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Basic Troubleshooting Steps for Common Furnace Problems

Basic Troubleshooting Steps for Common Furnace Problems

Has your furnace left you out in the cold? While this issue can be frustrating, on a positive note, you might not even need to call a technician. Yes, you read that correctly! Below, we’ll share some essential troubleshooting tips that can help you get your home’s heating system running in short order.


These are steps that an expert will typically take when examining a furnace issue, so by the time you’re done following these steps, you’ll be halfway to being an expert yourself.

1. Is the thermostat responding?

First, make sure your thermostat hasn’t gone haywire or lost power. If the screen is blank, then the thermostat most likely needs new batteries. Hardwired thermostats might also not receive power due to a tripped circuit breaker, so check your home’s circuit breaker panel for a tripped switch.

Something to keep in mind: if you own a Wi-Fi thermostat, it needs to be connected to Wi-Fi to receive updates that fix bugs and other issues. Make sure your thermostat is connected to Wi-Fi and that it has all the recent updates.

2. What does the thermostat say?

Double-check that your thermostat is set to heat your home, not cool it. It’s always possible that someone bumped the thermostat by accident or that one of your kids may have played with it when you weren’t looking.

Most people prefer to have their thermostat set to “auto.” If your thermostat setting reads “on,” then your system’s blower is going to circulate air throughout your home even if your furnace isn’t heating it. This means that the air coming out of your vents may start to feel cold or lukewarm.

3. Is your furnace getting power?

Even if you own a gas or oil furnace, this still applies. Your heating system relies on electricity in some way, whether it’s to ignite or run the blower motor. Because your heating system uses a lot of power, an additional, brief power surge can cause the circuit breaker to trip. Check your home’s circuit breaker panel and reset any tripped switches.

4. How long has the current air filter been in your system?

When it comes to disposable air filters, most people will leave theirs in their heating system for 90 days (or longer) because the manufacturer’s directions say the filter is good for “up to 90 days.” In reality, most filters need to be changed more frequently than that, especially when the AC or furnace is running almost daily.

Check on your furnace, and if it doesn’t look new or close to it, try putting a new, fresh filter in your system and see if that solves the issue. Dirty filters prevent air from flowing through your system, and when that happens, the equipment can overheat. When overheating occurs, the system will either shut itself down to prevent an issue, or the equipment will break down and fail.

Something else to keep in mind: have you changed the type of filter you typically use? Filters come with an efficiency rating. The higher that rating is, the more particles the filter keeps out. However, filters with high-efficiency ratings can also prevent your system from getting adequate airflow. Check your furnace’s owner’s manual to see the maximum filter efficiency it can handle, and make sure you’re not using anything higher than that.

5. Is your furnace’s door shut securely?

The door on your furnace can occasionally pop out of place, or someone may not close it properly. Some furnaces will not run until the door is closed securely. Try opening and closing your furnace’s door and make sure that it snaps or clicks snugly into place.

6. Is your furnace getting gas? (Applies to gas furnaces only)

Every gas furnace should have a gas shut-off valve right next to the equipment. When this valve is open, your furnace can get the gas (fuel) it needs to ignite and produce heat. When the valve is closed, your furnace cannot get any gas with which to operate.

Look for a pipe leading into your furnace. The valve will be located on this pipe. If the valve is open, the valve’s handle will be parallel with the pipe. If the valve’s handle is perpendicular to the pipe, turn it until it’s aligned with the pipe to let gas flow.

Still having trouble with your furnace?

At Monarch Home Services, our NATE and EPA-certified heating repair experts are ready to bring comfort back to your home! For service in Bakersfield, Fresno, or Visalia, please call us today at (661) 452-8707.

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