6 Furnace Troubleshooting Tips to Ensure a Warm, Relaxing Turkey Day

Furnace Troubleshooting Tips

The holiday turkey is almost ready, the football game is on and Uncle Jack is already asleep on the couch.

But wait – it feels chilly in here. Did someone leave a door open?

You have to be kidding! The furnace is out?! What a nightmare!

After shouting a PG-13 expletive, try these six furnace troubleshooting tips before calling your favorite heating company.

1. Change the batteries in your thermostat.

There may be enough power from the batteries to light up the thermostat display but not enough to close the relay to turn the heat on.

2. Replace the furnace filter.

A big mistake is trying to get three months use out of a 1” filter, which needs to be replaced monthly. A dirty air filter will cause the furnace to overheat and shut down. If the furnace fan is running without a call for constant fan and there isn’t any heat coming out, there’s probably an issue with your filter. You should be able to get 6-12 months out of each filter if you’re using the 4” pleated media.

3. Check for a blank thermostat.

There are many thermostats that do not have batteries but run off of the furnace power.

The first thing to check is the power to the furnace. There should be a “light switch” either mounted to the side of the furnace or on the wall. These switches can get turned off accidentally because your wife/husband (assign blame here – if all else fails, blame the kids) sees it and thinks it should be off.

Checking the circuit breaker would be the next step in restoring power to the furnace. If the breaker is tripped be sure and call Pronto. There is a reason the breaker tripped and the furnace should be looked at.

4. Ensure the furnace door is secure and shut properly.

Many furnaces have safety switches that will shut the furnace down when the furnace door is removed. If the furnace was accidentally bumped or recently serviced, the door may have shifted and come loose.

5. Make sure the thermostat is in “heat” mode.

Here’s a simple one. You’ll want to make sure this step isn’t overlooked, because there’s no telling what might happen with a house full of your crazy relatives!

6. Check your PVC pipes.

NEWS ALERT! It snows in Minnesota, sometimes quite a bit! Many furnaces today are vented with PVC pipes out the side of the home or out the roof. Check to make sure a snow drift hasn’t covered these pipes – if the pipes are covered with snow, your furnace will shut down.

Hopefully you get lucky and one of these six “quick fixes” does the trick. But don’t pack up and head across town to Aunt Betty’s if the furnace is still not firing. Instead, schedule an appointment, and we’ll dispatch a friendly technician to save the day. (And maybe you’ll invite him over for some of your famous sweet potato casserole…?)