Furnace Problems You May Encounter during Cold Weather

In order to maintain acceptable temperatures inside your home during cold weather, your heating system is frequently pushed to its limits. This is also the most likely period for your furnace to break down.


Below is a list of frequent furnace issues that you may encounter during exceptionally cold weather.

Clogged Furnace Filter

You’d be shocked how many furnace issues are caused by clogged furnace filters. The most prevalent cause of furnace breakdowns is often thought to be this. When a furnace filter becomes blocked, airflow is restricted. As a result of the shortage of air, your furnace will work overtime to compensate. Under these conditions, a wide range of furnace issues can arise.

Cracked Heat Exchanger

When it comes to furnace troubles in the winter, a damaged heat exchanger is often the worst-case situation. The heat exchanger’s job is to keep the heated flame apart from the air inside your house. Your furnace’s energy source warms the heat exchanger, which then warms the air that is pushed through your duct system. Overheating is common when a cold front passes through the area. 

When this happens, most HVAC contractors will recommend that you replace your heat exchanger or give you options to replace your furnace right away because heat exchanger cracks are frequently caused by this factor.

Intermittent Pilot System problems

Induced draft furnaces frequently employ intermittent pilot systems. When the thermostat activates the furnace, this type of electronic ignition system employs a high-voltage spark to ignite your fuel supply.


To indicate that the pilot has been lit, the primary burner uses a flame detection rod. After the heating cycle, the flame goes out and stays out until the next heating cycle is triggered. Keep in mind that your furnace won’t turn on if the intermittent pilot system is not working properly.

Although this is mostly common on older furnaces, some newer systems still use a spark ignition system. This type of hot surface ignition differs from a typical hot surface ignition system by lighting a pilot light first. Then the pilot lights the main burners after the board verifies the pilot is lit. Therefore, everything is done through the gas valve from providing the ignition source to the flame rectification process.

Problems with the Hot Surface Igniter

The most prevalent electronic ignition technology on the market today is the hot surface igniter. Silicon nitride or carbide is often used in this igniter, and it uses electricity to heat and ignite your furnace as gas arrives through the burners. 

As an igniter ages, its ohm value (resistance) increases, decreasing its life span. The largest problem with a hot surface ignition system is cracking of the hot surface igniter. This will not allow the igniter to heat up to ignite the gas. Always contact a proffesional to replace these delicate parts.

Broken Thermostat

The thermostat is the control center for your heating and cooling system. When your thermostat malfunctions, your complete heating and cooling system typically malfunctions as well. The most common thermostat issue is dead batteries. However, if your furnace difficulties persist despite the installation of new batteries, you should consult a specialist.


When you encounter any of the furnace troubles above, contact a professional heating specialist right away for furnace repair. Look for a business that specializes in fixing the furnace, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Make sure their solution can last all throughout winter.



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