11 Things to check if your furnace stops working
Your furnace works hard to keep your home nice and comfortable throughout the winter. However, when it stops working, you might feel like panicking. There is good news. You might be able to resolve this issue with some troubleshooting. These few steps can get your system up and running. Here are the top 11 things to check if your furnace stops working.
1. Check the Thermostat
You always want to start with the thermostat. This device controls your entire heating system. If there is a problem, it could be tied to this part. Sometimes, you might have the wrong furnace settings. You might have put the thermostat in the “off” mode. Make sure that it is on the “heat” setting. Along with that, set the temperature above your current room temperature.
If it is still not responding, then make sure the device is powered on. Don’t forget about those batteries. An old battery can cause the thermostat to cease operation. While these steps are simple, many people overlook them. These easy fixes could get your heating system back in working order.
2. Look at the Air Filter
The next step is heading to the air filter. If the heating unit is in a dusty space, it could accumulate a lot of debris. You will want to take out the filter and see if it needs to be repaired. A dirty filter can cause the heating system to work harder. In turn, that can lead to overheating.
The general rule of thumb is to change the filter every one to three months. By doing that, you can improve the air quality in your home and prevent any problems with your heating system.
3. Inspect the Circuit Breaker
If checking the thermostat and changing the air filter does not work, head over to the circuit breaker. Most of the time, furnaces are powered by electricity. If something caused the breakers to trip or there was a loss of power, you might have an unresponsive heating system.
You can always reset the breaker and see if the heater responds. For those having issues with the electricity, always reach out to an experienced technician to diagnose the problem.
4. Make Sure the Pilot Light Is On
Older systems, especially gas-powered ones, will have a pilot light. This flame must continue to burn for the furnace to function. The pilot light is usually located near the bottom of the furnace. You will want to see that it is still lit. Relighting is simple, but you will want to follow all the manufacturer’s instructions.
If the pilot light is yellow or flickering, you may have some serious problems. This often means there is an issue with the ventilation or gas line. If you smell gas, leave your home and call for help. Don’t wait to call someone out; you need immediate assistance.
5. Flip the Furnace Switch
Some furnaces have a power switch. You can usually find it near the furnace unit. Like the thermostat, make sure it is in the “on” position. Sometimes, this switch can flip to the “off” position. As a result, the furnace will stop working. Once you put the switch on, your furnace should respond.
If it is still inoperable, then you may want to call an HVAC technician to your home. You could have a power surge or another problem with the system.
6. Clear Vents
Clogged air filters can affect your furnace’s performance. Along with that, closed or blocked vents are another source of problems. When they are not open, that can cause the furnace to overheat and shut down.
You will want to walk throughout your home and check all the vents and registers. They should be open and have no obstructions. While there is a myth about closing off vents in rooms that you do not use, you should not do that. Your heating system works more efficiently when all vents and registers are open, whether you use the room or not.
7. Clean the Burners and Heat Exchanger
Over the years, debris and dust can accumulate on your home’s heat exchanger or burners. As a result, the furnace will not be efficient, and it can even refuse to respond. While this is not recommended for a novice, you can clean these components. You will want to be very careful and power off all the devices.
Wiping off the dirt might be enough to get your heating system back in working order. However, if you are nervous about tackling this task, reach out to an experienced HVAC technician. Otherwise, you risk damaging something on your own.
8. Check the Reset Button
Some modern furnaces have a reset button. When it is activated by overheating, it can cause the furnace to shut down. All you have to do is push the button, and the furnace should reset. However, if pushing the reset is not working, you could have a problem with the electricity. You will need a professional technician to help diagnose the cause of this issue.
9. Go Outside and Inspect the Condensate Line
If you own a high-efficiency furnace, it might have a condensate line. These lines can freeze in the cold weather or even have a backup of debris. You may want to go outside and check the status of the line. If there is any obstruction, go ahead and clear it out. You may have to reset the furnace as well.
If the line is frozen, you could be tempted to defrost it with warm water. However, that can cause the pipe to crack. In this case, you will want to call an HVAC technician to unfreeze the line and determine how it became frozen in the first place.
10. Inspect the Fan Motor
Another important component is the fan motor. This part is responsible for moving the warm air throughout your home. The furnace may stop running if a sudden malfunction occurs, leaving you with a cold house. You can hear the motor working if the furnace is in the “on” position. There should be low humming sounds.
A lack of noise means the control board or the motor has ceased operating. If you notice that the motor is not moving, never reach in and try to move it. This is dangerous and could cause serious injuries.
11. See If There Are Error Codes
Modern furnaces will have a built-in diagnostic system. When there is a problem, an error code will display on the screen. These codes can give specific information about the exact cause of the problem.
Once you get the code, you can refer to the unit’s manual. There may be additional troubleshooting tips to get your furnace up and running. Even if you don’t want to fix the problem by yourself, these error codes can help your technician diagnose the issue.
While some of these steps are simple, others are complex and should only be handled by a skilled and experienced HVAC team. If you need help with your home’s furnace, Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning can assist you. We offer professional heating and cooling services for Kirkland, Monroe, and Seattle customers. Contact Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning to find the solutions to your heating-related issues.