5 Key Reasons Your Furnace Isn’t Working

reasons your furnace isnt working

Did you know that the average furnace has a lifespan of 20-40 years? Even if you’re not close to the time when it needs to be replaced, an old furnace can still cause a lot of problems. And ignoring them can cause costly repairs.

Eventually, everyone has home furnace issues. Whether yours is acting up or is still running great, it’s important to know the warning signs that it isn’t in good health. Keep reading to learn 5 key reasons why your furnace could stop working.

  1. A Circuit Breaker Is Shut Off

The first thing to check is whether or not your furnace problems are due to a tripped circuit breaker. This could be a simple solution that is remedied by resetting the breaker. But if it keeps happening, hire a professional to see why the circuit keeps getting overloaded.

  1. Thermostat Troubles

The next area to look at when you have a malfunctioning furnace is the thermostat. You might have it on the cool setting rather than the heat setting, or need to replace the batteries. There’s also a chance that the thermostat you are using is incompatible with the furnace, in which case you’d need to call a heating expert to have it replaced.

  1. Filter Needs Changing

Have you changed the air filter on your unit lately? Most experts recommend changing it every 3 months. If you don’t, it could get clogged and hinder the airflow and effectiveness of the furnace.

  1. Skipping Maintenance

One of the best ways to keep your furnace healthy is to schedule regular maintenance for it. These professional check-ups can help troubleshoot and keep your furnace in tip-top shape. Paying a little for a routine visit can save you big bucks by avoiding costly major repairs when something breaks.

  1. Electrical Problems

Finally, if you’ve ruled out the issues listed above, you may have an electrical issue. It could be bad wiring or a broken connection between the thermostat and the furnace. In that case, make sure you get professional help and never attempt a DIY repair.

Other Signs of Furnace Issues

You may need furnace repair if you notice certain signs like lingering odors, strange noises, and an inability to warm up properly. Repairing a furnace can be a complicated business if you have multiple issues, so if you notice one or more of those warning signs, get help–even if it seems like your furnace is still working great.

Make Sure Your Furnace Is Working!

Now that you know some of the reasons why your furnace isn’t working, you can get it repaired with confidence. While it may be for reasons as simple as a tripped circuit breaker or dead batteries in your thermostat, it’s better to know the signs–and when to call a professional for help. Many furnace issues can be avoided in the first place by establishing a regular maintenance routine, so start yours today!

Want to learn more useful home tips? Check out the rest of this site for other helpful articles!

Should you repair or replace your furnace? Here’s how to decide!

You need an energy-efficient and safe heating system to have a healthy environment at home. Keeping track of your furnace’s performance is crucial for a healthy environment. Details about the most common situations for your furnace issues come next.

Should you repair or replace your furnace

The furnace is 16-20 years old

When deciding if you have to repair or replace your furnace, one place to start is to check out its age. The average life span for residential furnaces ranges between 16 and 20 years. If your furnace is this age or getting closer, you shouldn’t waste time with repairs, but look for a new furnace. It’s not wise to postpone replacement; you shouldn’t make such a purchase because the current furnace is damaged. The operating environment is one of the many factors affecting the life span of the furnace. Make sure that a qualified technician services yours on a regular basis. He is the best to tell about the furnace’s condition and advise you further.


When your furnace is less than 15 years old, you can repair it.


Look for a new model if the furnace is older than 15 years.

For the last couple of years, the furnace needed several repairs

Furnaces are similar to cars. As time goes by, you need to replace one element today, another aspect in six months, and so on. Without even noticing, you spend over $500 for repairs to keep an old furnace running inefficiently. The risk of breakdowns in the last two years of their lives is high with furnaces.

Another sign to pay attention to is the time you need to wait for the replacement parts. As the age of the furnace, finding the replacement parts becomes more and more difficult. Why stay in the cold when you can very well go shopping?

Repair or replace?

How much money do you want to spend on endless repairs?

Your energy bills don’t stop increasing

There are many reasons why your energy bills get higher and higher every month, and a poorly performing furnace is one. In time, furnaces need to run longer to generate heat, which increases the energy bills. When you add up the costs for the high energy bills, you get to realize that buying a new and more energy-efficient furnace is a far better choice.

We recommend you compare the spending for the recent heating bills with those from previous years. If the difference is significant, you shouldn’t wait to buy a new unit.


Repair your furnace if it’s less than 15 years old and the spending for repair is less than half the replacement cost.


If the repair to keep the furnace energy efficient is expensive, purchasing a new model is better. A furnace replacement will be most cost-effective because you won’t constantly have to pay for repairs on an older model.

The burner flame is yellow

In the case of natural gas furnaces, the burner flame should be blue. Heating systems pose a risk of carbon monoxide emissions. Homeowners with old chimney-vented oil-fired furnaces don’t deal with safety worries like those using natural gas/propane models. It’s because oil-fired boilers and forced-air furnaces have a low risk of generating carbon monoxide. Qualified technicians have to maintain and clean the tanks once a year.

If your furnace runs on natural gas/propane and the flame is yellow and flickering, the furnace generates dangerous carbon monoxide. The following are also signs of carbon monoxide:

  • Absence of upward draft in the chimney
  • Streaks of soot around the furnace
  • Excessive rusting on flue pipes, appliance jacks, and pipe connections
  • Excess moisture on walls, windows, and cold surfaces
  • Rust on the part of the vent pipe that you can see from the outside
  • Water leaks at the base of the vent, chimney, or flue pipe

Always pay attention to your furnace and see if any of these signs are present. Install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your property, incredibly close to the furnace room.

The thermostat decreases the comfort inside

Do the rooms feel too hot or too cold? Do you constantly adjust the thermostat to improve the comfort inside? If so, your furnace can’t evenly spread the air and maintain the comfort in your home. Repairs could be necessary.

The furnace is loud

As they get old, furnaces become loud and produce all kinds of noises. Popping, banging, squealing, rattling noises that come from the furnace are never a good sign.

It’s the same with the furnace blower running excessively. Unsecured ductwork, unbalanced motor, motor failure, and deteriorating parts can all cause noises. Does the blower turn on and off and blows cold air? If so, you should look for a new furnace.

The furnace produces carbon monoxide

In time, the risk for the heat exchanger inside the furnace to crack is significant. If present, carbon monoxide leaks into your home without even you noticing it. Burning feeling in the eyes or nose, headaches, disorientation, nausea, and flu-like symptoms can all be signs of excess carbon monoxide in your home.

If you notice any of these symptoms, hurry up and open the window to the furnace room, air out the entire house, and contact a furnace servicing technician. Cracks in the heat exchanger can go undetected, and you shouldn’t wait to call the professionals. Cracked heat exchanger requires furnace replacement.

Your house is dusty and/or dry

Old furnaces lose the ability to clean and moisturize the air in your home. The air inside ends up feeling stale or stuffy. If any of your family members struggle with allergies from mold, dust, pollen, dander, and viruses, a clean air inside is crucial for their health. It’s the same for people dealing with a dry nose, dry skin, and dry throat. Static shocks, dust accumulation, furniture cracking, dropping plants, and even musical instruments that don’t stay in tune are all signs of dry air inside. An old furnace unable to offer the comfort you need is commonly the primary cause. Poor ventilation is another reason, so you need to do a proper investigation. If the old furnace is poor indoor air quality, replacing it with a new one is the best solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to repair the furnace on your own?

If you have the skills, tools, and some experience, you can troubleshoot and even fix your furnace on your own. For best results, we suggest you get a maintenance checklist for your furnace.

How much is it to have the professionals fix your furnace?

You will pay around $300 for average furnace repair, with costs ranging between $131 and $478. You will pay about $300 to fix an electric furnace and anything from $375 to $1,200 to repair a gas furnace. The latter is more complex than electric models. Typically, HVAC repair technicians charge $75 per hour, but the cost can go anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour.

How long should your furnace last?

As long as you stay on top of regular maintenance and necessary servicing, your furnace will last from 15 to 20 years. Be diligent with repairs so that your furnace lasts as expected.

Do plumbers repair furnaces?

Furnaces don’t necessarily relate to plumbing, but experienced plumbers know their way around furnaces as well. The most skilled and knowledgeable plumbers can fix heat pumps, forced air furnaces, floor furnaces, etc. They can also advise you when the furnace is beyond repair and needs replacement.

When should you service a furnace?

It would help if you serviced your gas furnace at least once a year. Ideally, you should do it twice, in the spring and fall. Annual maintenance includes inspecting and cleaning the parts that typically malfunction: the pilot light, the fan, air filter, and heat exchanger. You can avoid problems with regular maintenance.

About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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