Furnace failure checklist
Living in Minnesota means needing a reliable furnace. And let’s face it- we take for granted we’ll come home from November-March and have a heated home. But, what happens when you come home from work, ready to kick back in the barcalounger with your robe and slippers only to discover your house is much colder than you expected and with steam practically rising from your astonished lips you mutter to yourself – now what? There are a number of possible reasons why your furnace is not working.
Here’s a checklist of items to examine before calling for professional HVAC help:
- Go to your thermostat and make sure it’s functioning properly – this is often times the culprit (and the easiest to fix).
- Check the setting…is it on the ‘heat’ rather than ‘cool’ switch? It may seem silly, but if you have kids at home still, you know that anything is possible!
- The room temp should match the degree-setting on the thermostat. If it’s an especially frigid day, the house may just seem cooler than it is. If the room temp is lower than what it’s set to be, adjust the thermostat up several degrees and see if that kicks on the furnace.
- If you haven’t upgraded to a programmable thermostat, it might be time to do so. Programmable thermostats are life-savers for working families, because you can custom set your heating needs (and cooling) by each day of the week. So while everyone is away at work and school the home is kept at a cooler temp…and then it kicks in at a certain time and warms up for you by the time everyone is home. Of course, programs can occasionally have issues – so if you have a programmable thermostat, and your house isn’t heating properly, confirm it is running on the proper day of the week. If it’s not on the correct day, start over and re-program your thermostat and see if that does the trick.
- Many thermostats require battery power – and many times the reason your furnace quits working is because your thermostat is out of juice. Hopefully switching out your old batteries to fresh ones will be all that it takes to get things going again.
- Check your furnace’s power switch and make sure it’s “on” (because these switches resemble normal standard wall switches they can mistakenly be turned off). These switches are located on or near your actual furnace. You may also need to check your circuit breaker or fuse box to make sure that you didn’t blow a fuse.
- You may have a clogged furnace filter, which can cause the furnace to shut off – check to see if a cleaning is needed or simply replace your filter.
If after all these basic checks have been made and you still have no heat, a service call to your local and qualified HVAC professional is your best bet. If it’s after hours, you may have to be prepared for an emergency service call, or else dig out the old electric blanket, fire up the fireplace or plug in the space heater and hunker in for the night. If it’s particularly cold and you have young children, you may need to have an impromptu sleepover at a hotel or friend’s house. But remember, don’t ever use your gas stove, kerosene heater or an outdoor BBQ as a heating source – it’s far too dangerous! Just bundle up and try to stay warm until your service provider arrives.
For home maintenance and comfort tips, visit StayComfyMinnesota.com! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.