When your Sacramento, CA, home’s heating system first encounters an issue, you may be tempted to put off addressing it to save money. However, without immediate service, the problem can worsen and spread. This will likely cost you more in both utility bills and professional repairs. Rather than ignore your heating issue or try to fix it yourself, count on a trained AHVAC professional to restore your comfort. Here are some of the basics of furnace repair.

How Do I Spot a Furnace Problem?

Fortunately, the most prevalent heating system problems often start small. You may be dealing with a struggling furnace if you’re seeing changes in your heating output and overall airflow. The system may short cycle or stay on for much longer than usual. Depending on the specific issue, you can notice leaks, unpleasant smells, and abnormal functioning sounds. A small issue with a frayed belt or failing motor can put a strain on the whole system that quickly impacts other components. Watch out for regularly malfunctioning pilot lights or changes in the flame color. If your carbon monoxide detectors go off frequently, there’s a high chance you have a gas leak.

Should My Furnace Leak Water?

Your furnace will naturally produce some water. When warm vapor inside the system encounters a cold surface, it condenses into a liquid. This water is then transported into the drain pan and out through the condensate line. In well-functioning heating systems, you shouldn’t see any moisture other than at the end of the line where it leads into your sewer drain.

Within the system, water can leak from failing seals around your blower or air handler. If you have an older furnace, the heat exchanger may crack and allow moisture to pool below the unit. Heat exchanger issues usually include foul odors and problems with the pilot light or burners. Call for repairs immediately to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning or any potential home fire emergencies.

How Can I Pinpoint a Foul Furnace Smell?

Your furnace shouldn’t produce any strange smells as it heats your home. One of the only normal odors is a faint burning at the beginning of the season as your furnace burns up any collected dust. If you smell mustiness, there’s a good chance you have a mold or mildew issue in the system itself or your ductwork. A burning plastic or rubber odor points to an electrical problem or an overheated motor. When the inside of your furnace gets too hot, the rubber coating around your wires can melt. A rotten egg odor indicates a natural gas leak.

Why Does My Furnace Keep Running?

Before you call for repairs for an overactive furnace, make sure your thermostat is set correctly. If it’s set to “ON,” you should instead turn it to “AUTO.” The “ON” mode will keep the blower constantly running to circulate air, even if your furnace isn’t producing heat. A furnace that runs but doesn’t start heat cycles could be struggling with a faulty limit switch or a blower problem. You should call a technician to check your furnace and thermostat wiring to find the root cause.

What Are the Signs of a Compromised Heat Exchanger?

The furnace’s heat exchanger acts as a shield between the system’s blower and its combustion chamber. It prevents any natural gas from leaking into your breathing air. When this part wears down or experiences an unexpected issue, it can compromise your home’s safety.

A cracked or damaged heat exchanger can create excessive soot in and around the furnace. You may find a black powdery residue on your registers or accumulated on the floor below your vents. The pilot flame, which should always burn a consistent blue, may turn yellow or orange and begin flickering. There can be puddles of water near the system or pungent, chemical-like odors. Faulty heat exchangers often need to be replaced to keep the furnace running safely.

Should My Heating System Blow Cold Air?

When your heating system first starts a cycle, the initial airflow may be colder than expected. This air should warm up after a few minutes as it begins to heat your home. One of the most common causes of consistently cold air is a dirty air filter. A clogged filter restricts airflow into the system, which stops your heat exchanger from receiving enough air. If you don’t feel an improvement after replacing the filter, there could be too much grime accumulated on the system’s vital components or inside the ductwork. There could also be an issue with the pilot light where your furnace is attempting to run without a consistent heat source.

Why Won’t the Pilot Light Stay On?

Your furnace’s pilot light is key to starting a heating cycle. If the flame doesn’t stay lit, your system won’t be able to maintain your home’s indoor comfort. It’s possible your light may keep going out because of drafts in the home. If you rearrange the room and find the problem persists, you could be struggling with an inadequate gas supply or a damaged thermocouple.

The thermocouple is a furnace safety measure that’s responsible for detecting if the flame is lit. If it’s unable to sense a flame, it won’t open the gas valve. Other common causes include compromised gas lines and dirty, broken burners.

How Much Will My Furnace Repair Cost?

Calling for professional HVAC repairs as soon as possible will keep your costs down. When determining the cost, several factors will play a role. Many indoor comfort companies will charge you an hourly labor fee on top of the cost of part replacements. If you’re still under warranty, the manufacturer may cover material or craftsmanship defects. Before you agree to service, you should ask if your preferred HVAC company offers estimates or upfront quotes. The most effective way to eliminate unexpected repair costs is to invest in preventative annual maintenance.

What Are Emergency HVAC Repairs?

A repair is considered an emergency if it can’t wait until regular business hours. For example, if your furnace stops working in the middle of winter, you need prompt service to protect your family from the freezing outdoor temperatures. Emergency repairs may come with additional fees or after-hours rates. Your technician will do everything they can to replace broken parts and get your system running again. When you request emergency service, you can rest assured knowing you’re receiving high-quality priority HVAC care.

Sacramento Heating and Cooling Service

Huft Home Services is an award-winning, BBB-accredited indoor comfort business in Sacramento, CA. We’re a locally-owned company that’s been serving families in the area since 2004. We are a proud member of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, and are certified by the National Comfort Institute. Allow our skilled staff to handle your heating and cooling repairs and maintenance. We’ll have no problem installing your new system or helping you with your insulation and air quality. Our business also provides convenient plumbing and electrical services. Call us today to schedule your furnace repair.

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