What Should You Do if Your Furnace Can't Keep up with Your Heating Needs?

Furnace can’t keep up with the needs of your home? You aren’t the only one who has trouble with this issue. Many homeowners struggle with their furnace during the winter months. Problems such as less heat, poor air quality, and more cause a negative impact on your comfort at home. Most homeowners try to fix minor issues on their own, but it’s almost always better to call a professional. They have the proper tools to perform the correct repairs and replacements to fix your furnace.

Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling in Louisville, Kentucky, helps homeowners understand the problems caused when your furnace can’t keep up. We also cover how those issues arise and how HVAC technicians deal with them. The benefits of professional repairs go beyond better furnace performance—your whole home reaps the rewards!

Common Problems When Your Furnace Can’t Keep Up

There are several problems homeowners encounter when the furnace acts up. These issues seem like minor inconveniences, but they usually point to significant issues with your heating system. When problems occur in your heating system, it’s important to take note of when they start and how often they occur. This ensures you have all the information you need to present to your technician. Here are the most common issues.

  • Higher bills. The biggest source of frustration when your furnace can’t keep up is the increase in bills. Many homeowners experience higher bills when the furnace doesn’t work properly. Furnaces use more energy when they don’t function well, which adds to the bills. Even though you don’t benefit from that energy usage, you still pay for it.

  • Poor air quality. Air quality changes for the worse when the furnace can’t keep up. With filtration issues, homeowners experience minor health issues like increases in allergy symptoms, coughing, and dry eyes. Many homeowners don’t even know the furnace is able to impact people in this way!

  • Noises. When some parts break or slip, they cause loud noises in the furnace. Homeowners often hear these noises and assume the worst, but that’s not always the case. However, some noises do indicate larger problems, so it’s always best to contact a technician to find the root of the problem.

  • Poor temperature control. A furnace that runs at its best delivers even temperature control across the home. When the furnace can’t keep up, homeowners lose temperature control and often feel differences in warmth from room to room. Sometimes, the temperature varies from area to area in one room as well. Functional furnaces keep the home one even temperature, so differences indicate an issue.

  • Low efficiency. Efficiency relates to how well the furnace uses the energy it is given by the power source. For example, in a gas furnace, if the system uses more propane or natural gas than necessary, its efficiency drops. Poor use of energy leads to energy waste, higher bills, and more negative impacts to the environment.

  • Poor comfort. Finally, if a furnace can’t keep up with your comfort needs, then there’s a problem. The main goal of the furnace is to heat your home to your liking, and if it can’t do that, then it’s just a hunk of metal. The furnace either blows air that isn’t warm enough, or doesn’t blow air at all when this problem occurs. In either case, homeowners need an HVAC technician to diagnose the issue and restore heat to the home.

The Reasons Why Your Furnace Can’t Keep Up

When a furnace loses function in one or more of its parts, it stops providing your home with warmth when you need it most. There are several reasons why a furnace can’t keep up, and each requires the expertise of an HVAC technician to restore its functionality. A couple of causes are easy for homeowners to fix, but those are few and far between for the most part. These causes are all possible when the furnace stops working at its best.

  • Blower belt. This first problem is fixable in under 30 minutes in most cases. Additionally, it’s one of the only problems a homeowner is able to solve. When blower belts fray or slip, the furnace produces high-pitch noises. Luckily, homeowners solve this problem by replacing the belt. This takes care of the noise and improves the functionality of the blower motor. If you aren’t comfortable doing so, call a technician to perform this repair.

  • Dirty filters. Filters are another issue homeowners solve on their own. When the filter becomes too dirty, it ceases to clean the air in the system. As a result, the air in your home circulates more dust, dirt, and dander, and these contaminants build up in the system which causes performance issues. Replace the air filter as often as the manufacturer instructs. Additionally, check the filter every month to see if it needs an early change.

  • Heat exchanger. The heat exchanger warms the air in the furnace before it circulates through the vents and into your home. If the heat exchanger cracks or malfunctions, air does not gain enough heat. This results in cold air blowing through the system, or no air at all. If your furnace can’t keep up with hot air creation, it becomes useless. Only technicians are able to fix heat exchanger issues. This is an issue you don’t want to put off, as a damaged heat exchanger may also expose your family to carbon monoxide.

  • Burners. Burners combust fuel to provide the heat exchanger with the heat it uses to warm the air. When issues with the burners arise, the furnace can’t keep up with heat distribution, which results in a cold home. Burner problems are dangerous to handle alone, so call a technician to properly inspect the issue and safely resolve the problem.

  • Unit size. Furnaces can’t keep up with the needs of the home if the size doesn’t match the space. For example, if the unit is too small for the home, it struggles to properly heat all the rooms. On the other hand, if the unit is too large, heat overwhelms every room, and energy waste increases. A technician helps you choose the correct size furnace for your home.

  • Lack of maintenance. HVAC technicians use maintenance visits as a time to check on the system as a whole. If you don’t schedule annual maintenance, preventable problems are more likely to occur. With furnace maintenance, homeowners experience fewer repairs and replacements and see an improvement in efficiency.

  • Age. Older systems lose functionality naturally because the mechanics become too worn over time. Most systems last about 15 years with annual maintenance, so if your furnace is approaching this milestone and you experience frequent problems, it’s time to consider a new system. An old furnace can’t keep up with all the new technology available to lower efficiency, so it’s better to invest in a new one when the unit nears the end of its lifespan.

  • Thermostat. Finally, thermostats allow homeowners to control the temperature in the home. However, if the thermostat doesn’t properly communicate with the furnace, homeowners experience irregular temperatures throughout their spaces. Thermostat issues also cause frequent on-and-off cycles, which wastes energy.

How Professionals Deal with the Issues

If a furnace can’t keep up, and you’ve performed all of the at-home fixes possible, it’s time to contact a professional. HVAC technicians inspect the system and search for the root of the problem. Though many homeowners want to fix furnace issues on their own, it often proves more difficult than they realize. You want correct installation and reliable repairs the first time, so it’s always better to call a pro. Here are some common repairs that may be needed if your furnace can’t keep up:

  • Pilot light. Beyond relighting the flame when it goes out, homeowners need to call a technician when problems occur with pilot lights, which are still in place in many older furnaces. This ensures the issue resolves in the safest way possible.

  • Preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance ensures all preventable problems stay under wraps for the system’s entire lifespan. If your furnace can’t keep up, it likely went without maintenance during its life. Without maintenance, homeowners experience more problems and are often left to pay for the repairs and replacements in full because the manufacturer often stipulates annual maintenance as necessary in the warranty.

  • Part replacement. Part replacements are often needed to restore proper heating in a home. Incorrect installation of a part or misidentification of the problem component lead to more expenses and issues, but when a tech performs the task, you know it’s done right. This saves you time and money.

  • Thermostat upgrades. Additionally, thermostat issues seem easy to handle, but often require the help of an HVAC tech to properly solve the problem. A lot of times, the issue lies with how the thermostat and furnace communicate. Most homeowners don’t know how to fix this issue, which means a tech is necessary. When upgrading a thermostat, work with a knowledgeable technician to find a new model that is both compatible with your heating system and offers the energy efficiency features you desire.

If Your Furnace Can’t Keep up, Trust in Jarboe’s to Fix It

If your furnace can’t keep up, you need the help of an HVAC technician. They are the only ones with the knowledge necessary to find the cause of the problem and solve it.

In Louisville, Kentucky, homeowners turn to Jarboe's Heating, Cooling & Plumbing to help with their furnace issues. For more information on our services, give us a call today!

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