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Common Furnace Troubles – What to Watch Out For

cold couple on a couch

We see every type of furnace problem in our line of work and especially during the colder seasons. To help you stay warm and cozy, here are the top problems we typically see with furnaces in the winter months. If you notice any of the problems described below, call up our capable technicians and we can prevent you from being left alone in the cold.

furnace repairman

Identify Which Furnace Odours Are Dangerous

It’s not uncommon for your furnace to give off an unpleasant smell when it’s fired up for the first time in the season, but there are some other odors that are indicative of a problem in your heating systems. If you begin detecting odd smells wafting through your homes this season, here are some things to keep in mind while you are getting help from a professional.

Persistent Musty or Dusty Smell

If you begin smelling a musty or dusty smell coming from your furnace, check to see if the air filters have been changed recently. These air filters can become clogged with contaminants that affect their capacity to flow smoothly and cause the musty odors.

Burning Smell

Furnaces can give off a burning smell for a number of reasons. If the smell is electrical, it could be that the motor in the furnace is overheating. This could be caused by worn strained bearings. This kind of issue can cause fire hazards which place your property at risk. If you begin to notice a burning smell coming from your furnace, shut the furnace off and contact your furnace maintenance professional as soon as possible.

Rotten Egg Smell

If you smell rotten eggs coming from your furnace this could be a gas leak. Natural gas is odourless and so a stinky chemical called Mercaptan is added so that it can be detected. This emergency should not be ignored. Open the windows and doors and call in a professional to help you. You should report the leak to the gas company or an HVAC professional ASAP.

Chemical Smell

A chemical smell could be an indication that your heat exchanger has become cracked and this could potentially be a serious problem. When this component leaks, it releases toxic carbon monoxide fumes into the home. This is dangerous and should be addressed by professionals as soon as possible. Vacate the building immediately if the carbon monoxide detectors go off.


Why is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

When the cold winds of winter drive you indoors for warmth, it can be disappointing to be met with another frigid breeze. Here are some of the reasons your furnace can blow cool air.

The Thermostat

The thermostat will need to be at a setting higher than the temperature of the room to blow a warm current of air. Of course, if your thermostat is in the ‘fan on’ position, you will feel room temperature recirculating air which may feel cool. Setting the thermostat to “AUTO” will only circulate the air when the furnace is on.

Your Air Filter

The air filter is another very important part of the air system and can cause cold air problems. If the air filter is dirty, the air flow can be restricted and sent back to the furnace. As the furnace gets warmer, the limit switch will automatically shut down the burner to avoid overheating but continue to run the fan. The furnace fan may also run any time the integrated control board senses any type of problem in the sequence of operation.

Your Duct System

Issues with the duct work can be another source of problems in some forced air systems. If there are leaks or poor insulation in your duct work, you may find that this flaw allows the air to be cooled before it enters your living spaces. There are other causes for cold furnaces including fuel supply issues, electrical problems and faulty pilots.

Not the Right Balance of Heat and Humidity

Another problem that can be fairly common in Ontario is excessively dry air. This happens for a number of reasons. For one, the cold winter air doesn’t hold moisture well. On top of this, the furnace system effectively dries out what little moisture may be left in the air. Having such an extreme lack of moisture in your homes, can be unhealthy and affect the comfort of your family. Balancing the humidity with the need for hat and warmth in your home will be essential.

indoor air quality

The Solution to Not Enough Humidity

The best solution will involve a whole-house humidifier that can help achieve this vital balance. The humidifier unit will connect to the furnace and receive moisture from the home’s plumbing. This appliance is especially low-maintenance and creates vapours that will be distributed throughout the home. The amount of humidity distributed throughout the home can be adjusted through the humidistat control.

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