs as soon as you hear that grinding sound; it’s much cheaper to replace the bearings than to replace the motor.