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Troubleshooting (Safely) a Furnace That Won’t Heat

gas-burnersA furnace that isn’t giving you enough warmth for your home is a problem. Sometimes the problem is a simple one you can correct yourself. In other situations, you’ll need professional heating repair in Colorado Springs from our technicians.

This post is not about how you can do a DIY fix on a malfunctioning furnace. We don’t recommend you attempt any type of repair on your own when it comes to your furnace. However, there’s a difference between “repairs” and “troubleshooting.” There’s nothing wrong with making basic checks on a furnace to see if there’s an easy solution, such as something you overlooked. But you shouldn’t open up the furnace cabinet and go in with tools. If you can’t get the furnace to work after running through the troubleshooting steps below, call us to handle it. We’ll take care of the issue completely and safely.

Double-check the thermostat

When your furnace isn’t giving you heat, always check on the thermostat to make sure it’s set correctly to turn the furnace on. If it’s early in the heating season, the thermostat may still have its warmer-weather programming as the default. There’s also the chance someone in the household made their own adjustments. See that you’ve got the thermostat set where you want it.

Change the air filter

A dirty air filter in the furnace is a frequent source of heating problems, and this can include the furnace losing most of its heat or shutting down. When the filter is clogged, it can cause the furnace to overheat and trip a limit switch. The lack of air moving through the furnace will contribute to it losing heating power or causing a breaker to trip (see below). Put in a fresh filter—this is always a good idea for the start of the heating season.

Reset any tripped circuit breakers

Gas furnaces may generate heat by burning natural gas, but they also rely on electrical components as well, such as an electronic ignition system and blower fan. The strain on the furnace can cause the breaker for the furnace to trip and shut down the system. Check the electrical panel for the house to see if any breaker has tripped. Reset it, then try the furnace again. If the breaker continues to trip, we recommend calling for repairs.

Open closed/blocked room vents

Closed vents in rooms create a spike in pressure in the ventilation system, and this can cause the furnace to cycle down. Vents may have become blocked accidentally during the fall. Their shutters may have also been closed, which is not an effective way to control which rooms receive heat and which don’t. Make sure all the vents are open so the furnace can operate correctly. 

Relight the pilot light (if there is one)

Older furnaces may use a standing pilot light rather than an electronic ignition system. If your furnace has a pilot light, check if it’s burning. Relight it if it’s gone out, but don’t continue to run the furnace if the pilot light burns green or other colors aside from blue or if it won’t stay lit.

Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning serves the Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. Call us for furnace repair service.

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