Furnace Repair Checklist
1. Look at the Thermostat
To begin, make certain that your thermostat is telling your heat to ignite.
- Change the batteries if the screen is not displaying anything. If the digital monitor is messed up, the thermostat might need to be changed.
- Make sure the switch is switched to “heat” instead of “off” or “cool.”
- Make sure the program is displaying the right day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having problems overriding the program, adjust the temperature by using the up/down arrows and holding the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to turn on if thermostat is causing a problem.
- Turn the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than what the room temperature currently is.
If your heating hasn’t turned on within a few minutes, make certain that it has electricity by moving the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t operate, your furnace might not have power.
If you have a smart thermostat—such as one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting will depend on your model. Check the manufacturer’s website for support. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to operate, contact us at 715-318-6728 for heating and cooling service.
2. Inspect Breakers and Switches
Next, check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.
- Look for your main electrical panel. If you have no idea where it is, search for a gray metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
- Make sure your hands and feet aren’t wet prior to touching the panel or breakers.
- Locate the breaker marked “furnace” or “heat,” and double-check it’s reading “on.” If the breaker has tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” area.
- Moving one hand, steadily switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker trips right away and pops back to “off,” don't try to reset it and contact an expert from Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC at 715-318-6728 quickly.
Regardless of your furnace’s age or brand, it has at minimum one standard wall switch placed on or near it.
- Make sure the lever is facing up in the “on” position. If it was shut off, it could take your furnace up to five minutes to turn on. (If you don’t know where to locate your furnace, look in your basement, garage or utility closet. It could also be in a crawl space or attic.)
3. Get a New Air Filter
When we think about heating problems, a filthy, blocked air filter is often the top culprit.
If your filter is too dusty:
- Your heating system won’t stay on, or it may overheat from reduced airflow.
- Your heating expenses could increase because your heater is operating more than it should.
- Your heating system might fail sooner than it should since a dirty filter causes it to work overtime.
- Your heating may be cut off from power if an excessively dirty filter is the cause of a tripped breaker.
While it depends on what model of heater you own, your air filter can be found inside the blower compartment of your heating system, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.
To replace your filter:
- Turn off your heating system.
- Remove the filter and hold it up to the light. If you can’t view light through it, use a new one.
- Insert the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the heater to keep damage from happening.
Flat filters ought to be replaced every month, while pleated filters should last about three months. If you have children or pets, you might have to replace your filter more frequently.
To make the procedure go more quickly down the line, draw with a permanent marker on your heater exterior or ductwork to list the airflow direction and filter size.
4. Inspect the Condensate Pan
Also known as drain pans, condensate pans catch liquid your heating system removes from the air.
If water is leaking from your heater or its pan has too much water in it, try these recommendations.
- If your pan contains a drain (look for a PVC pipe), double-check that it’s clear. If it requires draining, drop in a special pan-cleaning tablet you can buy at home improvement or hardware retailers.
- If your pan has a pump, inspect the float switch. If the switch can’t be moved from the “up” position with standing water in the pan, contact us at 715-318-6728, because you will possibly have to get a new pump.
5. Watch for Heating Error Codes
If malfunctions keep on happening, peek within your heating system’s plastic window to confirm the blower motor’s status. Depending on the model, the light may also be mounted on the surface of your furnace.
If you notice anything other than a steady, colored light or flickering green light, call us at 715-318-6728 for HVAC service. Your heating system could be communicating an error code that requires pro assistance.
6. Scrub the Flame Sensor
If your furnace tries to run but switches off without putting out heated air, a dusty flame sensor might be to blame. When this happens, your heater will make an attempt to start three times before a safety mechanism turns it off for about an hour.
If you feel okay with removing the panels from your heater, cleaning your flame sensor is something you are able to do personally. Or, one of our heating service experts can finish it for you.
If you are fine with cleaning the sensor yourself, you need:
- A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
- Portion of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
- A fresh paper towel
As the next step:
- Turn off the heating system’s power with its wall switch or breaker. If your gas valve isn’t electric, you must shut off the gas in addition.
- Remove the furnace’s front panel and trace the wire to the flame sensor.
- Remove the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to carefully rub the metal rod.
- Wipe off the rod with a paper towel.
- Remount the sensor.
- Secure the furnace doors.
- Turn the furnace’s power back on. It might proceed through a sequence of checks before proceeding with usual running. If your heater doesn’t start, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else may be causing a problem. If this happens, get in touch with us at 715-318-6728 for heating and cooling repair help.
7. Reignite the Pilot Light
If you have an outdated furnace, the pilot light could be extinguished. To relight it, find the instructions on a sticker on your furnace, or follow these steps.
- Locate the switch beneath your heater that says “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
- Push the switch to the “off” position.
- Don’t do anything for at least five minutes to limit the possibility for creating a fire.
- Turn the knob to “pilot.”
- Hold down the “reset” button as you move the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
- Let go of the “reset” lever once the pilot light is ignited.
If you have followed the list twice and the pilot light still won’t light or keep burning, contact us at 715-318-6728 for furnace service.
Double-Check Your Energy Supply
Try turning on a second gas appliance. If it doesn’t function, your natural gas service could be turned off, or you could be out of propane.