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Troubleshooting Your Furnace: 4 DIY Fixes To Try Before You Call In The Pros

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Many times, homeowners call a furnace professional only to find out that the issue they needed help with was minor and could have easily been repaired by them. Therefore, to save you the money of an HVAC service call, here are a few troubleshooting tricks to do first:

1. Check the Thermostat.

If your furnace isn't coming on, it may just be an issue with the thermostat. To check, try some of these tips:

  • Ensure the thermostat is not set to "cool" and that it is indeed set to "heat."
  • Set the thermostat about five degrees higher than the current temperature in the room. The furnace should kick on right away.
  • Take out and replace the batteries.
  • Take off the thermostat and blow out any accumulated dirt and dust.
  • Make sure the fan is set to "auto" and not "on" or "off."

2. Check the Filter.

If your furnace doesn't heat the home despite running forever or shuts down unexpectedly, the problem may be a dirty filter, which can cause numerous problems, including:

  • The heat exchanger could overheat and eventually break down, which would require repair or replacement.
  • Soot could begin to accumulate on the heat exchanger, which will lower your system's overall efficiency.
  • Airflow will be seriously constricted, which can easily cause discomfort in the home.

To see if your filter is dirty enough to be changed, hold it up to the light. If you can't see light shining through it clearly, it's time to replace it.

3. Examine Circuit Breakers and Switches

If your furnace refuses to switch on regardless of the temperature. That you have it set up, it could possibly be turned off. Here is where to check:

  • The wall switch close to the furnace itself. This will look very similar to that of a standard light switch that it is every room of your home.
  • The circuit breaker panel. Inside the panel box, there should be one switch that is labeled "furnace." Locate it and if the switch is in the middle, then it has somehow been tripped. Turn it "off" and back "on." If it trips again immediately, there may be a much larger issue at play.
  • The front panel on furnace blower. Ensure that this cover is completely shut and secure. There should be a switch underneath this panel that must be depressed in order for the furnace to work properly.

4. Check for Closed Air Vents.

Many believes that closed vents in unused rooms save money, but they usually only cause issues. This is because the furnace will still send out the same amount of air, so it increases pressure inside the ducting when the vents are shut. This extra pressure may be causing your issues, including:

  • Less-than-ideal comfort. Air ducts often have air leaks, which allows the heat to escape instead of enter your home. In fact, you may be losing up to 30 percent of your air. With the increased pressure, more heat is being pushed out and it may even be creating larger or new leaks.
  • Furnace turning off. This additional pressure can often cause the blower to not work at optimal speed. This will then cause there is be less air at the heat exchanger, which could result it in it overheating and stopping – similar to if your air filter is dirty.

If you're tried all the troubleshooting tips and tricks outlined here and are still having furnace issues, schedule an appointment with a heating service and repair company as soon as possible to get the problem under control so you can live in comfort again.