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One of the worst things that can happen in the winters is for your home to not feel warm and cozy. Now common sense dictates that this points towards something is wrong with your home’s heating system.
However, don’t rush off to call your HVAC technician just yet. Some furnace problems can be easily diagnosed and addressed without having to spend on professional help. Here’s a guide to take you through some furnace troubleshooting tips that should help with heating your home again.
Check your thermostat
- Check if the thermostat is set to “heat”. These settings can get changed sometimes while doing simple things like cleaning your house,and could be the cause of your heating problems.
- Make sure the temperature is set to keep your home warm. Normally, people keep their indoor temperature at around 70 degrees during the winter.
- If the thermostat isn’t working, make sure the wires that connect it back to the furnace do not have any breaks.
- If all of the above are in place, then you may need to change the thermostat batteries.
Check circuit breakers and shut off switches
- Sometimes, the solutions to these problems are really simple. Your furnace may have been switched off. Check for shut off switches near the furnace and make sure they’re on.
- Check the fuse box for an off chance that the power tripped and turned off the breaker. Reset the breaker to restore power to the furnace. However, if the power keeps tripping, it may be that the furnace has a safety switch that is causing this to happen. In that case, it is best to call a professional HVAC technician.
- It may also be that the heater is not working simply because the gas valve has been turned off. This is generally on your gas line next to the meter. If the valve is perpendicular to the gas line, turn it so it becomes parallel. Older water heaters and furnaces have a pilot light that indicates when the gas is on. Make sure it is operational as well.
Check the filters
- One of the reasons you may not be getting enough heated air may be because of a clogged air filter.
- A clogged furnace filter can cause it to shut down. Dirty heating system filters can also cause soot build up on the heat exchanger. This can cause long term damage to the furnace and shorten its lifespan.
- Flat filters, which are inexpensive, ought to be changed once a month, while pleated filters need changing at least once in three months. If your home has kids and pets, the increase in dust dictates that even this may need to be changed once a month.
Check the chimney flue
- All kinds of debris can clog the chimney flue, including birds that are drawn by the furnace heat and fall in.
- To clean it, turn off the furnace and your thermostat completely. Then, dismantle the flue duct where it exits the furnace.
- Clear out the debris and reassemble the flue duct.
Check the ducts
- The problem may not be with the heating, air conditioning or other parts of the HVAC system. It may be that your ducts are either leaking or clogged.
- If only some rooms aren’t getting the heat, check if all the room registers are open.
- Check the ducts for leaks and repair any you may find with metal duct tape.
- Make sure air conditioner bypasses, also called dampers, are all open.
Check the heat pumps and vents
- If your system has a heat pump, clear out all grass and debris from the outdoor compressor fins. Gently hose down all dirt and debris from the housing. Ideally, do this before winter sets in.
- Make sure inlet and exhaust vents are free of blockages.
- If you notice ice blocking any of the vent pipes, it is a sign of a more serious problem that requires the attention of a HVAC professional.
Prevention is always better than cure
While all of the above troubleshooting tips may seem easy, we’re sure it isn’t how you’d want to spend a cold winter day. The most prudent thing to do is to stick to a regular HVAC maintenance schedule in order to avoid unexpected surprises.
Read more: Healthiest temperature for your home