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5 Unusual Reasons Why Your Furnace Suddenly Stopped Working

Joe Goldstein Heating and Furnaces

More than an ergonomically-designed shovel or the richest moisturizer filled with miraculous minerals, a great furnace will be your numero uno ally during winter.

Furnaces are pretty resilient, but they do break down. The reasons why your furnace suddenly stopped working run the gamut – from the common ones such as dust to the “I didn’t know that could kill my furnace”.

If you’re reading this right now because your furnace suddenly stopped working, relax. There’s a way out of that rut. Here are the unusual reasons why yours is currently in a furnace coma:

Decorating the furnace vent

Most likely due to an intense but fleeting interior-decorating high, there are times when homeowners unintentionally block off vents with curtains, decors, or furniture. The effect is similar to shutting off an air vent completely.

The HVAC system will continue to do its job by pumping out the same amount of warm air, completely unaware of the blocked vent.

If the problem is with the air intake, the system’s safety mechanism will kick in by halting the operation.

If the pressure in the air ducts continues to build up, it can eventually cause a crack in the heat exchanger which leads to carbon monoxide spillage if not treated early on.

Animal dander

Don’t get us wrong, we like pets! But there are times when those adorably furry creatures can become a nuisance.

Pets shed, and some shed faster than others. Animals continuously shed both fur and dead skin cells, called dander. These are invisible to the naked eye, and they easily float around the air, clogging the furnace’s filter.

A clogged air filter can cause a significant spike in your electrical bill and can damage your furnace’s internal parts by making the blower fan work extra hard in an attempt to pull in more air.

Cigars and cigarettes smoke

Every cigarette/cigar pack should have this additional warning: “Dangerous to your furnace’s health, too!”

Just like the animal dander, cigarette and cigar fumes contain microscopic particles that clog up a furnace’s filter faster. Some filters even fail to protect the blower fan from the fumes.

Laundry detergent

It comes as no surprise that laundry detergents are pumped full of chemicals, and can be both a catalyst for allergies, and the cause of malfunction of one’s furnace.

The vapor emitted by ethylene-diamine-tetraacetic-acid (EDTA), or really any halogen compound, can go to the furnace’s burner, chemically change into an acidic form, and eventually damage the furnace’s heat exchanger.

Tapping the thermostat

You’ve probably seen this in a movie – an actor furiously tapping the thermostat in an effort to get it unstuck. It worked for him, of course. That’s movie magic for you!

Guess what? You likely won’t have that same kind of magic in real life.

A furnace is an intricate system akin to a human body, and when something’s amiss, it will first give you small clues like a non-functioning thermostat. It’s like a “fever” for furnaces.

Vibrations from a motor or a furnace blower that’s not installed properly can eventually short circuit the wires. Tapping the thermostat will just worsen it. A decreasing thermostat will fire a wrong command to your furnace; causing it to produce less heat, more heat, or short cycles either.

The quick solution, according to the Department of Energy, is to have your furnace constantly checked for any potential malfunctions. It will save you time, money, and headache.

Now, let’s fix your furnace! Talk to one of our HVAC experts today, and we’ll take care of your problem.