Common Heating & Furnace Problems

There are a lot of reasons as to why your furnace and heating system may need to be repaired.

Every home and business owner hopes that these situations won’t occur during cold and winter seasons because they can be a really big dilemma.

Below you can find a list of the five (5) most common reasons why furnaces or heating systems may need to undergo repair:

 

Lack of consistent maintenance

You will need to invest a serious amount of money just to purchase your preferred home heating system.

It doesn’t stop there, however, as proper and regular maintenance is a must in order to keep your home heating system in effective working order.

If this is overlooked, you are likely to experience unexpected furnace breakdowns, increased energy costs, and a poorly performing unit, all of which add up to frustration.

 

Clogged filters

A regular and consistent replacement of the filter in your furnace is one of the vital things you can do to extend the life and efficiency of your furnace.

If the filters of the unit are clogged, it restricts the airflow.

The heating unit has to generate more energy and work harder to circulate the warm air throughout the home. It strains the unit and creates thermal comfort issues.

 

Mechanical wear and tear

Your furnace contains many parts and mechanical components to sustain operations. Wear and tear on any of these parts may result in performance issues.

Worn out belts and bearings cause furnace overheating, and problems in the fan motor can lead to poor heating.

 

Pilot or ignition control problems

Along with other mechanical parts, your furnace’s ignition control could be malfunctioning, causing intermittent or no heat.

The hot surface ignition system uses resistance heating elements (somewhat like a filament in a light bulb) controlled electronically to ignite the gas burner.

The intermittent pilot system is also electronically controlled.

When the thermostat signals the furnace for heat, the pilot system uses a high voltage electrical spark to ignite the gas pilot and then the main burners.

 

Thermostat malfunctions

This is the most common problem. Your furnace’s thermostat is the device that controls and determines when heat is to be produced and how much.

Problems with your thermostat can result in no heat, no fan to force the hot air through your home, or intermittent heat which results in comfort problems.

 

What to Check Before Calling an HVAC Contractor

 

Ensure your furnace is getting the power it needs

Check the fuse box for any tripped or ripped circuit breakers,  which could be indicators of electrical system issues

 

Ensure that the furnace power switch has been switched ON

Since furnaces can be tucked into tight, confining spaces or closets, the switch can easily be accidentally switched “Off”. Look for the power switch mounted on the side of the furnace.

It may also include a liftable metal housing containing a fuse. If the fuse is blackened and burnt, then it will need to be replaced.

 

 

Check outside to ensure that nothing is obstructing the fresh air intake and the exhaust

There are some furnace vents that do not go through chimneys but instead run through the side of the house. 

As a result, at times, windblown leaves, insects, and moisture can interfere with the proper functioning of the heating system. It is best to consult a licensed contractor to help you out with these issues.

It is best to consult a licensed contractor to help you out with these issues.

 

Check the thermostat settings

Make certain your thermostat has been set to “heat” and that it is set to a temperature high enough for the furnace to come on. While that sounds obvious, it’s a small detail that is easily forgotten by a worried homeowner.

While that sounds obvious, it’s a small detail that is easily forgotten by a worried homeowner.

 

Check the thermostat batteries

Many programmable thermostats feature a flashing “low battery” icon on their control screen. If you see a “low battery” warning, promptly replace the batteries with new ones.

 

Check the furnace filters

Air filters trap dust, hair, and other particles in the air and, over time, the filter gets so full of debris that it can restrict air flowing through your furnace system.

 

How Much Does Furnace Repair Costs

Cost of furnace repairs

Identifying an average furnace repair cost is quite difficult because technicians may need to deal with a broad range of components. There are technically about 50 parts inside of a furnace and any one of these can cause the problem. The details below discuss the three most common furnace repairs and the cost associated with each:

The details below discuss the three most common furnace repairs and the cost associated with each:

 

Ø  Ignitors and flame sensors – A bad ignitor is responsible for 80% of furnace repairs. Repairs and replacements usually happen in emergency situations which can rack up prices to between $300 and $400 with the addition of after hours or emergency fees. Regular maintenance should keep ignitors clean, but if too much time passes, they can become too dirty to save. If not remedied in time, gunky ignitors can cause a cascade of other issues.

 

Ø  Thermostat – From a cost perspective, a faulty thermostat is probably the best case scenario for furnace repair. If the batteries are dead, popping in new ones should resume communication between the thermostat and furnace. If you need a thermostat replacement, a basic model can run as little as $20, plus the service charge for installation. More advanced options, such as automated thermostats, can cost $200 or more.

 

Ø  Furnace motors

o   Draft inducer motors, for example, may cost $400 to $700.

o   Blower motors, on the other hand, tend to be more available because they’re based on size and horsepower, making them universal. They potentially cost more, though, running between $400 and $1,500 depending on size and sophistication.

 

Types of Heater Repair Cost Estimates

 

Various types of furnaces will come with differing repair sticker prices. As a result, understanding the type of furnace in your home is your first step to understanding your repair costs.

 

Ø  Electric Furnace – Repair costs will depend on both the brand and the exact nature of the problem but tend to be lower than some of the other options. Expect to spend less than $300 on your electric furnace repair, depending on the exact problem.

 

Ø  Propane Gas Furnace – This type of furnace is fueled by liquid propane gas, which is burned to push hot air through your home. A pilot light ignites the burners within a combustion chamber, which pushes heat into the heat exchanger and eventually through your entire home.

o   Repair damaged flame sensor = up to $375

o   Replace a gas valve = up to $675

o   Replace heat exchanger = up to $1,200

 

Ø  Natural Gas Furnace – Natural gas furnaces operate similarly to the above, using a pilot light to ignite the burners and heat up the air. Also similar to propane gas, your average repair costs for a natural gas furnace will range anywhere from $125 for small repairs to $1,200 if you have to replace the entire heat exchanger.

 

Ø  Forced Air Heating – Forced air heating is possible with electric or gas furnaces, or a heat pump. Any issues with this delivery system that aren’t directly related to the furnace likely have to do with the air handling unit or the ductwork. Ductwork can cost between $35 and $55 per linear square foot to repair.

 

Ø  Boiled Repair Costs – The most common issues with hot water heating tend not to reveal themselves in the form of a major breakdown, but in small problems that add up over time. On average, you will pay between $183 and $582 for these problems.

 

Ø  Heat Pump – The cost to repair a heat pump, again, depends on the specific problem. Replacing a faulty thermostat may cost up to $300 including labor, while a worn or damaged defrost control board can set you back up to $600.

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Estimated Price of Repairing Furnace Parts

 

Given the broad price ranges above, it’s easy to recognize that the cost of your furnace repair varies drastically based on which parts need attention. As a result, it makes sense to gain a better understanding of the parts that heat your home, and how much they cost to repair. Some of the most common parts needing repairs are the blower motor, heat exchanger, furnace ignitor, flame sensors, and the thermostat. Estimated prices for repairs of each are listed below.

Some of the most common parts needing repairs are the blower motor, heat exchanger, furnace ignitor, flame sensors, and the thermostat. Estimated prices for repairs of each are listed below.

Some of the most common parts needing repairs are the blower motor, heat exchanger, furnace ignitor, flame sensors, and the thermostat. Estimated prices for repairs of each are listed below.

 

Ø  Blower Motor – Blower motor repair typically costs between $150 for a simple fix, and $450 for complete replacement and installation of the part.

 

Ø  Heat Exchanger – Over time, cracks in the exchanger can result in carbon monoxide leaks. Taking care of the problem once again means understanding the existence of a range: repairing your heat exchanger can cost as little as $100, but a full replacement may cost up to $1,200.

 

Ø  Igniters – Fortunately, furnace igniter repair doesn’t tend to be a major budget problem, and costs less than $300 on average.

 

Ø  Flame sensors – To repair your furnace flame sensor, expect to spend between $80 and $250. Even a full replacement of this part typically does not go above that range.

 

Ø  Thermostat – Average thermostat repair costs are between $108 and $282, including labor. Replacement costs, of course, depend on the thermostat you choose.

 

Repairing versus Replacement – What to consider

 

A number of other variables can influence your decision on whether to repair or replace your furnace, as well. In addition to cost and brand, consider the expected lifetime of your furnace.

If it is more than 15 years old, it might make more sense to invest in a new unit even if it costs more than simply repairing the current problem.

Long-term costs also play into the equation. To make your decision, consult with a reliable professional on what to do. After inspecting your furnace, they will be able to make an informed recommendation that looks not just at the next year, but years into the future. That way, you can make the best possible decision for your home and budget long-term.

That way, you can make the best possible decision for your home and budget long-term.

After inspecting your furnace, they will be able to make an informed recommendation that looks not just at the next year, but years into the future. That way, you can make the best possible decision for your home and budget long-term.

 

Furnace Maintenance Tips

 

Ø  Annual Furnace Inspections – Typically, your furnace inspection will cost between $80 and $150 depending on the area in which you live and the professional you work with.

 

Ø  Changing the Furnace Filters – Costs for new filters range based on brand but tend to be around $30.

 

Quote for Furnace Repair

 

Ultimately, the cost to repair your furnace depends on a wide range of variables. From the brand of the units to the damaged or broken parts, you need a reliable and trusted professional who can evaluate the issue and recommend the next steps.

If you’re unsure whether to repair or replace your furnace or even where to begin, connect with a local furnace repair professional who can make sure that your home heats well, both now and in the future.

 

 

References

http://www.aaaheatingandcoolinginc.com/10-common-furnace-problems-repairs/

https://www.enercare.ca/home/furnace/furnace-repair

http://www.improvenet.com/r/costs-and-prices/furnace-repair-maintenance-cost-estimat

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