Issues with your furnace not staying on?
The harsh Capital District winter weather means furnaces must work overtime during winter. And the last thing any homeowner wants is a home heating issue during a cold spell. As a result, any time there is an issue with your furnace not staying on, homeowners are rightfully worried!
To help, learn about the standard furnace, along with the main components and common reasons why the furnace won’t stay on (especially when needed!).
Furnace 101: How Your Furnace Works & The Main Furnace Components
Although the exact specifics vary from furnace to furnace, the basics remain the same. For example, certain specifics include the type of fuel vary, but the general operations of any furnace works about the same.
First, furnaces include the same major components. These components include:
- Heat Exchanger.
- Flue or Vent Pipe.
Furnaces operate through the basic combustion process. Typically, this starts with the burner, which triggers when the thermostat drops below a desired temperature. The burner engages and drives the gas to the heat exchanger. Next, the heat exchanger intakes air and turns the gas and air into heat, which ultimately moves through your home’s ductwork. Finally, combustion occurs when fuel combines with air and ignites creating heat. The blower moves the heated air throughout your home.
Common Furnace Component Issues
Frequently, many homeowners experience some issues. For example, often a furnace turns on momentarily prior to shutting down before heating your home. Although every home and furnace differs, there are some common component issues. If you experience issues with your furnace not staying on, then understanding these components help start the troubleshooting process.
- Flame Sensor: This component monitors the burner and if your furnace shuts off upon starting, the flame sensor may not detect the pilot light.
- Control Board: This component regulates power to other components and impacts the entire system if broken.
- Pressure Switch: This component provides a signal to the furnace that confirms the right amount of airflow exists and should function properly. If the switch is broken, then it impacts the entire heating system.
- Limit Switch: This component detects excessive heat in the burner box and if the switch detects excess heat, then the furnace shuts off.
- Restricted Airflow: Insufficient airflow, which prevents the proper amount of air through the burner frequently causes the unit to start and stop working.
Troubleshooting Your Furnace Not Staying On Issues
As a homeowner, understanding the basics of your furnace and HVAC system provides the first step. Next, learning about a few reasons a furnace stops working provides additional confidence. As a result of learning about your HVAC system, homeowners know what problems require professional assistance.
If your thermostat malfunctions, then the furnace thinks the temperature differs.
“The thermostat may not be calibrated correctly, meaning the furnace thinks it has reached the desired temperature after running for only a few minutes. To find out, replace the thermostat with a cheap model. If the problem stops, you have pinpointed the problem. If not, return the new thermostat and continue troubleshooting.”
The furnace contains a thermocouple, which is a heat sensor next to the pilot light. The thermocouple closes the gas valve if the pilot light goes out, which prevents gas from filling your home.
“A malfunctioning thermocouple may lose the ability to sense heat from the pilot light, causing it to close the gas valve at random. If your furnace doesn’t stay on, check the pilot light. If the pilot light won’t stay lit, a bad thermocouple could be to blame. You may need a professional to come take a look and replace the malfunctioning part.”
Full Condensate Pan
Depending on the age of your furnace, an issue with the condensate pan could be the problem. For example, newer furnaces generate condensate, which drip into a pan and eventually drains.
“However, if the drain line becomes clogged, the pan may begin to fill up. Once the rising liquid hits a sensor, the furnace will automatically shut off to prevent the condensate from spilling over the edge. Check the condensate pan for this problem. If the drain is clogged, insert a straightened wire hanger to clear it out. Sending a bleach mixture or algaecide treatment down the drain may help prevent future clogs.”
Broken Blower Motor
A blower motor is the component within a home’s HVAC system, which blows heated air through vents.
“When the furnace runs, place your hand over a supply register. If you feel hot air exiting the vent, this means the motor is running like normal. If not, the motor has lost power for some reason and the furnace is switching itself off to prevent the heat exchanger from overheating. The fan relay might be broken or the blower motor belt might be worn out. A furnace repairman is your best bet for fixing these problems.”
A.Johnson provides homeowners in the Capital District with reliable furnace or boiler installation, repair and/or maintenance. We know furnaces and boilers are part of an integrated heating system that loses efficiency over time. Therefore, we offer routine maintenance plans and tune-ups that help increase the longevity and efficiency of your furnace or boiler.
Plus, we are here 24/7 to ensure your home and family are protected in the event of an emergency heating situation. Call A.Johnson and team today to learn about our heating services and how we can tackle your heating issues, such as a furnace not staying on or worse.