Posted on: 6 October 2021
In most of the country, HVAC usage follows a similar pattern. You probably start using your air conditioner in the late spring and turn it off for the season as summer draws to a close or early in the fall. On the other hand, late fall into early winter is when it's typically time to fire up the furnace, but what happens when your vents don't greet you with a comforting blast of warm air?
Unfortunately, early-season problems aren't unusual. Your furnace sits idle for many months, and sometimes this can cause issues when you need it. If your furnace isn't turning on or doesn't seem to be providing the power you expect, this guide will help you get to the bottom of the issue before winter's deep chill sets in.
What Are the Likely Causes of Early Season Failures?
Logically, you should expect that a furnace that worked last winter should work this winter. None of your furnace parts will wear while they aren't in use during the summer, so why won't your furnace fire up? In most cases, these failures result from a few simple maintenance issues, making them relatively easy to avoid in the future.
If your furnace shuts down immediately, it may be overheating. Restricted airflow can prevent your heat exchanger from remaining cool enough, ultimately causing your furnace to trigger a safety shut-off. Shutting down under these conditions is essential to avoid damaging the heat exchanger, potentially leading to dangerous exhaust fumes entering your home.
Your draft inducer is another potential early winter safety shut-off. The draft pressure switch ensures that the draft motor is pushing exhaust gases out of your home. If the exhaust vent becomes clogged, the motor will create insufficient negative pressure, causing your furnace to shut down. This safety feature protects you and prevents damage to your furnace and draft inducer motor.
Why Do These Failures Occur?
Your furnace may be overheating early in the season because of a dirty filter or a blocked vent. This airflow restriction may not have been sufficient to cause your air conditioner's compressor to shut down, but it may be enough to trigger your furnace's overheat protection. Checking your filter is an excellent first step when diagnosing any furnace problem.
Likewise, your draft pressure switch may trigger if there's an obstruction in the exhaust vent. Leaves or even rodents and birds may find their way in over the summer. When you turn your furnace on in the winter, these obstructions prevent the furnace's draft inducer from operating and trigger a shutdown. If you decide to check the vent yourself, make sure you turn your furnace off before you begin.
Remember that safety shut-offs exist to protect your home, appliances, and your family. Never attempt to force your furnace to run when it's automatically shutting down. If your furnace isn't working and the simple diagnostic steps above don't help you find the problem, it's time to call in professional help. Contact a heating repair company for more information.Share