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3 Common Furnace Problems and Their Symptoms

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The winters can get quite chilly in the Seattle, WA area, and for several months of each year, you need to be able to rely on your furnace to stay comfortable. However, even if you take fantastic care of your heating system, problems can still arise now and then. Furnaces consist of numerous components working together to keep your home warm, and that means there are many things that can potentially go wrong. As long as you’re aware of the warning signs, though, you can quickly recognize when your heating unit is under the weather. Then, you can give us a call at Gene Johnson Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical to provide the necessary furnace repairs before the issue gets any more serious.


Here, we’ll take a look at a few of the most common furnace problems and how to tell if your household heating system is dealing with them.

  1. Cracked Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger is one of the most important components of a gas-powered furnace. This part consists of a coil of heated tubes, which the air in the appliance travels through before being distributed around your home. Not only is the heat exchanger an integral part of the heating process, but it also contains dangerous gases like carbon monoxide.

Certain furnace malfunctions as well as normal wear and tear can sometimes result in the heat exchanger becoming cracked. This is a serious problem, as it can prevent the appliance from providing heat and, in some cases, leak harmful fumes into your home. Some of the signs of a cracked heat exchanger include abnormal odors, leaking water, and your furnace blowing cold or room-temperature air. 

Usually, when a furnace has a damaged heat exchanger, you’ll want to have the component replaced. However, if the appliance is more than a decade old, it may be more prudent to have our team at Gene Johnson replace the entire furnace with a new unit.

  1. Damaged Blower Belt

Another component that’s integral to the heating process is your furnace’s blower fan. This fan is responsible for pushing warm air through your ductwork and to all the rooms of your home. For the blower fan to do its job, its belt needs to be in good condition and functioning properly. Unfortunately, there are several issues that can arise with the blower belt. The part accumulates wear and tear over time, which can eventually cause it to break. When that happens, it will usually need to be replaced with a new blower belt to get the appliance running smoothly again. In some cases, the belt may slip out of place. In that event, it typically just needs to be placed back in the right spot by a trained HVAC technician.

For the most part, blower belt problems are pretty simple and affordable issues to repair. However, if the belt is damaged or out of place, your furnace will probably have trouble heating your home until it’s fixed. For example, you may start noticing hot and cold spots around your household. You may also hear a high-pitched squealing sound when the system is running, which is a clear indicator of a blower belt issue. If your furnace is experiencing either of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to call us at Gene Johnson and schedule a furnace inspection. 

  1. Failing Starting Mechanism

One of the most frustrating furnace issues you can encounter is the appliance failing to start up. When this happens, it can leave you entirely without heat in your home, which can be miserable during the Seattle winter. Every furnace has a mechanism that’s needed to begin the heating cycle. Depending on the specific appliance, this will either be a pilot light or an electrical ignition.

If your furnace simply won’t start, it could mean that either the pilot light or electrical ignition has failed. If there’s a pilot light, you should be able to see whether or not it’s burning. If the flame isn’t there, that’s a red flag. This could mean that the thermocouple needs to be repaired or replaced, but there are several other potential culprits as well. The best course of action is to contact us at Gene Johnson, and we’ll get our team out there promptly to figure out what’s going on.

Seattle’s Heating Experts

While these are a few of the most common furnace repairs, there are many others that you may encounter as well. If you ever suspect that your heating system is having problems, you can always give us a call at Gene Johnson Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electrical. Our technicians are extremely skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced, and they’ll have no trouble determining what’s ailing your furnace. They’ll also know the best way to thoroughly fix the problem. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us today!