Furnace problems can leave you feeling chilly during the coldest months of the year. If your heater doesn't seem to be working to its full capacity, there are a few quick troubleshooting tricks you can try. Problems that persist are likely bigger issues that should be left in the capable hands of a heating repair technician.
Here are a few quick furnace troubleshooting ideas that are appropriate for nearly any adult homeowner. Note that you need to be careful even though these tasks are easy. The furnace involves at least electricity and potentially gas, so you want to be aware of your surroundings and not touch or turn anything without knowing what it does.
Check the Power and Thermostat
It seems like a simple solution, but you'd be surprised at how many homeowners skip this step because it seems too easy and obvious. First, make sure the electricity supply is turned on. Check your breaker box to make sure the fuse with your furnace hasn't blown without you noticing. If that looks okay, it's time to check the thermostat.
Start by replacing your thermostat's batteries if you haven't done so recently. While you have the unit open to replace the batteries gently blow with your mouth or a can of compressed air to remove any dust that might have built up inside. Replace the case, turn the temperature setting to make your house warmer and allow a bit of time to see if the heater is now working properly.
Check Your Vents
This is another problem that is overlooked due to simplicity. Make sure all of the registers and vents around your house are both open and not blocked by furniture and belongings.
Check to see if certain rooms or areas around certain vents are colder than the rest of the house. This can be a sign that your air ducts have holes that are allowing the hot air to seep out into your walls and flooring. The diagnosis and fix requires some professional assistance.
Check the Gas Valve and Pilot Light
If you have a gas furnace, locate the gas valve and make sure that it is turned open. Not sure where your gas valve is located? Consult the owner's manual for your unit.
Gas that's turned on isn't any good unless the pilot light is lit to spark the heating process. Consult that manual again to find the exact location of your pilot light. It's usually located behind the lower panel on your furnace. If the pilot light is extinguished, light it according to your owner's manual.
Working gas and a lit pilot light can still equal an improperly functioning furnace if some other part of the burner assembly isn't working. But those repairs are best left to a heating repair technician.