Troubleshooting The Most Common Issues With Furnaces

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During our close work with customers we've found that in most cases minor problems with heating equipment can easily be solved by the homeowner on the spot. Wouldn't you agree its much more convenient to know how to fix an issue yourself rather than taking a day off work and booking a technician?

In this article we will describe the 3 most common problems our customers run into and how these problems can be solved.


First of all check your thermostat. In most cases the solution is that easy:

  1. Make sure your thermostat is turned ON
  2. Set to 3 degrees below room temperature
  3. Turn to COOL. (not FAN or HEAT)
  4. If the thermostat screen is blank, then the battery may be dead. Replace the battery.

If that does not resolve your problem check if air is coming out of the vent.

  • If no air is coming out we suggest you make sure that power is getting to the furnace. Check your home’s electrical panel. Flip the furnace’s circuit to “off” and then “on” again. Look for a switch (like a light switch) near your furnace and make sure it is set to "on".

  • If air is coming out, but its not warm you should probably call a technician to investigate the problem.

Is there ice on your outdoor unit?

Ice in or on your air conditioner can be caused by a number of things (gas leak, problems with the compressor, work overload). Unfortunately this problem can only be resolved by a technician. Please call a professional to do all tests.


If the sound is coming from the outside unit and it is a heat pump there is no reason to worry, this is your heat pump's normal defrost mode. However, if sound is coming from the inside unit you will need expert care, especially if it's a gas furnace. Please turn off your system and call a technician.


  • Burning Smell In most areas the furnace sits unused for part of the year and dust accumulates during this off period. If you just turned your heater on for the first time after this period, you may smell the dust burning. This smell should go away in a few minutes. However, if the smell persists and it's not the first time you are turning on the heater, you should contact a professional.

  • Gas (rotten eggs) TURN OFF YOUR FURNACE NOW! There COULD be a gas leak in your home. Turn off your furnace immediately, open all windows, leave the house, and contact your gas utility.

  • A moldy smell (like a dirty sock or locker room) This is usually caused by a dirty coil and/or lack of regular maintenance on your heater. Regular furnace maintenance is recommended to avoid most of these issues.

  • Other If you smell something coming from your furnace or air conditioner and cannot identify it, we suggest you turn off the system and call a technician for assistance.

When troubleshooting problems do not resolve the issue with your furnace, its always a good idea to call your service provider. You can contact Smart Home Works at 1-800-749-7759 at any time. We offer 24/7 customer service for our clients.