No heat in your house? Furnace not working? 6 simple hacks to try!Is your furnace not working properly? 

Is the Furnace blower not working at all?

Or is it not heating properly?

Before you call for service, try these simple tips.

1-Check to see that it’s not an airflow issue

The first step is to check your filters, vents, and chimney exhaust flue
Dirty filters are one of the most common cause of furnace not working properly. As the dirt, pet hair, and dust gets trapped in the filters, the air flow is restricted and eventually heat and pressure builds up and puts undue stress and wear and tear in the furnace.  In older units, efficiency is compromised and you will notice that your furnace does not heat your house properly. In newer models, the furnace is sometimes set to turn off when it senses that the filters are too dirty in order to avoid any damage to the unit.

Luckily, filter related problems can be fixed quickly and cheaply. Check your filters for obvious dirt and debris and replace as needed.

If the fan is working but the house temperature is not climbing, also make sure that all the vents or registers are open throughout your home.

Finally, if you have a chimney exhaust flue, make sure the chimney exhaust flue is clear by taking apart the air duct going from the furnace and checking it for debris that might be clogging it.  If you see that one room does get warm but another does not, you might also have blocked ducts. If you can get access, try to see if you can find anything that might restrict the air flow.

2- Check to see if it’s a thermostat issue

Next, if your furnace is not working at all, make sure that the thermostat is working properly

  • Check that the thermostat is actually “on”.
  • If your thermostat monitor is blank, replace the batteries.
  • Check that the switch is on “heat” rather than “cool”
  • If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure it shows the correct setting (i.e. “home” vs “away”) and the correct day and time.
  • Open the thermostat and make sure it’s clear of any obvious dust or debris.
  • Check the wires to the thermostat and make sure there are not loose wires.
  • Set the temperature to be 5 degrees higher than the current room temperature and listen to see if you can hear the furnace turn on.
  • If you cannot, go to the supply register and check to see if you can feel any air coming out of the vents.
  • Turn the switch to the “Fan” on and listen for it.  If it doesn’t come on, the problem may lie with the furnace not getting any power.


3- Check to see if there is an electrical issue with the furnace

It’s very possible the trouble comes from your unit not getting any electricity, so make sure the electric power to your furnace is turned on. Check the furnace itself and make sure that the “furnace switch” is turn on too.  The switch looks like a regular light switch and is usually located either on the unit itself or on a wall next to the unit.  That switch may not be labelled, but it should be set to the up position to be on.  If it was accidentally turned off, turn it back on and give it a few minutes the the furnace has time to “reboot”.

Because some furnaces’s emergency shut off switches are triggered by a door or service panel that has been removed and not replaced properly, make sure that all access door are closed properly.

4- Check for a tripped circuit breaker.

Make sure your furnace not working is not a result of a blown fuse.  Find your circuit breaker and look for the switch that controls your furnace.  Check to make sure  it hasn’t tripped (the lever will be going in the opposite direction from all the other switches).  If it is, just throw the switch all the way to the off position and back on again. Turning the circuit breaker off and on again will reset the furnace.


5- Check to see if it’s a gas issue. 

Sometimes, if you have an older furnace, the problem is with the pilot light. Make sure the gas is on by checking the pilot light and making sure it has not gone out. Sometimes it happens because the pilot opening is clogged or sometimes it happens because the valve is actually closed.

If you have a newer unit that does not have a pilot light, trace back the gas line back from the furnace to the meter and check that the handle is parallel to the gas pipe (that means it’s on) if you find that it was perpendicular.

6-  Check your furnace for an error code

If you have a unit that was built after 1990, your furnace should have an indicator light to self diagnose any issue it might be having.  Once you have flipped the furnace switch off and on again, as the furnace resets, the light will blink.  That flashing is meant to give you an indication of what the problem is.  Look on one of the furnace’s access panels for the key that tells you what each sequence means.  Even if the issue is something you cannot fix yourself, it will be a helpful starting point when you call the HVAC technician.

If none of these simple furnaces fixes resolve your problem, or if at any point you feel you are in over your head, it’s time to call in the cavalry. HVAC specialist will have the tools and the experience to be able to address more complex issues and prevent further furnace problems.
For all other furnace troubles in the Raleigh area, contact Cool Change Heating and Air. We will get your furnace up and running in no time so you can get back to what matters to you.