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Top Five Causes of Furnace Failures

When the snow is blowing and your furnace gives out there is little solace in knowing that the failure was likely preventable. As the temperatures fall it is always a good idea to give your furnace a once-over to ensure that it’s in proper operating condition.

While a furnace is made up of many different parts and systems, the five most common reasons it can fail are:

  1. Dirty or clogged filters – The air filter inside of your furnace is designed to prevent dust/pollen/particulates from being circulated throughout your home. However, many people don’t realize than an air filter is also designed to keep your furnace operating efficiently. A furnace may become inoperable when an air filter gets so dirty that it prevents the free-flow of air. To prevent this, check your furnace filter regularly (at least once every three months) and replace it if it is clogged or damaged.
  2. Broken Thermostat – While not technically a reason why the furnace has failed, a furnace may not operate if the attached thermostat is malfunctioning. Always troubleshoot your thermostat before moving on to test the furnace for faults or damage.
  3. Pilot Light/Electrical Ignition Failure – Your furnace may have a pilot light or an electrical ignition system (depending on how old it is). If the pilot light/ignition system fail, a gas fuelled furnace will not be able to ignite the burners, and thus not heat will be produced. Ensure that this item is checked regularly (at least annually with your regular maintenance) to prevent possible failures.
  4. The blower motor – If the blower motor (also called the fan motor) has failed on your furnace no warm air will be circulated throughout your home. The furnace may ignite and engage properly, but a failed blower motor will not activate and no air will be circulated. The blower motor is part of a system of components designed to circulate air: inspect the fan motors, belts, and bearings regularly and replace any items showing obvious signs of wear.
  5. Fuel supply problems – Most Albertan furnaces are fuelled by natural gas. A problem with the fuel supply will prevent the furnace from operating. Unfortunately, due to the volatile and toxic nature of natural gas, it is recommended that a professional service any issues related to gas lines.

Regular and proper maintenance of the items listed above will greatly reduce the number of failures/breakdowns that your furnace will experience over the course of its lifetime. As well, regular maintenance will also help keep your furnace operating efficiently.

Our furnace tune-up includes replacement of the furnace filter as well as a check up of the items listed above.

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