It always seems to happen in the dead of winter when the temperatures are at their lowest: your furnace breaks down and you have no heat. If you're in this position, you have to act quickly and get a heating and ventilation technician to your home as soon as possible to address the problem and restore your heat.
While the technician is there, you should maximize the value of your emergency appointment by asking questions to learn what caused the failure and how you might have prevented it from happening. The following are some of the most common answers to furnace repair questions:
Blower motor failure
If the blower motor in your furnace fails, you will notice that your furnace responds to the call for heat from your thermostat, but you will not feel the warm air coming through your ducts. Since your heating system relies on your blower motor to distribute the heated air, you will need to call a professional to fix it.
That technician will likely inform you that your furnace filters were clogged, causing the blower system to work extra hard to try to force the air through your ductwork. The added stress on the blower's motor significantly shortens its lifespan.
Burnt ignitor or general mechanical failure
An ignitor that burns out and other general mechanical failures can occur when dirt, dust, and debris have built up in your heating system. These repairs can be very costly, right up to replacement of your furnace as a worse-case scenario. Your furnace is made up of a variety of electrical and mechanical systems that have to work overtime if their conditions deteriorate, causing a lack of efficiency and eventually, a breakdown.
In order to prevent this from happening to you, schedule regular, preventative maintenance with a heating and ventilation professional. Typically performed on a yearly basis, the technician will check all systems in your furnace to ensure the electrical and mechanical systems are working accurately, will clean and lubricate all necessary components, and check your cold air return and warm air supply vents to ensure proper airflow. If restrictions are found in either of these, a thorough, professional cleaning of your ducts may be required.
The end of your furnace's lifespan
You have changed your air filters religiously and have had a professional perform regular maintenance on your furnace, and yet it has still broken down and left you without heat. Unfortunately, a furnace comes with an average lifespan, just like any other appliance. Once it has reached this point, breakdowns will become frequent and more expensive, making it more feasible to replace the unit.
Furnace replacement due to age is something you have no control over, and while you'll have to make an investment in a new one, you'll find a new furnace will be far more energy efficient and likely pay for itself in a relatively short period of time.
Know that the average lifespan of a furnace is approximately 15 years. If your furnace is less than 15-years-old and it breaks down, asking the technician appropriate repair questions can help you prolong the life of your furnace, and if it is older, save you from further costly repairs for a system that is simply at the end of its lifespan.