Suffocation and Neglect: The 2 Most Common Reasons Your Furnace Breaks Down

Believe it or not, furnace breakdowns are not typically premeditated. More often than not, they are 100 percent preventable. In fact, here are two of the most common reasons that your home's furnace will break down, why it happens, and what you can do about it.

1. Suffocation

When air is restricted from the furnace, it can suffocate. The furnace's need for air is similar to that of a person. A furnace can be suffocated when you fail to change the air filter on a regular basis as well as when you close the air vents. When you do one or both of these things, it can result in the blower motor burning out or the heat exchanger cracking.

Burning Up the Blower Motor – The purpose of the furnace blower is to suck air into your furnace and then blow it out into the vents throughout the home. If your home has a dirty air filter, it will restrict the air that is coming into your furnace blower. If the vents are closed, this makes it difficult for the blower to push warm air into the home. As a result, the blower motor is working overtime, and that results in it burning up.

Cracking the Heater Exchanger – The purpose of the heat exchanger is to heat the air as the air moves over it. However, if the air filter is not clean, the airflow is limited. This can cause the exchanger to overheat and potentially crack. If the heat exchanger is not repaired, which by the way can be expensive, there is the risk of carbon monoxide leaking into the home.

2. Neglect

As far as neglect goes, the most common forms are failing to put a filter in the furnace and running it anyway as well as failing to get routine maintenance performed on the furnace. When you allow the furnace to operate without a filter in place, you are running the risk of an issue with the blower motor as well as malfunctioning sensors that can cause your furnace to shut down. Remember, filters aren't expensive, so it is silly not to make sure that there is a filter in your furnace at all times.

When you decide to skip out on routine maintenance, you run the risk of numerous issues with your furnace, including:

Ignition Problems – If there is a buildup of dirt on your furnace's igniter or pilot light, there is a good chance that the light will malfunction. Routine inspections and maintenance will take care of this.

Blower Repairs – In order for your furnace blower to run efficiently, it needs to be cleaned and oiled on a regular basis. This is something that is done through routine maintenance checks.

CO Poisoning – As already mentioned, carbon monoxide can be leaked into your house if your heat exchanger becomes cracked. Routine maintenance can help ensure that your heat exchanger stays in top-notch condition or catches damage sooner rather than later so that a repair or replacement can be made as soon as possible.

Based on the above information, it is important that you keep your air vents open, use an air filter, make sure the filter is clean at all times, and contact an HVAC professional to schedule routine furnace maintenance if your furnace hasn't had its annual check-up.

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