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

In Indianapolis, Indiana, homeowners need a furnace that delivers reliable heat when winter rolls around. If your furnace can’t keep up, you experience uncomfortable conditions during the coldest months of the year. Homeowners need functional furnaces, but sometimes units become obsolete without proper attention throughout their service life. If you find your furnace acts up regularly, it’s time to seek professional assistance.

The HVAC technicians at Williams Comfort Air know how to handle furnace problems of every type and size. Furnace issues often present in several common ways, which makes it easier for technicians to diagnose the problem. We discuss those problems and their causes to help homeowners understand their heating system better. We also cover all of the repairs and replacements professionals perform to improve the overall quality of your furnace.

Problems When Your Furnace Can’t Keep Up

Many homeowners experiences issues with the heating when their furnaces are on the fritz. If a furnace can’t keep up with the homeowner’s needs, the problems often seem like a minor frustration at first. Oftentimes, the struggles homeowners experience are efficiency and comfort related, though there are other issues as well. Don’t put off furnace repairs just because the problem at hand doesn’t seem big enough to you – simple issues lead to more serious problems the longer the furnace operates under malfunctioning conditions. These are some of the most common concerns homeowners experience with an insufficient furnace.

  • Poor comfort. The main function of a furnace is to keep you warm when it’s cold outside. If a furnace can’t keep up with this simple duty, homeowners face cold temperatures with no way to stay comfortable. This issue stems from a few different causes, but the impact on the homeowner remains the same—with no heat or not enough heat, the furnace is essentially useless. 

  • Poor temperature control. Some experience heat, but only in parts of the home. Every room in the house needs to be the same temperature or the temperature the homeowner specifically sets for each room when zoning systems are in use. If the temperature varies room to room for no explainable reason, the furnace needs attention.

  • Low efficiency. Efficiency impacts more than you think. Low efficiency in a furnace means the unit uses more energy than necessary to heat your home. Excess energy consumption is a tell-tale sign that your furnace can’t keep up. Not only does this waste its power source—which is propane or natural gas in most cases—it also means the unit doesn’t function properly. A furnace must use its energy efficiently to effectively heat your home. 

  • Higher bills. Along with those pitfalls, low efficiency also impacts your bills. Energy waste causes your bills to increase. If the system has to work harder to produce a lesser amount of heat, that results in higher utility bills. Homeowners easily recognize this problem with a look at their heating bills – if they rise without other explanation, this points to a furnace performance problem.

  • Poor air quality. The quality of your air is just as important as the temperature. When the air quality decreases, homeowners experience more allergy symptoms, air pollutants, and an overall increase in dust around the home. When furnaces can’t keep up, problems with air quality typically arise.

  • Noises. Lastly, homeowners often experience noises when the furnace can’t keep up. Any new, consistent noise from the furnace usually means something is amiss. Not only are these noises annoying, but they cause concern for many homeowners.

What Are the Causes of an Insufficient Furnace?

All of the problems result from numerous malfunctions that affect furnaces. Though the issues seem normal if you live with them for months on end, they actually have direct causes and impact your home in negative ways. Plus, the continued operation of your heating system with these issues present often creates more extensive damage, which is more costly to repair. While some of these issues are easy to diagnose, others are hard to spot when you have no previous experience. If your furnace can’t keep up, these are likely the reasons why.

  • Dirty filters. When filters become dirty, they are unable to effectively clear the air of impurities and keep contaminants out of the HVAC system. Plus, a dirty filter stops the furnace from receiving proper airflow – airflow blockages are common when a furnace can’t keep up. Homeowners must change filters on their own per the instructions given by the manufacturer. It’s also good to check the filters each month to see if they need an early change or if you notice a negative change in the air quality.

  • Heat exchanger. The heat exchanger adds heat to the air that circulates through the heating system. If the heat exchanger cracks or malfunctions in any way, your air does not gain heat. Problems with the heat exchanger make the home colder and potentially expose the household to dangerous carbon monoxide. If your furnace can’t keep up and blows out cold air, the heat exchanger is likely the reason.

  • Blower belt. Your furnace can’t keep up if the blower belt slips or frays. The blower belt ensures the blower motor and fans turn like they should to circulate heated air into the home, which means frays and slips affect how the furnace functions. You likely experience a squealing noise as well. Homeowners are able to replace belts on their own, but if problems persist, you need a technician to help with the blower motor.

  • Thermostat. Though it seems simple, if your furnace can’t keep up, the thermostat often has something to do with it. If you have inconsistent heat through the home, or if you experience frequent on-and-off cycles, the thermostat is likely the cause.

  • Lack of maintenance. Annual maintenance for your HVAC systems helps your furnace stay functional throughout the year, and for many years to come. If you skip maintenance checks, you likely experience at least one—if not all—of the problems above. Your furnace can’t keep up without regular maintenance to the system, as parts experience wear and tear over the years (which maintenance helps prevent).

  • Age. Older systems also have a hard time with basic, everyday functions due to the wear and tear they experience over the years. If your furnace can’t keep up, check how long you’ve had it. Furnaces typically last at least 10 years, but no more than 20 in most cases. With regular maintenance, homeowners often extend that lifespan, but any unit older than about 15 years needs more attention than newer systems.

  • Unit size. Finally, the size of the unit impacts the quality of your heating. A furnace must be able to heat all of the rooms in your home. However, if the system is too small, the furnace is unable to do this. On the other hand, if the furnace is too big for your space, the home becomes too warm, and the excess energy usage becomes a waste. This problem is only corrected by replacing your furnace.

How Professionals Fix Issues When Your Furnace Can’t Keep Up

Some problems are fixable with at-home methods, so if your furnace can’t keep up, there are some areas you are able to check first. Filter changes and blower belt replacements are both tasks homeowners are able to complete on their own. However, there are several issues only HVAC technicians are able to solve. When homeowners attempt these fixes alone, they often cause more harm than good. These are all repairs better left to the professionals.

  • Preventative maintenance. Firstly, annual maintenance visits ensure the furnace receives professional care once a year. This helps the furnace run better on the whole. During maintenance visits, technicians tune up the mechanics, locate any problems and help increase efficiency. Homeowners also experience fewer problems throughout the year when they receive maintenance. Have maintenance scheduled each year to help prevent performance issues.

  • Part replacement. HVAC technicians are able to perform replacements when necessary. Often, a malfunctioning component is to blame for a furnace that can’t keep up with household heating demand. Attempts to replace parts by the homeowner often leads to incorrect identification or installation, which causes you to need a technician anyway.

  • Upgrades. If your furnace can’t keep up because of its age, a technician helps upgrade your system. They help you choose the best furnace for you and your home, then install it. Avoid installation of a new furnace on your own. You want the installation done correctly the first time, so have a technician or two around to install the unit for you.

  • Thermostat replacement. Finally, issues with the thermostat have easy solutions when a professional becomes involved. Most of the time, the furnace and the thermostat aren’t communicating correctly, or the thermostat itself is too old. In both cases, a technician fixes the issue—either through repairs to the system or a thermostat replacement.

If Your Furnace Can’t Keep up, Call Williams Comfort Air

If your furnace can’t keep up with Indianapolis, Indiana’s winters, you need repairs or a replacement. Call Williams Comfort Air today to have a technician take a look at your system. They diagnose issues and fix them right on the spot.

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