3 Common Des Moines Furnace Problems


Every year we turn on the heat when the weather gets cold in Des Moines.  The automatic thermostat for the furnace should stay at roughly the same level throughout the year to help regulate your home’s temperature to a comfortable level. Every year, we get calls for furnace problems and most of them are simple problems.

In the end, they all boil down to three basic states:

  1. the heat cycles on and off too often
  2. the vent has air but no heat
  3. the furnace never turns on

1. Constant Furnace Cycling

If you’ve noticed a sharp increase in your energy bill, it might be due to constant cycling.  A properly sized, well-maintained heating system balances on and off cycles for maximum energy efficiency. If your system stays on for an extended period and shuts off for only a few minutes at a time or clicks on and off every 5 minutes, you aren’t running at the most effective level.

So what can you do? Check your air filter first.  If it’s extremely dirty, or more than 6 months old, change it out. A dirty air filter restricts airflow and forces your furnace to work harder than it normally would.  Restricted airflow means that your furnace will work longer to reach the same temperatures, so check for closed vents and registers in the house as well.

If it still cycles too often, check your thermostat.  If it’s set too high it can be difficult for your furnace to keep up.  Try lowering it a few degrees and putting on a sweater. Calling a service tech to check and see if the blower fan and thermostat are operating properly won’t hurt either.

2. No Heat

Worse than finding out your furnace won’t turn on is finding out that it’s been moving nothing but cold air into the room for that last 15 minutes. Of course, the obvious answer to this is that your furnace is no longer producing heat, to begin with.  Check your thermostat before you move to the furnace.  If the switch is set to “fan” rather than “auto,” the blower fan will continue to run without heat. This is supposed to keep the warm air moving throughout your home to keep everything the same temperature but it can feel like it’s cooling the entire house instead.

Next, check the fuel system for your furnace.  If it’s empty, schedule a refuel.  It might not be a bad idea to contact a technician to check your system for fuel leaks as well.  If your fuel levels show fine (or you use an electric furnace) and the thermostat is set to “auto” you might have an issue with your pilot light or heating element. Unfortunately, this will need a licensed technician for repair.

3. No Air At All

The worst-case scenario is that your heating system shuts off completely.  A quick check of your circuit breaker will tell you if it’s an electrical issue.  If the furnace breaker has tripped, flip the breaker and keep an ear out for a second trip. If your breaker continues to trip, there’s an electrical problem and you’ll need a technician to examine the system.

Another simple explanation is a signal control from the thermostat might be faulty.  If you don’t hear the satisfying click of your furnace activating when the temperature falls below the setting on the thermostat, it may not even be aware that it’s too cold and should turn on.  This may be a simple fix, or it may require a replacement entirely.

Of course, other problems will need further diagnosis. A call for a trained Des Moines furnace technician is the best way to ensure that you receive the quickest repair available.

Heating and Cooling Des Moines Since 1997

At Service Legends, we take pride in heating and cooling Des Moines and the surrounding areas. Our HVAC services include furnace and air conditioner installation, repairs, maintenance, and tune-ups. Our lineup of Indoor Air Quality solutions includes whole-home humidifiers, air purifiers, and air filtration systems. We can even help with HVAC financing.

Call 515-657-6634 to contact our Home Comfort Heroes today. We’re standing by 24/7.

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