We all fear the moment when our home heating system breaks down, especially in the Twin Cities metro area, which has the coldest average temperature of any major metropolitan area in the United States. Here are some tips for furnace troubleshooting when your home heating system malfunctions or stops working:
- Is the Thermostat Set to Heat? First, check your thermostat setting. It may seem overly simple, but make sure that you have set the thermostat to “Heat,” especially if you are using it for the first time this season.
- Check the Thermostat Setting. Next, make sure that the temperature is not set too low, so the system is not calling for heat. Try moving the setting a few degrees upward to see if the heat will kick in.
- Troubleshoot the thermostat. For digital, programmable thermostats, the failure may be obvious on the display. For older thermostats, turn the fan switch “On” to check that there is power going to the furnace. Try cleaning the contacts on non-digital thermostats.
- Check the Circuit Breaker. Next, inspect the furnace’s circuit breaker and fuse. Make sure that neither are tripped or blown, cutting power. If the breaker was tripped, try resetting it. If the fuse was blown, replace it or consult a professional for help.
- Look at the Pilot Light. Unless you have a newer electronic ignition system, ensure the pilot is lit. If out, relight it by following your unit’s instructions, being careful that the gas valve is off and allowing the air to clear. If you are uncomfortable doing this, consult an HVAC technician.
- Is the furnace gas valve open? Inspect the natural gas or propane valve, which should be parallel to the gas line if it’s open.
If your furnace problem persists, consult an HVAC professional,