If your heater is not working and your house is getting cold there are a few things that you can do to figure out why. In some cases, the cause of a furnace heating system not working is actually due to the thermostat or the absence of power, and not a problem with the furnace itself.
Here are 5 steps that you can take to find out if it is something simple or if you need to call out a qualified heating company to repair your furnace or heater.
1. Be sure that your thermostat is set to “HEAT MODE” and that digital models have a good clear display with new batteries.
2. (For Forced Air Furnaces) If your thermostat has a switch to control the furnace fan, switch the fan to “ON”. (This switch will usually be located at the bottom of the thermostat, closer to the left side and it will be marked “ON” and “AUTO”.) Listen to hear if the furnace fan comes on. If you cannot hear the fan, go to one of the supply registers and feel if any air is coming out. If the fan is not running, it is possible that there is no power to the furnace.
3. Your heating system may be wired with an emergency shut-off switch for the furnace. If your system is so equipped, locate it and make sure it is turned on. In most Winnipeg homes the emergency shut-off switch looks just like a regular light switch and will be located on the side or near to the furnace. (Sometimes there is a second switch at the top of the basement stairs) It is quite common for this switch to be turned off accidentally. If the switch is ON, but the fan still doesn’t operate, you need to check your electrical panel.
4. If your home has circuit breakers, check to see if any are tripped. If a breaker has been tripped it will be in a position that is either off or between ON and OFF. To reset the breaker turn all the way OFF, then back ON.
If your home has fuses, check to see if the fuse for the furnace is blown. If so, replace it with the SAME SIZE AND TYPE of fuse. Never should you increase the size of the fuse.
WARNING: If the breaker keeps tripping or the fuse keeps blowing, you should contact a qualified service technician to inspect your system to determine why you are having problems.
5. If you have an older gas furnace with a standing pilot (one that is on all the time) check inside your furnace to see if it is on. If not there should be instructions on the furnace to re-light the pilot. If after following the instructions, the pilot will not light or stay lit, call a service technician.
Extra Service Tip!
You should get to know your heating system BEFORE it breaks down and fails. Listen for the various sounds and where they come from, how long it stays on, and where the burner and motors are located. This will assist you if you need to explain your observations to a service person over the phone. If you’re not sure where and what things are, ask your Tradesman service technician for a quick tour during your next maintenance inspection.
Please keep in mind that the information provided here is free of charge and Tradesman Heating and Air Conditioning does not assume any liability resulting from the information we provide. We hope this information helps you but please note that these are just basic guidelines, and not all possible situations are covered. Your heating system should be inspected and repaired by a trained technician. Heater