A furnace not producing heat during the winter months can be daunting. However, there is good news 25% of all service calls can easily be avoided with simple fixes that cost little or nothing. So, read this blog post to find out what you need to do to get your furnace back to working fast.
Step 1: Check Thermostat
Before you assume you have a furnace problem, first check the thermostat to make sure it’s communication with the furnace. Thermostats, especially programmable ones, can be complicated, and the more options a thermostat has, the more things can go wrong.
- Check the temperature setting.
- Compare the temperature setting to the room temperature. Set the temperature five degrees higher than the room temperature and see if the furnace kicks on.
- If you can’t make the program settings work, you can bypass them altogether. Simply punch in the temperature you want with the up/down control and then press the hold button. That will switch on the furnace if the thermostat programming is the problem.
- Make sure the program is displaying the right day and time, as well as a.m. and p.m. settings.
- Make sure the switch is on “Heat” rather than on “Cool.”
- Open the thermostat and gently blow out any dust or debris. Make sure it’s level and firmly attached on the wall, and that none of the wires coming into it are loose.
- Replace the battery. If you have a power outage with a dead battery, you’ll lose your settings and the thermostat will revert to the default program.
- Trace the thermostat wires back to the furnace to check for breaks, especially if you’ve done any remodeling recently. If you find a break in one of the thin wires, splice the line back together and wrap it with electrical tape.
Step 2: Change filters
Dirty filters can cause the furnace to stop working. Dust and dirt restrict airflow—and if the filter gets too clogged, the heat exchanger will overheat and shut off too quickly, and your house won’t warm up. If the blower is running but no heat is coming out, replace the filter. A dirty filter also causes soot buildup on the heat exchanger, reducing the efficiency of the furnace and shortening its life.
For best results Change filters at least once a month. Ensure that the arrow points toward the furnace. Inspect pleated filters once a month. Hold them up to the light and if you can’t see the light clearly through them, replace them. Manufacturers say pleated filters are good for three months, but change them more frequently if you have pets, kids or generate lots of dust.
Step 3: Check shutoff switches and breakers
Look for a wall or light switch on or near the furnace. All furnaces, no matter what age or type, have one somewhere. Check the circuit breaker or fuse box. Also ensure that the front panel covering the blower motor is securely closed. There’s a push-in safety switch under it that must be fully depressed for the furnace to operate.
Step 4: Make sure the chimney exhaust flue is not blocked
Often, birds build their nest in chimney exhaust flue. Turn the furnace off and the thermostat all the way down, then dismantle the duct where it exits the furnace and check for debris.
Step 5: Look for blocked or leaky ducts that can restrict airflow
If your furnace comes on but some rooms in your home are cold, look to see if all the room registers are wide open. Then check your ductwork you can get access to and look for gaps between sections. Seal any gaps between sections of the duct with metal duct tape.
Step 6: Flush drain lines
High-efficiency furnaces can drain many gallons of water per day during each heating cycle. If the drain lines become blocked by sediment or mold growth, the furnace will shut down. If the drain hose looks dirty, remove the hose, fill it with a mixture of bleach and water (25 percent bleach), then flush it after several minutes.
Step 7: Clear away leaves, dirt, and trash from the heat pump, intake, and exhaust vents.
If your furnace vents on the outside of your house, make sure nothing is blocking the intake or exhaust. If either of the pipes is covered with screen mesh (like window screen), replace it with 1/2-in.-mesh hardware cloth. If ice is clogging one of the pipes, you have a bigger problem somewhere in the system. Clear it off and call Emergency Maintenance Company 215-366-1001 for fast affordable HVAC Service in Philadelphia