If you live in areas with colder climates, one of the most important elements for your home is a working furnace. Without a properly functioning heater, the winter months could be quite uncomfortable. For that reason, it's crucial to know what to do when your furnace needs to be repaired. Here are a few of the most common problems that can occur with a furnace and the steps you should take to fix the issues quickly.

The furnace is not producing any heat at all.

No hot air blowing at all is the biggest indication that there is something wrong with your furnace. If you turn on the heater and you only feel cold air, there are a few things you can check to determine the root cause of the problem. First, be sure to look at the thermostat. It's easy to forget to switch from the AC function, so confirm that the thermostat is set to "heat" mode at a few degrees above the normal temperature in your house. The second thing you should verify is that the heater is receiving full power. Check the breaker on the electrical panel in your home to make sure that a circuit has not been tripped accidentally. Lastly, inspect the flame sensor. This sensor acts as a safety measure for your furnace by ensuring that gas only flows when the flame is lit. Generally, the flame sensor rod is located at the back of the furnace. Turn off the furnace power and gently scrub off any debris or dust from the sensor. If there is still no heat blowing from the furnace after you turn the power back on, you may need to call a certified HVAC contractor to take a further look at your furnace.

The furnace runs continuously or through rapid cycles.

Another troubling issue that your furnace may experience is a heater that will not turn off or that cycles repeatedly. One possible fix for this problem is to turn down the temperature a bit to see if the furnace turns off. If this doesn't make a difference, take a look at the limit control switch. This switch controls when the hot air turns off and back on again, and you may discover that the switch could simply need to be reset or replaced. Rapid cycling could also be caused by a dirty air filter. Replacing the filter regularly is a valuable step to avoid bigger problems. 

The furnace is noisy. 

If you find that your furnace is working and producing heat but there are strange noises coming from the unit, there is probably a bigger issue for you to troubleshoot. Any loud or sudden sounds that seem unusual should be investigated thoroughly. Rattling noises could indicate that some loose parts need to be tightened. Squealing might signify that a belt has worn down and should be replaced. If you ever hear grinding sounds, it's important to reach out to an HVAC technician to ensure that there is not a major mechanical problem that could cause further issues later. 

If your furnace exhibits any of the problems described above, be sure to take the necessary steps to keep your heater functioning when you need it the most. Reach out to a professional at a company like Triangle Enterprises Inc that provides furnace repair services.