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October in New England can bring early cold temperatures and winter storms, despite the hope for an Indian Summer.

Nashoba Air & BoilerWorks - Furnace ProblemssYour heating system needs to be tip-top shape, ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at us.

Here are some of the most common problems your furnace or boiler can experience and some advice on how to avoid them.

Absence of Maintenance – When homeowners fail to schedule annual furnace maintenance and inspections, they risk unexpected problems and breakdowns. Routine maintenance helps your heating system run more efficiently and reliably.

Dirty Filters – Dirty or clogged air filters reduce airflow, making a furnace work harder to circulate.  Clogged filters may damage the limit switch, which controls the fan.

Electric Ignition or Pilot Control Problems – A faulty ignition or pilot can make it difficult to heat a home.  Thermocouple problems, drafts or clogs in the heating system may result when a pilot light is unlit.

Thermostat Malfunction – A defective thermostat can lead to problems with the fan or comfort levels in the house.

NO Heat – A furnace that doesn’t perform its main task may have problems with the thermostat setting, power, gas, or the pilot. If the filter is clogged, the heating system may not heat.  In addition, a system that wasn’t sized properly for the home may not produce enough heat.

Frequent Cycling – Cycling between the ON and OFF modes may indicate a clogged filter, improper airflow or a bad thermostat setting.

Continuous Running of Blower – Blower issues may indicate a problem with the limit switch, which may need to be replaced.

Noisy Furnace – Rumbling, squeaking and rattling are not normal.  The sounds may indicate a mechanical problem, airflow reductions, or a clogged burner.

Wear and Tear – Normal wear and tear can cause airflow problems, heat control-related issues or even overheating.

Trouble-Shooting
A few of these furnace problems can be easily fixed. A clogged air filter can be the cause of a number of issues, so be sure to check them first. If you have disposable filters, replace them.  When dust builds up on the filter it reduces airflow through the system and can cause your furnace to shut off.  If your filters are dirty, it could have caused soot to collect in the heat exchanger.  In this case you may want to schedule a non-emergency furnace cleaning and safety inspection.  

If your thermostat isn’t set correctly or if it hasn’t been programmed properly, this can cause heating system problems as well. Check to be sure the temperature setting is what you want and that the thermostat is set to HEAT, rather than AIR or OFF.

Sometimes, something has caused the circuit breaker to the furnace to trip, turning it off.  There is usually a switch, which looks like a light switch, near the furnace, that turns it on and off.  Check to be sure that no one has turned it off by mistake while trying to turn off a light.

Call a Professional
If after you’ve checked your filters, thermostat, and circuit breaker, and you haven’t discovered the reason for the heating failure, call your professional HVAC company. If you have questions or want to schedule a non-emergency heating system tune-up, call us at Nashoba Air & BoilerWorks – 978-486-0600.