Halloween is full of tricks and treats, but nothing is spookier than a cold house and a furnace that just won't turn on. October can be a beautiful time of year in many parts of the country, but it's also when plenty of households first turn their furnaces back on. Unfortunately, a failed furnace might mean a chill in the air that's from more than just the ghosts and goblins wandering around outside.
If you're just now discovering that your furnace isn't producing the heat you expect, it might be due to one of these three spooky problems. Keep reading to learn why your furnace might not be working and why you don't need to call in the ghostbusters to solve the problem.
1. Dreadful Draft Inducers
Draft inducers are a feature found on high-efficiency furnaces. These added blower motors pull exhaust fumes (and perhaps some spooky spirits) from the combustion chamber before the furnace ignites. If your furnace has one of these secondary blowers, it will also have safety switches to detect that it's operating correctly. If the draft inducer doesn't turn on, the furnace won't start.
Draft inducer-related problems are a common reason for furnace shutoff conditions, and there are multiple causes. Instead of calling in a ghost hunter, you'll probably want an HVAC technician to check the state of the switch and the motor. If both are functioning correctly, you may have a clog somewhere in your exhaust pipes preventing the furnace from creating a draft.
2. Icky Ignitors
Modern gas furnaces typically use electric ignitors to provide the initial spark that starts the combustion process. These ignitors are also known as hot-surface ignitors since they heat up to scorching temperatures rather than lighting a flame. If your ignitor isn't working, your furnace won't be able to produce any heat.
Like draft inducer problems, there can be many underlying causes for an ignitor failure, although you won't need an exorcist to solve them. Your HVAC technician will usually check to make sure that the ignitor has power and that it isn't tripping any safety switches. If everything else checks out, replacing the ignitor will usually solve the problem.
3. Ominous Overheating
Most furnaces will trigger an overheat shut down when the temperature near the heat exchanger gets too high. This safety procedure keeps the heat exchanger safe, protecting you from the dangerous gases it contains. Furnaces typically overheat when there's insufficient airflow, either due to a bad blower motor, blocked air filter, or some other issue.
If your furnace is overheating, start by checking your air filter for sneaky gremlins (or dirt) and replacing any filter that looks clogged. If the filter isn't the problem, you'll probably need a professional for furnace repair and help you avoid a potentially perilous situation.Share