3 Steps For Troubleshooting Your Furnace’s Airflow Problems

If you have a central heating system, you may have noticed your furnace is having trouble forcing air through the vents. You may not be feeling as much warm air or it may have stopped altogether. If so, use the troubleshooting steps below to diagnose and fix simple problems.

Step 1:  Check For Any Problems With The Power

The first thing you should check is for any problems with the power to the furnace. Follow the steps below to do this.

  1. Look to make sure the power cord was not accidentally pulled out. If so, plug it back in and check for air when the furnace kicks on.
  2. Check the breaker box to see if the breaker fuse switched off. Turn it back on and wait five minutes to make sure it does not switch back off. If it does, there could be a power surge and you may want to have a professional look at it.
  3. If the power cord is plugged in and the breaker fuse has not switched off, check the switch on the side of the furnace to make sure it is on. Switch it back to the on position if it is off. 
  4. If at any time you smell the odor of burnt wires, turn off the breaker and unplug the furnace. You may have an electrical problem that will need to be looked at by an electrician or HVAC specialist.

Step 2:  Look For Any Manual Blockages

After you have ruled out any simple electrical issues, use the directions below to look for any manual blockages to the air.

  1. Turn off the power to the furnace and unplug it to keep from harming yourself while inspecting the inside of it.
  2. Remove the front panel of the furnace.
  3. Check the filter to make sure it has not become completely clogged up with dust and debris. If so, change it to see if the amount of airflow improves.
  4. If the filter is new or clean, vacuum the inside vents and around the fan.
  5. Use a flashlight to look up into the intake and output vents for signs of a live or dead animal, such as fur, feathers, droppings, or the animal itself.
  6. If a dead animal is seen, use a broom to knock it loose and pull it out. Dispose of it by wrapping it in a trash bag and placing it in your outdoor garbage can. Then, thoroughly clean the inside of the ducts and furnace.
  7. If a live animal is seen, you may need to call animal control if you are unable to scare it out of your ductwork.

Step 3:  Examine The Blower For Signs Of Damage

If you have not found anything that could be blocking the airflow from your furnace, follow the steps below to examine the blower for signs of damage.

  1. Make sure the power to the furnace is off.
  2. Use a screwdriver to remove the front plate from the blower fan.
  3. Take a damp cloth to wipe the fan blades to give you a better idea of their condition.
  4. Gently spin the fan to see if the blades wobble. If so, use a wrench to tighten the center bolt. 
  5. Repeat step four once more. If the blades continue to move erratically, the blower may need to be repaired by a professional.
  6. If the blades spin evenly, replace the front plate. Turn on the power and check the airflow for any improvement. If none is seen, the problem may need the attention of an HVAC repairman.

After going through the above troubleshooting steps, you may find you still have a problem with your furnace's airflow. If so, you may want to contact a contractor from a firm like Just In Time Furnace Inc who specializes in furnace repair so they can come diagnose and fix the trouble for you.