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Top 5 Causes of Central Heating Breakdowns

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Your furnace is the core of your home’s heating system, and with proper use and regular maintenance, your furnace may last over 20 years. However, even newer furnaces can have their share of hiccups. Fortunately, most of those problems are preventable, and you can also troubleshoot some of them without a technician.

Below, we’ll discuss the top five reasons why central heating systems fail and provide some basic troubleshooting tips for the more straightforward issues.

1. Clogged Air Filter

Overly dirty air filters are the top cause of furnace breakdowns. A dust-clogged air filter restricts the amount of air that flows through your heating system. This can result in weak airflow from your air vents, as well as overheating issues, which can cause your system to shut down repeatedly or fail altogether.

Filter issues are easy to avoid. Just make sure to check on the filter monthly and to change it or clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most filters are disposable with a recommended lifespan of up to 90 days.

2. Thermostat Failure

If you’re experiencing problems with your heating system, your thermostat could be the culprit. First, check to make sure that it’s set to “heat” rather than “cool” or “on.” If that’s not the issue, the batteries might be dead. If you’ve changed the batteries and checked the settings but are still experiencing issues, your thermostat may need to be recalibrated, repaired, or replaced.

3. Tripped Circuit Breaker

Your central heating system uses a tremendous amount of power to turn on and run. In some cases, this will cause the circuit breaker associated with your heating system to trip, cutting off the power supply.

If your heater shuts off suddenly, go to your home’s circuit breaker panel to see if a breaker has been tripped. If so, switch it back into position so that power will flow to your heater once again. If this issue occurs rarely, it is usually not a cause for concern--however, if your system frequently trips the breaker, it’s best to consult an HVAC technician to inspect the issue.

4. Problems with Fuel Supply or Ignition

Ignition needs to occur inside your furnace before your heating system can produce heat. There are several reasons why your furnace may experience ignition issues. The gas line to your furnace might be shut off, interrupted, or leaking.

There might also be an issue with the pilot light or the ignition sensor (the device that “tells” your furnace that the pilot light is working). If your furnace can’t tell that the pilot light is working, it’s going to shut down as a safety measure to stop releasing flammable gas.

If ignition failure occurs, your furnace might only be overdue for some regular maintenance, which is an easy fix. Whatever the case, with gas-related heating issues, it’s best to consult an HVAC technician to address the situation.

5. Faulty Blower Motor (aka, Fan Motor)

The blower motor’s job is to move or “blow” warm air from your furnace through the air vents of your HVAC system into your home. If the blower motor is not working correctly, hot and cool air will not move efficiently through your furnace (or your home). This can lead to your furnace overheating and shutting down.

The concentration of heat can also result in a cracked heat exchanger. Even though a cracked heat exchanger won’t result in immediate furnace failure, it will leak carbon monoxide, an issue that should be taken very seriously.

The best way to discover and prevent problems like this is to schedule an annual inspection and maintenance for your home’s heating system. Not only will your system run more efficiently, but you’ll have the opportunity to address any issues before they result in a costly repair or replacement.

Contact Moe Plumbing Services today for expert heating services in Los Angeles: (818) 396-8002.

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