Easy Fixes for Your Furnace This Winter

Furnace diagnostics procedures with common and simple furnace fixes

If your furnace stops working in winter, even in Florida where we are, it can be a scary thought. Not to be able to heat your home and keep your family and pets warm and cozy can be very stressful. We love to help you become empowered to understand how your HVAC system works and there are a few ways you can do that when it comes to your furnace. So, we’ve compiled a few of the most common and simple furnace fixes so you can be toasty again in no time.

Check your thermostat

If your heat isn’t coming on, you want to make sure that your thermostat is actually communicating with your HVAC system first. Especially if you have a newer, “smart” thermostat, there can be miscommunications between this and your HVAC.

  • 1) Make sure that your thermostat is on the heat setting
  • 2) Turn your thermostat to several degrees higher than the current temperature and see if it comes on
  • 3) If you have a smart, programmable thermostat, make sure you are on the correct day and time for the schedule
  • 4) Ensure that there are no loose wires connected to your thermostat

Make sure the furnace is on

This may sound silly, but after not using your furnace for months and months it can be easy to forget that it may not always be turned on. Near the furnace, you should find an on switch so you can check to make sure it’s in the correct position before going on to our next step.

Check your breaker

You might be surprised, but one “repair” HVAC technicians often find themselves undergoing is simply flipping the breaker for the furnace at the fuse box. Make sure this is on so that your furnace can get power.

Check your front panel (blower motor cover)

There is often a switch on the front panel of your furnace which covers your blower motor. If the cover for this motor isn’t fully clicked into place, this switch will keep your furnace from turning on as a safety precaution. Make sure that this panel is properly fitted to troubleshoot this problem.

Check your furnace filter

Having a dirty and clogged furnace filter can actually cause your system to turn off altogether. If you’re having a furnace issue, you definitely want to check your filter. It can be easy to forget these as well if you haven’t used your furnace for a few months. If your filter is extremely clogged, your heat exchanger will not be able to take in enough air. It will overheat and shut itself off before bringing the house to the desired temperature. If your system continually shuts off, or if your blower is running but the air coming out isn’t warm, you may need to change your filter. If dirt accumulates in your filter, not all of the debris will be prevented from reaching your heat exchanger. These particles will accumulate on your exchanger and reduce its efficiency as well as the life span of the unit.

If you’re using a pleated filter, you should have a look at them once per month to make sure they don’t need to be changed. Hold the filter up to the light to see how clogged it is getting. If the light doesn’t shine clearly through your filter it needs to be changed as soon as possible. While these types of filters are recommended to be changed every 3 months, you definitely want to increase that to more frequently if you have a lot of people in your household, especially pets. The longer hair and more fluffy your pets are, the more frequently you will want to change the filter as well.

A simple flat filter should be changed routinely every month since while they are less expensive than a pleated filter, they provide less filtration and can become clogged more quickly.

Check your chimney flue

Your exhaust flue for your furnace can unfortunately sometimes become clogged by a bird who traveled in seeking warmth. Make sure your furnace is safely off before taking the duct cover off of your flue and checking for any blockages.

Check your gas

If you have a gas furnace, you need to ensure that the supply of gas is turned on. Make sure that the gas line connecting from the furnace to the meter is parallel to the line, not perpendicular (this means that it is turned off and no gas can reach your furnace). Someone in your household or a repair person may have turned this off when the furnace wasn’t in use.

Clean your drain lines

If your drain lines back up, your float switch should kick in and tell your furnace to turn off. In this case, nothing you do will make your furnace work again until the drain lines are cleaned so water can freely flow through them. Many furnaces have a clear piece attached to their drain hose which allows you to see if it seems dirty or clogged. If it does, it’s probably much worse inside of the rest of your drain line. Check our article on the best type of cleaning solution for your specific type of HVAC – you don’t want to use bleach without knowing first if your HVAC can handle it!

Make sure nothing is blocking your intake and exhaust vents

Some furnaces vent to the outside of the house. Make sure that leaves, sticks, and branches from the Fall season haven’t blocked one of these areas. It’s a good idea before the heating season starts to give all intake and exhaust areas a good sweep clean. Depending on your system, you may or may not have a heat pump. If you do, it is crucial to make sure there’s no vegetation blocking your outdoor compressor, as it will have trouble getting a sufficient amount of air to run.

Hopefully one of these simple ways to troubleshoot your furnace will help solve your issue! If not, give us a call or contact us here through our website and we will be happy to get your HVAC system up and running and your family comfortable and cozy again in no time.



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