What To Check If Your Furnace Isn’t Working

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How To Fix A Furnace | Hamilton Home Comfort

When your furnace stops working, it’s tricky to figure out what part needs to be looked at first. Once you know a bit about troubleshooting a furnace and fixing a furnace will be easy to do yourself without the need to call for a repair. If your furnace isn’t working and your house is starting to feel the chill, have a look at some of these tips before you make the call for a repair.

1. Check the settings of your thermostat

This one might sound like a pretty basic thing but you never know who has been touching your thermostat. Some thermostats, especially programmable ones, can be a little confusing so make sure you’re setting it properly with the correct times you prefer before you start checking everything else

If your thermostat is set to the correct settings then have a look at the wiring to make sure it’s connected to the furnace without any major wire breakage. If you see some minor breakage then you can attempt to fix it with some simple spicing and electrical tape.

2. Check the furnaces filter

Your filter should be changed often to ensure that no buildup occurs. If the filter gets too clogged then it might cause the heat exchanger to overheat and turn itself off. This is a fail-safe that prevents the filter from catching on fire so make sure you change it according to the filter style (flat filters should be changed monthly while pleated filters should be inspected monthly but changed when they become opaque) and that will make sure you maintain efficiency.

To figure out the style and location of your furnace filter, you should either check the furnace’s manual or give the installer a call. Some filters might need to be changed more often if your home has more dust or pet hair than usual.

3. Double-check that the gas is on for gas furnaces

The gas valve can sometimes be turned off accidentally so it’s a good idea to make sure the valve is one before you start calling for repairs. To check your gas valve, trace the gas line from your furnace inside to the meter. Your gas line might have a handle that is perpendicular to the gas pipe if the gas is off so turn it and make it parallel to make sure it’s turned on.

For older furnaces with a pilot light, remove the front panel of the burner cover to check if the light is still lit. Pilot lights can be lit in different ways, depending on the furnace so you will need to consult your manual or call the installer to check how it is lit. Do not attempt to light the pilot light by yourself until you know how it is supposed to be lit as this could result in injury.

4. Maintain the drain

If your furnace has drain lines, they can also get stuck full of mold or debris if they are not cleaned often enough. To keep these hoses running properly, take the hoses off and clean them with a mixture of bleach and water whenever you see the hoses becoming dirty. Basic maintenance of smaller parts like this will keep your furnace running much smoother.

5. Clear out your chimney

If your furnace exhausts through your chimney, make sure there is no major debris that is clogging it up. This is a difficult task that might require getting up on your roof if the furnace isn’t accessible from inside but it is important for the safety of your home. If the drainage is clogged then the gas can get backed up into your furnace and then into your home.

There are many different things that can clog up your furnace and it’s possible to check from inside if you’re willing to disassemble a bit. Turn your furnace all the way down and dismantle the duct to check it from inside. It’s important to reassemble the duct properly so make sure you keep track of what needs to go where before you start to put everything back.

6. Get the gunk out of your vents

If your furnace has exhaust vents instead of a chimney exhaust then make sure you check every single one for debris or clogs. Your vents can be clogged with everything from leaves, to built-up dirt, to bees nests. Keep track of where your vents are and add them to your yearly outdoor maintenance routines.

You should also make sure you keep your vents clear if you live in a climate that has heavy snow in the wintertime. Vents can easily get clogged with ice and snow and this might lead to a backup of gasses that are meant to be outside the home.

7. Look inside your rooms vents

The vents that release heat into your home should also be free of coverings and cleaned properly. Go room by room in your home and check out the vents to make sure they haven’t become covered or clogged with pet hair. If too many of your vents are unable to release the heat properly then the heat will be redirected back towards the furnace and cause it to overheat.

If you find that your room vents are becoming clogged too often then look into a full air duct cleaning. This service will clean out the entire furnace system while will help your furnace run for longer and it will keep your home’s air much cleaner. A duct cleaning service will often give you a simple assessment of the health of your ducts using a camera and they will show you which areas will need to be cleaned.

When To Call A Furnace Repair Company

Fixing your furnace might be pretty simple but if these steps don’t work then think about calling in the pros. The company that installed the furnace will likely be able to send out a repair person or direct you to a company that can help. If your furnace isn’t working then you should get it fixed as soon as possible.

A professional furnace repair is usually a quick job when it’s done by an expert so you can rest assured that your furnace won’t be out for long. Troubleshooting a furnace can save you so much time if you know how to do it properly and if your furnace isn’t working, try some of these ideas before you give your local installers a call.