You rely on your heating system to keep your home warm and comfortable when the temperatures drop. Unfortunately, it always seems like the HVAC systems want to malfunction or breakdown when you rely on them the most. Coming home in freezing temperatures to discover your heater is broken can really ruin your day.
While you might jump to conclusions or think of the worst-case scenario first, it's possible it could be a minor problem that requires just a few tweaks you can do on your own. Since service calls can be expensive, it's important to find affordable alternatives. Here are some tricks all homeowners should know when it comes to furnace repair.
Inspect the Burners for Combustion Problems
The very first thing you should do when troubleshooting your furnace is turn off the power. Remove the door to the combustion chamber, and locate the switch to turn off the power. After you have done this, turn the power back on and turn up the temperature on your thermostat so the burners kick on and you can inspect the flame.
If it's not a steady and even blue flame and there may be soot and dust around the burners and you could have a combustion problem. Don't try to fix the burners if the flame is yellow because they need to be professionally cleaned. If the blue flame is getting interrupted, you can use a vacuum attachment and suck up dust and soot so there are no obstructions for the burner or the blower.
Solutions When the Pilot Light Is Out
If you have a gas furnace, the unit must receive fuel to work. If the burners or pilot light isn't lit or won't stay lit, the problem could be a simple clog. If it is an orifice clog, you can use a small wire and poke it around where the flame comes out to clear the clog of debris. If it is the flame setting, you may need to make adjustments to the settings to make it higher. Just be sure the gas and the circuit breaker is off when you're messing with the pilot light.
What to Do If the Heater Turns on But Does Not Adequately Heat Your Home
It can be frustrating when your heater turns on, the pilot light is lit, and the burners are an even blue but you are still not getting warm. All of this signifies there isn't a combustion, fuel, or ignition issue, but that there may be a larger issue at hand. When this happens, you'll need to go down a list of different potential problems with an experienced professional.
Steps to Take to Identify Cycling Problems
The first thing to look at in this case is air flow. When you're inspecting the combustion chamber, look at the blower and clean it with a brush to ensure dust is not blocking air flow. Another culprit could be a dirty air filter that is preventing the warm air from making its way to the vents. If this is the problem, one way to prevent obstructions in the future is to invest in cooler covers that protect the unit from the elements. If this isn't it, check the thermostat to see if this is where the problem lies. You can turn up the temperature and see if your heater responds.
If none of these tricks work, the problem may be with the motor. To test this, be sure you know where your reset button is in the motor housing so you can see if this puts the system back in working order. If you have tried all of basics and the do-it-yourself tricks aren't working, the safest bet will be to call a licensed professional.