7 Frequently Asked Questions About Residential Furnaces

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019
Local residential HVAC and commercial HVACR service Amarillo, TX

Homeowners often have questions about their HVAC systems. During winter, some of the most common furnace questions deal with safety and whether service is actually needed. The following are some of these frequently asked questions.


1. Why won’t my furnace turn on?

This issue could be caused my many things, including the thermostat, heater components, or even the gas line. Clogged HVAC filters, tripped circuits, belts and blowers, and burners can all cause this problem too. Because there are so many factors and parts that could cause your furnace to stop working, it is best to call in an expert.

2. My furnace turns on, but why won’t it stay on?

If your furnace is on but doesn’t stay on, it could be bad sensors, switches, or the thermostat as well as overheating issues. If you do not clean or replace your HVAC filters, you could run into overheating problems. It isn’t the only cause, but it is a common one.

3. Why won’t my pilot light stay lit?

Although newer furnaces do not use standing pilot lights, many people still have older heaters. If you have an issue with your pilot light staying on, it could likely be the thermocouple. These parts will break down over time because they are exposed to the flame. Getting a newer, more efficient HVAC system may be your best option, especially if your furnace is older than its usable life span.

4. Why is my furnace making strange sounds?

It is not unusual for furnaces to make some noise, although some sounds do point to a problem. If you hear anything different than what you usually do, it would be safest to call a service technician for an inspection.

A typical noise is a loud sound when the system starts, which could be the ductwork or air filter shifting. However, a loud sound upon startup could also mean you have an ignition issue. If a dirty burner is the culprit, you will need to have the system repaired immediately, as this is a dangerous situation.

If your furnace is making buzzing sounds, it could be a transformer or blower motor issue. Both of these parts can be replaced or repaired.

5. Why is my furnace producing weird smells?

Sometimes furnace smells are confusing, while other times they may cause you to worry. Here are three of the most typical smells that can come from your furnace.


Your furnace can produce smells that are similar to burning hair, cigarettes, plastic, rubber, or dust. If you smell burning dust, it is most likely just accumulated dust from your furnace sitting unused for a period of time. If you smell burning plastic, rubber, or oil, that most likely means a part is burning. Turn your furnace off and contact an HVAC maintenance company if this is happening to your equipment.

Fishy odor

This is actually a more common issue with electrical components than furnaces. When the furnace begins blowing warm air, it can blow the smell around your home.

Rotten eggs or sulphur

If you smell these odors, you should contact a natural gas supplier or experienced and licensed maintenance company immediately. These smells could come from a natural gas leak, as they are added to the gas to detect leaks. Natural gas leaks are dangerous, especially in enclosed spaces like your home.

6. Can my furnace have a carbon monoxide leak?

This issue can happen and may be caused by incomplete combustion in gas fired furnaces. Because this type of HVAC system is made to vent this gas, there is most likely an issue with the heat exchanger causing the leak. Carbon monoxide is dangerous and not detectable by smell, so it is important to have your furnace inspected regularly. A carbon monoxide detector is also a good investment.

7. Is my furnace capable of exploding or causing a fire?

Furnaces aren’t likely to explode, but they can cause fires. Heating systems, especially space heaters, are thought to be the second leading cause for fires. Although it is rare, a fire can be caused by a blower motor that has stopped working. This can cause the furnace to overheat and since it is powered by gas, it could explode. But, it is more likely that there would be a carbon monoxide leak than a fire or explosion.

HVAC repair in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle

If you would like to schedule maintenance or repairs on your Residential HVAC system, give us a call at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us by email today. You can also stop by our office at 404 S. Hayden St. in Amarillo to learn more.