Star City Heating & Cooling has seen it all—so we’re here to tell you all about the most common furnace problems Nebraska homeowners face and what you can do to fix them! Learn about
Nebraska gets chilly in the wintertime—but that’s what your furnace is for! The challenge for many Lincoln homeowners is to recognize common furnace problems and fix them before they have a chance to become serious inconveniences or costly emergencies.
That’s where Star City’s expert home comfort team comes in. We’ve performed furnace repairs throughout Lincoln, NE and the surrounding areas, so we know all about the things that are most likely to go wrong with your heating system and the best ways to address them. Read on to spot the signs of an impending furnace failure and know when to tackle them yourself or call our professionals for help.
What Are the Most Common Furnace Problems in Nebraska?
Homeowners in Nebraska encounter a few common issues with their furnaces—including frequent cycling, ignition problems, and poor air quality. These issues can result from typical wear and tear, but they’re often exacerbated by the harsh Nebraska winters, which can cause furnaces to work extra hard during the year’s coldest months.
Cycling between “On” and “Off” more often than usual can be a clear sign that your furnace isn’t functioning properly. Causes might include:
- A clogged filter
- Improper air circulation caused by a blocked or leaky duct
- A faulty thermostat
Can You Fix It Yourself?
If the issue is your air filter, it’s an easy fix—just clean the filter (if it’s reusable) or swap it out (if it’s disposable). However, if the issue is due to a faulty thermostat, it’s best to hire a professional. While you can change the batteries and adjust the settings yourself, calibrating a thermostat can be a complex process that’s best performed by pros.
The same goes for leaking or blocked ducts. While you can probably remove debris from your vents without too much trouble, accessing the interior of your ductwork is difficult (and can void your warranty if not done properly). Call us for duct cleaning and enjoy peace of mind knowing our team is on the job.
If your furnace fails to kick on (or starts and then shuts off abruptly), a faulty igniter could be the culprit. This is often caused by normal use over long periods of time, but a sudden power surge can also damage the igniter. In older furnaces with pilot lights, you might also notice the flame burning yellow or orange instead of blue—this could indicate a problem with your air intake valve.
Can You Fix It Yourself?
Nope; this requires professional furnace repairs. Igniters and intake valves are delicate components that require careful installation. Tampering with your igniter can not only void your furnace’s warranty, but can also create an electrical or fire hazard depending on the type of furnace you have.
Poor Air Quality
If the furnace seems to be running but your air smells strange, the air filter may be clogged. You might also notice that your house doesn’t seem to be getting warm fast enough for the amount of work the furnace is doing.
That’s because dust, debris, and allergens can build up on the filter over time, impeding airflow and making the furnace work harder. Ignoring this can accelerate wear and tear on your furnace’s components and drive up your utility bills each month.
Can You Fix It Yourself?
Fortunately, replacing or cleaning a furnace filter is easy! All you need to do is rinse your filter with cold water if it’s reusable or replace it with a new one if it’s not.
Furnace Safety Precautions for Nebraska Homeowners
Safety is paramount when dealing with furnaces. Here are some steps you can take to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and gas leaks.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors near every sleeping area in your home and check the batteries twice a year.
- Schedule regular professional furnace maintenance and inspections. Our team knows how to spot the signs of a carbon monoxide or gas leak and keep you safe.
- Ensure your furnace has adequate ventilation. A properly vented furnace reduces the risk of carbon monoxide buildup.
DIY Furnace Maintenance Tasks
Maintenance keeps your furnace functioning efficiently over the course of its lifespan and reduces the likelihood of high heating bills or emergency breakdowns. Here are a few things you can do by yourself to keep your furnace in good working condition:
- Change or clean your filter each month during the heating season.
- Keep the area around the furnace clean and unobstructed to ensure proper air circulation.
- Check the thermostat batteries and make sure it’s functioning correctly. This can be done by comparing the temperature it shows to the results of a separate room thermometer.
Professional Maintenance Tasks
Not all furnace maintenance is safe or practical for you to perform on your own. Here are a few tasks that should only be performed by a professional due to their complexity and associated risks:
- Checking for leaks in ductwork
- Inspecting the heat exchanger for cracks
- Working with the blower motor
- Adjusting electrical wiring
- Anything to do with your furnace’s igniter, fuel source, or air intake valves
For best results, schedule professional furnace maintenance at least once each year before you start using your heating equipment during the cooling season.
The more you learn about your furnace, the easier it is to recognize common problems and get the help you need fast. You can also learn about incentives to purchase new heating equipment so you can enjoy better home heating throughout each winter. Try the following:
- The U.S. Department of Energy offers an energy efficiency guide for furnaces.
- The Energy Star program offers various tax credits for new oil and natural gas furnaces.
- Check out our blog for handy furnace maintenance tips, buyer’s guides, and more.
And remember, help from experienced furnace professionals is only a call away! When you need help with your furnace for any reason, contact Star City Heating & Cooling. We’ll be happy to inspect your furnace, repair any broken or damaged parts, and provide you with new heating equipment if you’re replacing or upgrading your current model.