Put Away The Sweater - Tips For Finding The Problem With Your Faulty Furnace

Posted on: 22 August 2014

When a chill settles in the air inside, your first response is likely to turn up the thermostat. In most cases, this simple action triggers the furnace to produce more heat. However, most household furnaces are complex structures that are just as prone to failure as any other mechanical item. If your furnace isn't responding or doesn't seem to be producing the amount of heat you'd expect, do some troubleshooting on your own before you call an HVAC technician. Not only will it allow you to provide more thorough information if you need a technician, but it could save you the cost of the service call altogether if you can resolve it on your own. Here are some tips for troubleshooting your furnace problems.

No Heat Production

If your furnace isn't producing any heat at all, that's a sure sign that something is amiss. But, there are several different possible causes. First, you need to be sure that the system has power. Look for the fan switch on the furnace. Turn the fan to "On" and listen for the fan to engage. If you hear the fan turn on, you can eliminate power as a source of concern. If you don't hear the fan start spinning, the furnace may not be getting power.

Breaker, Breaker

Check the breaker panel in your house to see if the circuit for the furnace is tripped. It will be either in the "ON," "OFF," or "TRIP" position. If it's in the center in the "TRIP" position, flip it to "OFF" and then turn it back on. If it's already on, the breaker itself isn't the issue. Even if your breakers aren't labeled – though they should be – you can look at all of them to see if any switch is in an offset position or stands out among the rest.

Look for the Light

Many furnaces have a small window on the inner furnace structure with a light visible through it. You'll have to remove the furnace cover to see it, but once you find it, you will be able to find the code that can help identify the problem. Turn the furnace off and then back on, watching the light. When the light starts flashing, make note of the pattern that it flashes so that you can tell the technician what it is. He or she can decode that pattern to locate the malfunction.

Partial Heat Loss

If the problem you're dealing with isn't a total heat loss, but instead only a partial problem, the issue isn't likely to be a power supply. Instead, you'll want to start by checking the air filters in the furnace to make sure that they are clean. Dirty filters block air flow, which can lead to inefficient heating. Similarly, if there's a block in the ductwork or the radiators, that can lead to this as well. If the filters are clean, an HVAC technician can help you find the blockage.

Thermostat Malfunction

One of the easiest problems to remedy when a home heating system fails is a malfunctioning thermostat. If you find that your home's temperatures are fluctuating substantially, the thermostat could be the source of the problem. When the thermostat is failing, it may not be accurately reading the ambient temperature. This can cause it to start the furnace when it isn't necessary, or turn it off before the temperature has reached a comfortable level. An HVAC technician from a site like http://www.aabsoluteplumbing.com can recalibrate the thermostat if possible, or replace the unit for you to help you regain control of your home heating system.

Even if the problem isn't something you can fix on your own, knowing these troubleshooting tips will help you at least narrow down the potential issues to the most likely ones. This can save valuable time when you call a technician, because he or she can focus on the trouble area you have identified instead of having to do the troubleshooting first.