Whether it’s a leaky furnace or if you flick the switch to power up your heating system when the weather gets cold and it won’t start, common furnace problems can affect your home at any moment.

Regardless of the problem, knowing how your heating system works and a little bit about some typical furnace problems is vital in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional services. By observing the furnace's behavior, listening for strange noises and checking for signs of damage or blockage, you can narrow down the possible causes.

If you're unsure about the problem or aren't equipped with the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like Done Right Air. We can accurately identify the issue and execute the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace working again ASAP.

Here's more about what causes a furnace to leak water and eight other frequent heating issues:

1. The Furnace Is Leaking

A furnace can leak water for many reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water created during the combustion process is not properly draining away. This might be due to a blocked condensate drain line or a malfunctioning condensate pump. Another potential cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can lead to water—as well as dangerous gases—leaking out of the furnace.

It is imperative to deal with water leaks promptly to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Consulting with a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Done Right Air is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue properly.

2. My Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air/Lack of Heat

Some potential causes for a furnace blowing cold air or not blowing hot air could be a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a plugged air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It could also be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety mechanism.

If your furnace will not blow hot air, it's better to contact a skilled HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can provide an accurate assessment and suggest the appropriate solution.

3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up

A widespread reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home lacks insulation, which can lead to heat loss and decreased efficiency. Another reason your furnace is struggling is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t make enough heat to completely warm the space. A malfunctioning thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in inconsistent heating.

To deal with this, first check your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to keep warm air in and cold air out of your home. Also, examine the thermostat to make sure it’s set right and the batteries still function.

If the problem won’t go away, consider consulting with an experienced HVAC company, such as Done Right Air, who can inspect your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or changing your thermostat settings.

4. My Furnace Won't Work

If your furnace is not working, there are some steps you can take to troubleshoot before phoning a heating specialist. Ensure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are not dead. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the furnace.

If there is power but your furnace won't blow hot air, the problem may lie with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to contact a seasoned HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.

5. My Furnace Turns On and Off

If your furnace is short cycling, it means it is turning on and off multiple times at short intervals as opposed to running in regular cycles like it ought to. This can result in inefficiency, higher energy bills and potential damage to your heating system.

If you suspect your furnace is short cycling, the first step is to pull out your unit’s air filter. Filters should be exchanged on a regular basis to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is dirty you should exchange it for a clean one—and ensure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, look at your thermostat and make sure  it’s set right and the batteries are good.

If those two things don’t work, it’s smart to call experts like the team at Done Right Air. Prompt professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and avoid further complications and high energy bills.

6. My Furnace Hums All the Time

If your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a sign of problems with the electrical parts or the blower motor. Therefore, if you hear your furnace making a humming noise, it is important to take action.

If the noise persists, it is a good idea to  contact a professional HVAC technician.

7. My Furnace Is Noisy

If your furnace is emitting a consistent loud noise, it's important to address the issue right away to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards.  One common cause of this is a malfunctioning blower motor or fan, which can make a grinding or screeching sound. Another possible cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may produce a squealing or rattling noise.

Given the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's safer to get a hold of a heating and cooling specialist.

8. My Furnace Won't Start

If your furnace won't turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the preferred temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are functioning. Then, check if the circuit breaker or fuse controlling the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't resolve the problem, you can examine the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to verify they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.

If those steps don’t do the job, contact a heating specialist for furnace repair.

9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting

Much like a furnace that will not on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be caused by a clogged air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, inspecting the air filter and taking a peek at your circuit breakers are a good place to start.

Other potential causes of a furnace not igniting could be a faulty igniter or malfunctioning flame sensor. Signs of these include the furnace repeatedly trying to ignite without success, an absence of heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be easily fixed by HVAC pros like the team at Done Right Air.