Troubleshooting Your Commercial Furnace – Reasons It’s Not Working

It’s cold, and if your business’s furnace goes out or is on the brink of quitting, you’re in trouble. When your commercial furnace isn’t working, it can disrupt your daily operations, impact employee morale, and cause customer dissatisfaction. 

Omnia360 offers 24/7 comprehensive HVAC maintenance and repair, and we’ll share the most common reasons your furnace may not be functioning correctly and discuss troubleshooting steps.

Troubleshooting Your Commercial Furnace

When your commercial furnace malfunctions, first attempt troubleshooting to identify the issue. By addressing the problem early, you can prevent costly downtime and repairs.

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Steps for Troubleshooting Commercial Furnaces

Check the thermostat: The thermostat is the brain of your heating system. Verify that it’s set to the correct temperature. Take the most basic steps first and ensure it’s on “Heat” mode and the fan is set to “Auto.” Replace the batteries if your thermostat is battery-operated.

Inspect the power supply: Confirm that the furnace is receiving power. Check the circuit breaker or fuse box to make sure it hasn’t tripped or blown a fuse. If everything seems fine, proceed to the next step.

Replace dirty air filters: Clogged or dirty air filters can impede airflow and strain your furnace. Change the air filters regularly, typically every 1 to 3 months, depending on usage and the type of filter.

Examine the pilot light: If you have a gas furnace, inspect the pilot light. It should be blue and steady. If it’s not lit or appears yellow, there might be a gas supply issue or a faulty pilot light. It’s essential to call a professional in such cases.

Check for obstructions: Make sure there are no obstructions in the heating system’s air ducts or vents. Obstructions can restrict airflow and lead to heating problems.

Test the safety switches: Modern commercial furnaces are equipped with safety switches that can turn off the system in case of an issue. Problems like a clogged condensate drain or a dirty flame sensor may trigger these switches. Reset it if necessary, but it’s vital to determine the root cause of the problem.

Listen for unusual sounds: Unusual sounds such as banging, whistling, or rattling could indicate mechanical issues within the furnace. If you hear these sounds, it’s advisable to turn off the furnace and contact a professional.

Common Commercial Heating Issues

To better understand why your commercial furnace isn’t working, you should know the common issues that heating systems face. 

Here are some of the typical problems that can affect commercial furnaces:

Ignition problems: Faulty ignition systems can prevent your furnace from starting. This is a common issue with gas furnaces. A malfunctioning pilot light, ignition control module, or thermocouple can cause ignition problems.

Clogged air filters: Dirty or clogged air filters reduce airflow, making the furnace work harder to distribute heat. Over time, this strain can lead to overheating and system shutdowns.

Blower motor issues: The blower motor is responsible for circulating warm air throughout your facility. If it malfunctions, you may experience poor heating performance or airflow issues.

Heat exchanger damage: A cracked or damaged heat exchanger can allow carbon monoxide to escape into your facility. This is a severe safety concern and requires immediate attention.

Thermostat malfunctions: Problems with the thermostat, such as inaccurate temperature readings or a failure to communicate with the furnace, can lead to heating issues.

Pilot light and flame sensor problems: Gas furnaces rely on a properly functioning pilot light and flame sensor to ignite and maintain a steady flame. When these components malfunction, the furnace may not start or shut down prematurely.

Ductwork issues: Damaged or poorly insulated ductwork can result in heat loss, reducing the overall efficiency of your furnace. Leaks or obstructions in the ducts can disrupt the heating system’s performance.

Lack of maintenance: Regular maintenance is essential to keep your commercial furnace in good working condition. Neglecting maintenance can lead to problems, including decreased efficiency, increased energy costs, and premature system failure.

When to Call in Professional Help

While troubleshooting can resolve many common furnace issues, there are situations where professional assistance is required. 

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Recognizing when to call in the experts is crucial to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of your facility. 

When You Should Contact a Commercial HVAC Technician

No improvement after troubleshooting: If your troubleshooting efforts do not resolve the issue, it’s time to seek professional help. Running the furnace without addressing the problem leads to further damage and increased repair costs.

Gas leaks or unusual odors: If you smell gas or detect any unusual odors, shut off your furnace immediately and evacuate the building. Gas leaks are hazardous and require immediate attention from a qualified technician.

Electrical issues: Problems with the electrical components of your furnace should be handled by a professional. This includes issues like malfunctioning thermostats, wiring problems, or issues with the control board.

Continuous cycling: If your furnace turns on and off repeatedly (short-cycling), it can indicate overheating, a malfunctioning thermostat, or a clogged air filter. A technician can diagnose and fix the problem.

Inadequate heating: If your furnace is running but not providing sufficient heat, it could be due to issues with the blower motor, heat exchanger, or other internal components. These problems require the expertise of a professional technician.

Carbon monoxide detector activation: If your facility is equipped with carbon monoxide detectors and one goes off, it may indicate a leak or improper combustion in your furnace. Evacuate the building and call for immediate professional assistance.

Age and lack of maintenance: If your furnace is reaching the end of its expected lifespan and needs to be adequately maintained, it’s advisable to have it inspected by a professional. They can assess its condition and recommend whether it’s time for a replacement.

Do You Need Furnace Repair? Contact Omnia360 Facility Solutions

A malfunctioning heating system disrupts your facility’s operations and impacts the comfort of your occupants. Know when to call in professional help to help you identify these problems early and prevent costly downtime.

Omnia360 provides around-the-clock, comprehensive, integrated facility management services that work with your in-house team. Contact us at (833) 360-6642.