Keeping your furnace up and running is crucial to a comfortable home in the colder months. Unfortunately, furnaces occasionally break or need repair. We understand—when your furnace isn’t working properly, you want to get it fixed as soon as possible! However, there are a few things you can check at home before calling your local furnace repair technician. Here are a few troubleshooting methods for identifying what’s wrong with your furnace and how serious the issue is.
Check Your Filter
Start by making sure your filter isn’t blocking air intake into the furnace. Over time, filters can become clogged with dirt and dust. Not only does this lower air quality in your home, but it can also stop your furnace from turning on.
To check your filter, turn off your thermostat and turn your furnace off. Remove your filter from your furnace, and hold it up to a light source. If light can’t pass through easily, you should clean or replace your filter.
We recommend replacing your filter once every couple of months, but to make sure your furnace is properly functioning, checking your filter every month will make sure you stay on top of your routine maintenance.
Check Your Thermostat
It sounds simple, but making sure your thermostat is properly functioning is a key troubleshooting item that you should check before hiring a technician to fix your furnace. Ensure that your thermostat is set to “heat” and that the temperature is at least 5 degrees warmer than the current room temperature.
Some thermostats also run off of battery power. Make sure your batteries still have juice and are powering your thermostat.
Your thermostat could also be getting false positives, making it think it is warmer than it really is. Make sure your thermostat isn’t in direct sunlight or near a lamp, space heater, or any other heat source. If so, it could be reading the room as warmer than it is, causing it to stop the furnace from kicking on.
Check Your Pilot Light & Furnace Flame
First, check to make sure your furnace flame is the right color. It should be a healthy blue color with a yellowish tinge at the tip. If instead, it’s burning red, yellow, purple or green, then your furnace is not currently burning fuel properly or efficiently. In this case, we recommend calling a furnace repair technician immediately.
When checking your furnace flame, you may also discover that the flame has been extinguished. Re-lighting your pilot light is a simple chore, but we recommend consulting your furnace manual first. It’s also crucial that you turn the gas off for at least 15 minutes prior to attempting to re-light your pilot light. Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, contact a professional to help you do it.