Furnace Repair Checklist
1. Examine the Thermostat
First, make certain that your thermostat is telling your heat to ignite.
- Swap out the batteries if the display is blank. If the digital screen is jumbled, the thermostat may need to be replaced.
- Ensure the control is on “heat” as opposed to “off” or “cool.”
- Make sure the program is set to the correct day and time and is programmed to “run.” If you’re having problems overriding the program, regulate the temperature with the up/down arrows and using the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to ignite if thermostat is causing an issue.
- Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees above the room temperature.
If your heat hasn’t started within a couple minutes, make certain that it has juice by switching the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t begin to run, your heating system may not have power.
If you use a smart thermostat—for example one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting will be determined by the model you have. Take a look at the manufacturer’s website for assistance. If you aren’t able to get your Wi-Fi thermostat to operate, contact us at 201-268-5663 for heating and cooling service.
2. Check Breakers and Switches
Next, check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.
- Locate your main electrical panel. If you don’t know where it is, look for a metallic metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
- Make certain that your hands and feet are dry before using the panel or breakers.
- Locate the breaker marked “furnace” or “heat,” and double-check it’s turned “on.” If you discover a tripped breaker, it will be in the middle or “off” area.
- Moving one hand, quickly flip the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker trips right away and pops back to “off,” don't try to reset it and call an expert from Total Comfort at 201-268-5663 right away.
No matter your furnace’s age or brand, it has at minimum one regular wall switch located on or close to it.
- Make sure the control is facing up in the “on” spot. If it was shut off, expect your furnace to take up to five minutes to ignite. (If you’re unaware of where to find your furnace, check your basement, garage or utility closet. It might also be in a crawl space or attic.)
3. Put in a New Air Filter
When we think about furnace problems, a dirty, blocked air filter is often the top offender.
If your filter is too grungy:
- Your furnace won’t be able to stay on, or it may overheat from limited airflow.
- Your gas costs might increase because your heating system is working more often.
- Your heater may stop working too soon since a dirty filter causes it to overwork.
- Your heater may lose power if an overly filthy filter is the cause of a tripped breaker.
Depending on what make of furnace you use, your air filter can be found inside the blower compartment of your heater, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.
To put in a new filter:
- Switch off your furnace.
- Remove the filter and hold it up to the light. If you can’t view light through it, use a new one.
- Install the new filter with the arrow facing toward the furnace to prevent damage.
Flat filters need to be replaced every month, while pleated filters should last about three months. If you have children or pets, you might have to replace your filter sooner.
To make the procedure smoother down the road, draw with a permanent marker on your heating system outside or ductwork to show the airflow direction and filter size.
4. Look at the Condensate Pan
Commonly known as drain pans, condensate pans hold liquid your heating system pulls from the air.
If moisture is dripping from within your heater or its pan has too much water in it, use these steps.
- If your pan includes a drain (look for a PVC pipe), check that it isn’t clogged. If it requires draining, get a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware shops.
- If your pan has a pump, check the float switch. If the lever is jammed “up” with standing water in the pan, contact us at 201-268-5663, because you will possibly need a new pump.
5. Watch for Heater Error Codes
If malfunctions persist, take a look within your furnace’s plastic window to confirm the blower motor’s status. Subject to the model, the light may also be attached on the surface of your furnace.
If you notice anything else besides a solid, colored light or flickering green light, call us at 201-268-5663 for HVAC service. Your heating system might be giving an error code that is calling for expert help.
6. Brush off the Flame Sensor
If your furnace attempts to start but turns off without blowing warm air, a dusty flame sensor could be at fault. When this takes place, your furnace will try to ignite three times before a safety mechanism powers it down for around an hour.
If you feel okay with taking the panels off your furnace, brushing off your flame sensor is a job you can do on your own. Or, one of our heating service specialists has the ability to complete it for you.
If you are confident cleaning the sensor personally, you need:
- A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
- Bit of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
- A fresh paper towel
As the next step:
- Disable the heating system’s power with its wall switch or breaker. If you don’t have an electric gas valve, you have to switch off the gas along with it.
- Take off the heater’s front panel and trace the wire to the flame sensor.
- Take off the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to gently scrub the metal rod.
- Clean the rod with a paper towel.
- Remount the sensor.
- Put the furnace doors back on.
- Turn the furnace’s power back on. It might run through a set of inspections before resuming normal heating. If your furnace doesn’t turn on, the sensor could have to be replaced or something else might be wrong. If this occurs, call us at 201-268-5663 for heating and cooling repair assistance.
7. Reignite the Pilot Light
If you have an outdated heating system, the pilot light could be out. To reignite it, look for the steps on a sheet on your heater, or try these recommendations.
- Locate the switch below your furnace marked “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
- Move the switch to the “off” position.
- Wait at least five minutes to avoid sparking a fire.
- Push the switch to “pilot.”
- Hold down the “reset” button as you push the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
- Depress the “reset” switch once the pilot light is lit.
If you have tried the instructions twice and the pilot light still won’t ignite or stay ignited, contact us at 201-268-5663 for furnace service.
Check Your Energy Source
Try switching on an additional gas appliance. If it doesn’t function, your natural gas delivery might be shut off, or you could be out of propane.