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

Regardless of the issue, knowing how your heating system works and a little bit about some common furnace problems is crucial in deciding whether you can troubleshoot on your own or if you need professional assistance. By observing 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 not sure about the problem or lack the necessary skills and tools, it's best to call a professional HVAC company like Pepper AC & Heat. We can accurately diagnose the issue and perform 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 common heating dilemmas:

1. Your Furnace Leaks Water

A furnace can leak water for a number of reasons. One possibility is a condensate leak, where the water produced during the combustion process is not completely draining away. This may be due to a plugged condensate drain line or a failing condensate pump. Another likely 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 important to address water leaks quickly to prevent more damage to your furnace. Contacting a professional HVAC technician like the crew at Pepper AC & Heat is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue effectively.

2. My Furnace Is Blowing Cold Air/Not Blowing Hot Air

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 also may be your furnace is overheating and shutting off as a safety measure.

If your furnace won’t blow hot air, it's a good idea to contact a professional HVAC tech to diagnose and fix the problem. They can offer an accurate assessment and suggest the correct solution.

3. My Furnace Is Not Keeping Up

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

To handle this, first assess 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 aren’t dead.

If the problem lingers, consider calling an experienced HVAC company, such as Pepper AC & Heat, 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 Isn't Running at All

If your furnace is not working, there are some steps you can take to troubleshoot before calling a pro. Check if the thermostat is set correctly and the batteries are good. If the furnace still doesn't power on, check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure power is reaching the unit.

If there is power but no heat, the problem may be with the ignition system or gas supply. In that case, it's best to consult a seasoned HVAC professional for diagnosis and repair.

5. My Furnace Short Cycles

If your furnace is short cycling, that means it is turning on and off multiple times at short intervals instead of running in regular cycles like it ought to. This can cause inefficiency, increased energy consumption and potential damage to your unit.

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 clogged with debris you should exchange it for a clean one—and ensure it is pointing in the right direction. Next, look at your thermostat and verify  it’s set right and the batteries are good.

If those two things don’t work, it’s best to call experts like the team at Pepper AC & Heat. Quick professional attention will help restore the proper functioning of your furnace and reduce the chance of additional complications and high energy bills.

6. My Furnace Hums All the Time

When your furnace is making a humming noise, it often is a sign of an issue with the electrical elements or the blower motor. Therefore, if you hear your furnace making a humming noise, it is crucial to take action.

If the noise continues, it is a good idea to  get in touch with a professional HVAC technician.

7. My Furnace Is Making a Loud Noise

If your furnace is making a constant loud noise, it's important to address the issue quickly to prevent further damage or potential safety risks.  One common problem that causes this is a malfunctioning blower motor or fan, which can create a grinding or screeching sound. Another possible cause is a loose or worn-out belt that may make a squealing or rattling noise.

Because of the complexity of furnace systems and potential risks involved, it's safer to get in touch with a heating and cooling specialist.

8. My Furnace Is Not Turning On

If your furnace will not turn on, make sure the thermostat is set to the right temperature, is in heating mode and the batteries are good. Then, see if the circuit breaker or fuse controlling 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 ensure they're in the "on" position and weren’t accidentally turned off.

If those steps don’t get the job done, contact an expert for furnace repair.

9. My Furnace Is Not Igniting

Much like a furnace that won't turn on at all, a furnace that isn’t igniting can be caused by a plugged 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 likely causes of a furnace not igniting are a faulty igniter or nonfunctional flame sensor. Indications of these include the furnace repeatedly trying to ignite without success, no heat production or the furnace is making a burning or gas smell. Both of these issues can be easily solved by HVAC specialists like the team at Pepper AC & Heat.