If you wake up to a frigid home on an icy winter night, many homeowners’ first step is to call an HVAC professional. Highly trained, skilled, and certified technicians are the best choice to repair any malfunction within your heating system. If you find yourself suddenly without heat, Poston Brothers share what to check if the heat is not working before you call an HVAC company for help.
Furnace Troubleshooting Checklist
Issues with Thermostat
Your first step is to check the thermostat. Power surges in wired thermostats and depleted batteries may reset your system or turn it off entirely. Furnace problems are not always connected to the unit itself. After checking the thermostat display examining the circuit breaker helps to confirm electrical issues are not the primary cause. Also, make sure your thermostat is set to “heat” and not “cool.” It may seem silly, but it happens more often than you would think.
Clogged Air Filter
Air filters should be checked monthly and dirty filters should be replaced as necessary. Dirty air filters obstruct airflow. If your heating system is not blowing warm air through the vents the issue may be the air filter choking the system. If the airflow is severely blocked heat exchangers may overheat and shut down. Inspect pleated filters carefully. High-quality pleated filters may appear clean on the surface. It’s a good idea to make a habit of changing your air filter every 90 days. You can buy new air filters at your local hardware store.
Like a dirty filter dust, debris and other foreign substances inhibit performance. Many furnaces break down due to neglect. If the exhaust flue is clogged, damage to the gas line or the housing is dirty, blower motors, heat exchangers, and other components may overheat. Scheduling furnace maintenance on an annual basis will help minimize furnace problems and extend the life of your heating system.
Check Condensate Pan
High-efficiency systems drain water. Clog drain lines, blockages in the drain, or failure in the pump may shut down these furnaces as a safety measure. Clearing the drain and hose may allow the furnace to operate safely.
On occasion homeowners inadvertently turn the power off manually on a furnace. While this may sound impossible, nearly every HVAC professional has a story to confirm this. Many modern furnaces feature additional safety switches to protect a furnace from catastrophic failure. Consulting your owner’s manual helps to troubleshoot problems. Also, check your home’s circuit breaker to make sure the breaker to your furnace hasn’t tripped.
When to Call on the Professionals
For most homeowners, this is the first step and the smart course of action. This step is important because companies like Poston Brothers provide a complete HVAC system inspection and repairs. Certified, highly trained technicians carefully diagnose issues within the heating system and provide clear answers to homeowners. Many issues should always be left to the experts including:
Cracked Heat Exchanger
Any foul odors and strange sounds during operation are signs of larger issues. If you detect any changes in your system, shutting it off at the power source may prevent these dangerous and expensive issues from developing. Because heat exchanger transfer heated gas to indoor air there is a risk of carbon monoxide and gas leaks when these parts fail.
There are many variations of pilot lights depending on the manufacturer, age of the furnace, and design. Weak pilot light or a pilot light that has failed should be a reason to turn off the system.
Gas Line Issues
Like a heat exchanger, leaks in the gas line or a malfunctioning gas valve may cause a modern furnace to shut down for safety. Older furnaces with safety features may perform poorly or emit a foul odor when gas leaks occur. Any issues with natural gas and propane are an emergency and should never be ignored.
Blower wheels or blower fans circulate the cold air across the heat exchanger and throughout your home. If air is not moving within your home, the electrical motor may have failed or the wiring could be damaged.
A common cause of furnaces not turning on or only running for a few seconds before shutting down is a faulty flame sensor. Neglected furnaces may build up soot and carbon. Other causes of failure are overheating and electrical issues. A professional should diagnose and replace a flame sensor.
Call Poston Brothers to keep Your Furnace Operating Safely
Furnaces are the most common forms of heating homes but heat pumps and boilers have unique issues that require professional attention. The primary cause of heating system failure is poor maintenance. Reliable and safe heating within your home is a necessity to prevent frigid temperatures from freezing pipes and causing damage to your property.
When you build a relationship with a home services contractor like Poston Brothers, seasonal inspections and tune-ups of heating systems improve efficiency, reduce wear, and avoid many of the surprise breakdowns that occur during the coldest days of the year. Call us today to schedule furnace repair or maintenance service.