9 Things You Can Do Before Calling a Furnace Expert
Sometimes when a furnace stops working, a simple fix can get it going again. Before scheduling a service call, there are a few things you can check yourself and possibly avoid having a technician come to your home unnecessarily.
Here are 8 troubleshooting tips to try that might save you time, money and headaches.
1. Check the power
The furnace may be out due to a general power outage, which may not be immediately detectable, particularly during the day. Even gas furnaces require electricity to start, so if the power is out, the furnace may be too.
2. Check the electrical panel
A tripped circuit breaker could account for the furnace not turning on. This can result from the blower fan overloading the circuit.
3. Check the air intake and exhaust
The furnace needs fresh air to work properly. Make sure the air intake and exhaust, vented through an outside wall, is free of any debris that could be blocking air flow.
4. Check the thermostat
Occasionally the thermostat settings or programming gets changed inadvertently. Make sure the settings are correct, and are not set to “cool” by mistake. Another problem, and simple fix, could be that the thermostat batteries need to be replaced.
5. Check the air filter
If it has been a while since the filter has been changed, this could be the problem. A blocked air filter prevents sufficient air flow and allows dirt and dust to build up in the equipment. As a result, it is the cause of many furnace issues. Replace the filter every 60 to 90 days depending on how quickly it gets dirty or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
6. Check the pilot light
If you have an older model furnace with a pilot light. Relight the burner according to the instructions on the furnace cabinet. If the flame does not stay lit, or if it burns any color other than blue, call for service.
7. Check the gas valve
If you turn off the gas line at the end of the heating season, make sure it is open and not stuck in position preventing the gas from reaching the burners.
8. Check the “other” switch
There is a power switch, called the “furnace switch” that is either on the unit or on a nearby wall. This switch may have been improperly installed (i.e. “up” is “off” instead of “on”) or accidentally switched off. Try flipping the switch to see if the furnace kicks on.
9. Check the furnace panel cover
Older units have a panel cover that must be completely closed in order for the furnace to operate.