Furnace Failure: 4 Easy Checks When the Heat Goes Out
The heating experts at Alpharetta’s Gagne Heating and Air share what to check on your furnace before you call in a repairman
There’s nothing as unpleasant as being without heat. If you wake up to a frosty house, your first reaction is to call a local heat repairman, pronto! But more than one homeowner has been very embarrassed to find that their heating crisis was something that they could have easily fixed themselves, without ever even having to open their toolbox.
Here are four common and easily fixable heat problems you can check for before you call for emergency heating repair:
Step 1: Check Your Thermostat
It may look like your thermostat is in regular working order, but it’s possible that it has been tampered with, so look closely. Here are three questions to investigate:
- Is the thermostat illuminated? If your thermostat runs on batteries and the screen is not illuminated, you may just need a couple of double AA batteries to fix your problem.
- Is the thermostat turned to “HEAT”? This may sound ridiculous, but strange things happen. For instance, perhaps your child accidentally turned the furnace from “HEAT” to “OFF” or “AIR”. If the setting is on heat, make sure it is at least three degrees higher than what the current room temperature reads.
- Does the fan turn on? If you have a forced air furnace, switch the fan from “Auto” to “On”. When you do this, you should hear the fan of the furnace kick on. If not, your problem lies with the furnace, not the thermostat.
Step 2: Check the Breaker Box and Other Electrical Connections
If all is well with the thermostat, go to your breaker box and make sure that your electrical circuits are all in good order. If so, move on to the side of your furnace, where an emergency shut-off switch is located. If the furnace isn’t in the “on” position, then try flipping it back on. If this still doesn’t work, then it’s time to make a call.
If your furnace starts up after you switch your circuit breaker or emergency switch back on, but the furnace quickly breaks the circuit again, don’t flip any more switches. Call a professional heat contractor.
Step 3: Check the Pilot Light and Fuel
Some older model furnaces still have a gas pilot light. If your furnace does, check to make sure the pilot light hasn’t gone out. If it has, then read your furnace manual for instructions on how to safely relight the flame.
And if your furnace runs on a fuel source such as propane or oil, make sure that you still have fuel in the tank. Running out of fuel without warning is one of the common scenarios with these types of heaters.
Step 4: Check Your Furnace’s Exhaust
All furnaces have exhaust pipes, and most new furnaces have emergency cut-off mechanisms in case the exhaust is blocked as a way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. For heating systems located in the basement or ground floor of a home, the exhaust pipe is usually found low on the outside of the home, and thus can get blocked up which shuts off the heat in your home.
Such a situation could happen if, per chance, there’s a huge snow storm here in the Atlanta area, or (more likely) the leaves have piled up around the house for a couple of seasons. If your heat isn’t coming on, check to make sure this exhaust pipe is clear of obstructions.
Call in the Experts
If you’ve checked the basics and your furnace still isn’t responding, it’s time to call for professional backup. At Gagne Heating and Air, our certified technicians are available with emergency repairs for those in Alpharetta and surrounding areas, including Duluth, Roswell and Buckhead.
Call 678-221-4328, day or night, for all of your air conditioning and heating needs.