Furnace problems, like most problems, always seem to arise at the worst possible moment. When snow is in the forecast, and the heat isn’t working, you want to know right away whether you can fix it yourself, how to do so, and if you need to call for expert help. We’ve got some expert solutions for the most common furnace problems you’re liable to run across.
7 Expert Solutions to Furnace Problems
1. Check Your Air Filters
This is one of the simplest solutions to any problem with your furnace, but it’s also one that people regularly forget about. It makes sense: changing the air filter doesn’t need to happen that often, so it doesn’t stay on your radar, and the date slips by. Whether your preferred calendar is electronic or hangs on your refrigerator, be sure to mark the right date, so you never forget.
If you’re not sure how to change your filter, ask for a tutorial next time your furnace professional comes for regular maintenance, as the process is a bit different for each type of furnace. In general, though, you should be changing the filters about once every one to three months, depending on the manufacturer’s directions.
Don’t let anyone tell you these instructions are a ploy by the manufacturer to get you to spend more money on filters. We’ve been in the furnace repair and maintenance business for a long time, and we know how important it is to make sure you’ve always got clean air running through your furnace.
2. Check the Batteries on Your Thermostat
If you aren’t getting any heat, one of your first troubleshooting tasks should be to check the battery in your thermostat. Some thermostats are wired into the main line, but many use a battery, so they don’t lose power if the power to the home goes off. These batteries last a long time, but they won’t last forever.
3. Check the Thermostat Settings
If your fan isn’t coming on or you hear the furnace cycling on and off all the time, check your settings. Your fan setting should always be auto. If you leave it on any other setting, the fan just keeps running all the time. If the furnace isn’t producing heat, your first step should be to make sure the setting on the thermostat is turned to heat.
You may have a set-it-and-forget-it attitude to your thermostat, but unexpected things can change the settings. A relative or even a visitor might have been bold enough to change things if they were cold or hot. You might have bumped something when you moved that shelving unit last week.
4. Check Your Circuit Breaker and Power
If the furnace isn’t working at all, and especially if you have a blank thermostat screen, make sure the furnace didn’t trip the main circuit breaker. Your furnace will be on a different breaker than the rest of the house, so simply reset the breaker and see how things are.
If the breaker immediately trips again, leave it. If you know how to replace circuit breaker fuses, shut off all power to the fuse box and do so. If the breaker still trips, or if you’re not comfortable working with the breaker fuse, call for furnace repair. It’s likely there’s something wrong with the furnace that needs to be addressed immediately. Your furnace repair professional will be able to tell you if you need to call an electrician, get a new furnace, or just need some repair work.
5. Check Your Maintenance Schedule
The best tip any pro can give you to avoid furnace problems is to keep up with regular maintenance. This should happen every year around the end of summer or beginning of fall.
Your professional will break things down and look for issues, make sure everything is running well, and basically give your furnace a tuneup. Lots of people neglect this step because they don’t want the cost of paying for maintenance. But maintenance does three important things to save you money.
It Extends the Life of Your Furnace
When you keep up with maintenance, you need fewer repairs. And when you’re told a new furnace should last you 15 to 20 years, you can be sure that with regular maintenance, you’ll get to the full 20 and possibly beyond. With sporadic maintenance, you might make it to the 15. With no maintenance, it will only last you half as long as it should.
It Reduces Your Risk of Emergency Repairs
Your furnace is most likely to experience a problem when you’re relying on it most heavily, and that’s when it’s cold. Because that’s true, winter is also the season when furnace repair professionals are most busy. You may have trouble getting someone out to your home at all, and if the problem happens after-hours, you’ll pay a steep fee for emergency service. You can greatly reduce your risk of this happening at all if you get regular maintenance.
It Satisfies Warranty and Insurance Requirements
For your warranty on your furnace to remain valid, you’ll need to be able to prove you’ve had regular maintenance. If your furnace breaks, your pipes freeze, and you sustain damage to your home, your insurance company is more likely to cover everything quickly and without question, if you’ve been keeping up with maintenance.
6. Check Your Furnace Flame
If you have a natural gas furnace that’s giving you problems, take a look at the color of the furnace flame. If it’s blue, with maybe a yellowish tip, it’s healthy and safe. You’re burning fuel efficiently. If the flame is any other color, and especially green, purple, or red, get in touch with a professional immediately. They may tell you to shut down your furnace, and if they do, it’s important to follow those directions.
If the flame is out entirely, your problem is fairly simple: the pilot light has gone out. You can relight this on your own following the instructions in your owner’s manual. However, be sure to turn off the gas for about 10 minutes before you try relighting the pilot light. This allows any remaining gas in the area to dissipate before you start.
7. Check All Your Vents and Registers
If the furnace is running, and especially if you feel that some rooms are properly warm, but others aren’t quite right, the problem could be in the vents or return grills. It’s fairly common for these to be unexpectedly obstructed by furniture, clothes, drapes, or even pet toys.
Covered vents aren’t just a problem for your comfort. When vents are covered when they shouldn’t be, it can cause restricted airflow that harms your ductwork, potentially causing excess pressure in certain places. When that happens, you might end up needing premature repairs. Also, know that shutting off vents in rooms you don’t use doesn’t save you any money, and it might even cause more problems later by harming the whole system.
Get Expert Help for All Furnace Problems
If you’ve tried everything and can’t fix the issue, contact Airforce Heating today and get the help you need. Whether it’s regular maintenance or emergency repair, we can do it all.