All of a sudden the house feels chilly. The Heater isn’t working! Wityh the cold weather we’ve just been through many homeowners have had this problem. Here are a few things to look for:
Start with the Thermostat
- Is the system selector switch in the “HEAT” position?
- Is the temperature set at least 3 degrees above current room temperature?
- If your thermostat is electronic, are the batteries charged? Is the display showing?
For Forced Air Furnaces Only: If your thermostat has a switch to control the furnace fan, switch the fan “ON”. (This switch will usually be located at the bottom of the thermostat, closer to the left side and will be marked “ON” and “AUTO”.) Listen to hear the furnace fan coming on. If you cannot hear the fan, go to one of the supply registers and see if you can feel any air coming out. If the fan is not running, there may be no power to the furnace.
If the thermostat is set properly, the next step is to check to see that there is power to the furnace.
Electrical Check – Furnace
There is usually an Emergency switch at the top of the basement steps. Make sure it is turned ON. Its easy to think this is the light switch for the basement and turn it off by mistake.
Your heating system may be equipped with another emergency shut-off switch on or near the furnace too. for the furnace. If your system is so equipped, locate it and make sure it is turned ON. In most homes, the emergency shut-off switch looks just like a regular light switch and will be located on the side or close to the furnace. If is turned OFF make sure to turn it back into the ON position.
Some heating systems also have emergency cut-out switches that are activated when a door or service panel is removed. Often the furnace door is not replaced properly after a filter cleaning and the cut-out switch will prevent the furnace from coming on. Check to make sure all access doors are properly secured and fitted.
If you have a high efficiency gas or propane furnace which uses PVC pipe to vent through the wall, make sure that the vent pipes are not obstructed by snow. The system is designed to shut down for your safety if these are obstructed.
Electrical Check – Panel Box
Locate the breaker or fuses in your home’s main electrical panel for both the furnace and air conditioning unit. Make sure the breakers are not tripped or the fuses are not blown.
- If your home has breakers, check to see if any are tripped. If a breaker has been tripped it will be in a position that is between ON and OFF. Reset the breaker (turn all the way OFF, then back ON).
- If your home has fuses, check to see if the fuse for the furnace is blown. If so, replace it with the SAME SIZE AND TYPE of fuse. Do not increase the size of the fuse.
- Warning: If a breaker keeps tripping or a fuse keeps blowing, you should contact a qualified service technician to inspect your system to determine why you are having problems.
If your unit seems to be operating, but not producing any heat, the furnace may not actually be running. The blower is pushing air through the house but the burner is not operating. If this is the case check the following:
- Do you have fuel? If your unit is oil, or propane fired, check the level of fuel in the tanks. If you ran out of fuel, order some more, and now your furnace will not start, your unit may have to be reset. Some systems have a red reset button on the burner. Other systems can be reset by turning system power off then back on. If it is oil-fired, the fuel pump may need to be primed.
- If you have an older gas furnace with a standing pilot look inside your furnace to see if it is on. If not, follow the instructions on the furnace to re-light the pilot. If after following the instructions, the pilot will not light or stay lit, call Burns & McBride
Other Common Heat Related Problems
- A completely clogged air filter can cause a no heating problem.
- Broken ignition transformer
- Broken blower motor
- Bound gas inducer motor could be stuck.
- Broken gas igniter.
If your HVAC unit comes on and stays on, you’re probably okay. If it comes on for about 90 seconds and then quits, or if it doesn’t come on at all, call Burns & McBride to schedule a service call with one of our knowledgeable technicians.