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9 Common Furnace Problems You May Face

Calvin Mud 2016-09-28 13:00:00

Cooler weather is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere and now is the time to do a basic inventory of cold-weather supplies and equipment. You shouldn’t wait until you need to turn your furnace on before you check to make sure it actually works, because you don’t want to be left freezing while you wait for a repair person. Here are some reasons your furnace may not work properly when you need it.

Check the Thermostat

Make sure your thermostat is turned to “Heat.” This is the very first thing you should do because you don’t want to waste time if that’s all that is causing your problem. If it still doesn’t turn on, set it to 90F or 32C so it won’t turn off and on while you’re trying to troubleshoot. Leanr how to set your thermostat properly and minimize your billing with this news article from The Telegraph.

Check the Filter

Filters clean the air that goes into the furnace and the air that goes out into the house. A clogged or dirty filter can make your furnace shut down before it causes any damage. Clean or replace the filter and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on regular maintenance; usually you should do this every 30 to 60 days.

Check the Batteries

Some thermostats run on batteries; if that’s thecase, and they’re low, the thermostat may die completely. Replace the batteries when the low battery symbol flashes to avoid this problem next time.

Check the Juice

You need to find out if the furnace is getting electricity. Most thermostats have a switch on them for the fan (choices are “Auto” and “On”) so turn that to “On” and see if it comes on. If so, you have power to the furnace. If not, then you know it’s an electrical problem of some sort.

Check the Circuit Breaker

Go to your home’s breaker panel and find the circuit that powers the furnace. See if it’s thrown into the “Off” position or in the middle position. If they aren’t labeled, look for one that is in a different position from all of the others. Throw it all the way off, then back on again to fix it. Label it for next time.

Check Another Switch

If it still isn’t working, it’s time to check yet another switch. Furnaces have what is called the “furnace switch,” and they usually look like a regular light switch. You might find yours right on the furnace, or beside it on the wall. They are usually unlabeled. Throw this switch and give it a few minutes and see if it comes on.

Check the Code

Furnaces built in 1990 and later have a small window with a light shining through. That light will tell you if the furnace has power and it can flash a code to tell you what the problem is, in some cases. If the furnace is on but not running, and there is power, note the sequence of flashes. Open the panels and inside there will be a key that tells you what the code means.

Check the Pilot Light

If your furnace is older than 20 years old, you may need to relight your pilot light. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual.

Check the Gas Valve

If nothing else has worked, check to make sure the furnace’s gas valve hasn’t been turned to “Off.” You can also check to ensure the gas line into your home is okay.

Tip: Have a professional company like Climate Experts come and perform a routine inspection and maintenance at least once a year, before winter rolls around and you need your furnace to work. It’s usually not that expensive and he or she will look at your system, oil the motors, clean the flame rod on newer furnaces, and sometimes replace your filter for you.

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