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

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

If you're uncertain about the problem or lack the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like Refrigeration Systems Ltd.. We can accurately identify the issue and complete the required repairs or maintenance, so we can get your furnace ready to go ASAP.

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

1. Your Furnace Leaks Water

A furnace can leak water for a number of reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water created during the combustion process is not properly draining away. This could be due to a clogged condensate drain line or a broken condensate pump. Another possible cause of water leakage from a furnace is a cracked heat exchanger, which can result in water—as well as dangerous gases—coming out of the furnace.

It is necessary to address water leaks promptly to prevent additional damage to your furnace. Reaching out to a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Refrigeration Systems Ltd. is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.

2. My Furnace Makes Cold Air/Lack of Heat

Some possible causes for a furnace blowing cold air or not blowing hot air include a malfunctioning thermostat, a problem with the pilot light or ignition system, a blocked air filter, or a malfunctioning heating element. It also may 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 trained HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and advise you on the proper solution.

3. My Furnace Struggles to Keep Up

A common reason your furnace isn’t keeping up on a cold day is that your home is lacking insulation, which can cause heat loss and reduced efficiency. Another reason your furnace is having difficulties is because it’s too small for your home, so it can’t produce enough heat to effectively warm the space. A broken thermostat or ductwork problems can also result in uneven heating.

To handle this, first look at your home’s insulation level and make sure it’s enough to protect your home. Also, examine the thermostat to see if 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 Refrigeration Systems Ltd., who can inspect your system, determine the root cause and provide solutions such as furnace replacement, repairing ductwork or adjusting your thermostat settings.

4. My Furnace Won't Work

If your furnace is not working, there are a couple of steps you can take to troubleshoot before calling a pro. Ensure the thermostat is set right and the batteries are good. If the furnace still doesn't turn on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the system.

If there is power but your furnace won't ignite, the problem may be with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's a good idea to contact a knowledgeable HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.

5. My Furnace Is Short Cycling

If your furnace is short cycling, this means it is turning on and off multiple times at short intervals instead of running in regular cycles like it should. 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 check your unit’s air filter. Filters should be changed when they are dirty to ensure air flow, so if your furnace air filter is dirty you should exchange it for a clean one—and be sure it is pointing in the right direction. Second, 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 crew at Refrigeration Systems Ltd.. Quick professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and prevent more complications and high energy bills.

6. My Furnace Won't Stop Humming

If your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a symptom of an issue with the electrical elements or the blower motor. Because of this, if you detect your furnace making a humming noise, it is crucial to take action.

If the noise doesn't go away, it is a good idea to  contact a professional HVAC technician.

7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise

If your furnace is producing a consistent loud noise, it's important to deal with the issue quickly to prevent further damage or potential safety hazards.  One common cause of this is a failing blower motor or fan, which can create a grinding or screeching sound. Another possible cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may emit a squealing or rattling noise.

Due to the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's best to consult with 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 desired temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are working. Then, check if the circuit breaker or fuse that goes to the furnace is functioning properly. If these basic checks don't take care of the problem, you can inspect the furnace's power switch or emergency shutoff switch to make sure they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.

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

9. My Furnace Won't Ignite

Like a a furnace that will not on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be caused by a dirty air filter or a tripped circuit breaker. So, checking out 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 include a faulty igniter or faulty flame sensor. Signs of these include the furnace continually making an attempt to ignite without success, no heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be easily fixed by HVAC professionals like the team at Refrigeration Systems Ltd..