A furnace not kicking on is one of the most alarming things of the winter. There you are nestled in on a chilly winter night watching movies. You press the thermostat up a couple more times and nothing. What once was just a nuisance is quickly turning into a cause for panic as the potential dangers start to run in your head – what if the pipes freeze, what if your electronics are damaged, what if we freeze?
Ideally, the problem of your furnace not turning on will happen during the day and at the very beginning of the heating season. Unfortunately, though that’s not always the case because of all the variables that could be causing the issue. Here are some potential causes and fixes of this very stressful scenario:
Before calling for service there is some home troubleshooting that can be performed. The first step is to check the thermostat to make sure it is set to “heating” and that it’s also set high enough to warrant kicking on. If the thermostat says “fan” then make sure you change it to heating. This is a commonly forgotten step in the winter.
Electric or gas, the furnace still needs power to operate. If it won’t kick on check for a blown circuit breaker and look to see that any associated wires haven’t been chewed through by rodents or become corroded.
No Pilot Light
Check underneath the furnace to make sure the blue pilot light is lit. Having them go out is quite a common occurrence that can be remedied with the strike of a match.
Insufficient Gas Supply
The last bit of troubleshooting to perform on your own is to make sure the gas valve is turned fully on so the furnace has a sufficient supply to fire up the system. Oftentimes, the furnace doesn’t kick on because the homeowner thought that the valve should only be partially turned for safety reasons. The valve should be either all the way on or all the way off (this is one reason why many manufacturers have switched to switches and buttons).
When to Get Professional Service
If none of the home troubleshooting solutions seem to remedy the problem, there may be some component issues requiring a service call from your local HVAC company. Those occurrences include:
Blower Motor Issues
There should be an inspection window on your furnace, but that does little if you don’t know what to look for. A flashing green light indicates a working blower system, but if it is red or not blinking, there are issues. An HVAC service pro will inspect the motor, control board, transformer, and other components that may have malfunctioned.
There is a condensation pan on the furnace that collects excess water and if the reservoir is full the furnace won’t turn on. Simply draining the pan isn’t a viable solution (but could work temporarily) because it doesn’t fix the issues causing this. There could be blockages preventing the water from draining or the condensation removal pump may have gone bad.
Dirty Air Filter – No Excuse
The last common reason for a furnace not kicking on is a dirty air filter which is simply an unacceptable malfunction. Homeowners need to be vigilant in changing their filter up to once a month in the Winter to lower efficiency bills, make sure air quality is pure, and to keep the furnace functioning. Changing air filters takes less than a minute, and doing so regularly can save hundreds of dollars over the life of the furnace.
There are other technical issues that could be leaving your furnace in the dormant phase. It’s best to be safe rather than sorry so call Comfort Pro, Inc. to get a clean bill of furnace health.