What Do You Do When Your Furnace Goes Out?

Dusty furnace

Why my furnace is not working?

Winter has arrived and the furnace won’t light. Who to call for furnace repair? While there are some checks you can do yourself, and we will review those things in a moment. However, there are some things that hiring a professional is the safest thing when it comes to furnace repair. Much like when you have a leaking roof, you call a professional roofing contractor.

When it feels colder in your house than the thermostat indicates, that usually means something isn’t right, and there are several possible problems. However, before you decide that you need to a new furnace, there may be some easy fix things to check that will save you a furnace repair or replacing the furnace:

  • The power source: Check things that could affect the power source such as dead batteries in the thermostat, the breaker is tripped or fuse is blown, or perhaps the thermostat isn’t connected to the power source at all.
  • A dirty thermostat can cause it not to work. On a regular basis, the thermostat should be cleaned of any debris, dirt, dust, spider webs cleaned out. These are things that cause the thermostat to malfunction, or not function at all. You can use a clean, dry, soft brush and wipe off the inside of the thermostat or canned air that you use on computers and other electronics. Never use anything wet.
  • Check inside the thermostat for loose screws or wires. If you see any loose or missing wires or screws, remove the batteries, turn the power off at the breaker box and tighten up the loose screws or wires. Then replace the batteries and turn the power back on.
  • It could be that your thermostat has lived its lifespan and needs replacing. While it doesn’t seem that they get a workout every day, they don’t last forever. Replace it with a programmable thermostat and you’ll find that you get your money back in lower energy costs.

Remember that with a regular cleaning and maintenance routine, you can minimize having this happen again and needing a furnace repair or replacement.

What do you do when your furnace goes out?

When your furnace is shut off, the first thing you need to do is shut it off at the switch and turn the thermostat off. Next, if you haven’t cleaned or replaced the air filter, do this now and set a regular schedule to do this every month. Next, check the air ducts and make sure none of the dampers are closed. This can restrict airflow, causing the furnace to overheat and quit working. If none of these gets the furnace working again, the problem could be more serious and requires a professional to determine if a furnace repair or replacement is needed.

How do you troubleshoot a furnace?

We need not tell you that to be comfortable and warm during the winter, a working furnace is a must. While fireplaces put out the warmth and they feel cozy sitting in front of it, they do not keep the entire house warm. Not to mention the fear of having that open flame all day and all night.

Your furnace needs regular maintenance and upkeep by you and a regular professional tune-up to keep it operating correctly and efficiently. Unfortunately, those efforts for proper maintenance doesn’t guarantee that you won’t need furnace repair or replacement. Should your furnace ever seem to have a problem, try these troubleshooting steps before calling a professional technician:

The Filter

Furnace filters collect dirt and dust, which clog the filter and impedes the airflow, lessens the indoor air quality, and can keep the furnace from turning on. Dirty furnace filters are often the culprit of premature breakdowns or malfunction, requiring furnace repair. It is also a fire hazard allowing that dirt and dust to accumulate. You should do the following steps every 30 days:

  • Turn the furnace switch and thermostat both off.
  • If you cannot see daylight through the filter when holding it up in front of a window, it needs to be cleaned or replaced.
  • Be sure to have the arrows on the filter facing in the direction the air flows, usually indicated on the furnace. Then close the access panel.

The Thermostat

Once you have confirmed the furnace filter is clean and have returned it back to the furnace, securing he access panel, check the thermostat.

  • Check the thermostat display and see the battery indicator is on – if it is, replace the batteries.
  • Confirm the thermostat is on “heat” and increase the temperature by five degrees than the room temperature.
  • If your furnace has an electromechanical thermostat, open the front cover and with a clean, soft brush (a paintbrush will suffice), gently dust around contact plates and metal coils.
  • Make sure the thermostat isn’t in a location that can affect how it reads the room temperature. It shouldn’t be near exterior walls and windows, lamps, space heater, or anywhere that puts out heat.

Dead batteries in the thermostat and dirty connections inside the thermostat have been found to cause service calls for furnace repairs.

The Electrical Panel and Furnace Switch

If the filter and thermostat are working properly, check the two power sources.

  • Confirm the furnace switch near the furnace is in the “on” position. Many furnace repairs calls have been nothing more than this switch was turned off. If that doesn’t make the furnace cut on, or the switch is in the “on” position, check the electrical panel.
  • Check the breaker box or fuse box to confirm the power is on. The breaker box should have a switch labeled “HVAC”, if not, the double switch that is flipped in the opposite direction is probably the “HVAC” switch.
  • By flipping that switch back so that it is in the same directions as the others, this will reset the breaker. You should feel and hear a click when you flip it.
  • If your home is running on a fuse box method, look for a fuse that is discolored or melted and unscrew it, replace it with a new one in the same size and type.
  • No turn the furnace switch on and the power should be restored to the furnace. If the breaker trips again or the fuse blows, you’ll need to schedule a furnace repair with a professional.

Caution: Never attempt these steps if feet and/or hands are wet. If you are concerned or unsure of doing these things yourself, call a qualified technician for furnace repair.

The Furnace Flame

The flame in the furnace should be blue with a possible small yellow tip. If the flame is green, purple, red, yellow, or any other color, schedule a furnace repair immediately. This indicates that the furnace isn’t burning the fuel efficiently and safely. Do not make any attempt at the repair steps described above if the flame is any other color than blue.

The Gas Valve and Pilot Light

If the pilot light flame is out, take the steps to relight it according to the manual instructions. This will require you to turn the gas off to the furnace for ten to fifteen minutes. If you smell gas after you have turned it off at the furnace, stop and call 911 immediately. This could indicate a problem beyond a furnace repair.

The Registers and Vents

Sometimes when the rooms aren’t heating up, the airflow for the furnace may be blocked or closed. Make sure all grills are open and do not have any obstruction. Move anything from them like furniture and rugs. Closing the registers or vents in unused rooms will cause more issues that can cost you money in furnace repairs.

How do you reset a furnace?

If the furnace motor gets too hot or the electricity is interrupted, this will cause the switch to shut off the furnace. This prevents the breaker from tripping.  Typically, you can push the reset button, and everything turns on.

Burning Furnace working

What is the average cost of a furnace repair?

It isn’t possible to pinpoint an average cost for or a furnace repair. There are many components and factors involved in the operation of a furnace and depending on where you’re located can affect the pricing. There will be a base service call, which may or may not be deducted from the furnace repair cost, each company has different policies.

When you need furnace repair, take the time to check the credentials, insurance, licensing, and references of several technicians before hiring one. Ask about their process in checking a furnace and what their expertise and experience is regarding how to repair furnace blower motor, how to repair the furnace vent pipe, and how to repair furnace pressure switch. These repairs are often the more expensive part of the furnace repair. Inquire if they buy new or rebuilt parts and what do they do with parts they replace. Dial (630) 333-9306 today for furnace repair service in Roselle and Schaumburg, IL from Temperature Control Maintenance.