It can be especially frustrating to turn on your furnace during a frigid day and not have it put out enough heat. There are a number of common reasons why furnace output may not be as high as it should be. Most of them require professional help in order to fix. Still, there’s no harm in finding out a bit more about why your furnace might be having this particular problem. Read on for some possible reasons why your furnace isn’t heating enough, and what you should do about it.
The Air Filter is Clogged
This is perhaps one of the best-case scenarios. Most homeowners are unaware that they actually do need to change out their furnace air filter every three months or so while using it. If the filter isn’t changed often enough, it will become clogged and prevent much of the air in the ducts from entering the furnace. Less air entering the furnace means less air for the system to heat and distribute throughout the home. If you know how to change your air filter, do it and see if that restores your furnace output. Otherwise, have a professional take care of it for you.
The Pilot Light is Out
If your furnace is one that uses a standing pilot light, look and make sure that it’s still burning. If not, you may have found the source of your problem. Without the pilot light, the burner assembly can’t ignite and produce heat for the furnace to use. Relight the pilot light and try to start the furnace again. If your system doesn’t use a standing pilot light, then you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
The System is Short Cycling
If your furnace is turning itself on and off every couple of minutes instead of completing a full heating cycle, that means that it’s short cycling. Short cycling is a serious issue typically caused by electrical issues in the furnace, causing it to overheat. In the short-term, short cycling prevents the furnace from providing enough heat because it cannot complete its heating cycle. Long-term, though, things get much more serious.
A furnace that is left to short cycle will accumulate wear and tear at a much faster rate than it should. This will make the furnace more and more prone to breaking down as condition goes on. Eventually, this can shorten the lifespan of the furnace by a number of years if it isn’t treated. Make sure that you call for a professional as soon as possible after you notice this problem.
The Air Handler is Broken
The air handler is the part of the furnace that blows air throughout the house while the system is operating. If there is no air flowing through the ducts, even if the furnace is on, then it means the air handler is probably malfunctioning in some way. You’re going to need a technician to examine it for you to determine what exactly the problem is, though.