If your furnace has suddenly stopped working, there are several simple steps you can do for initial furnace troubleshooting. If you feel uncomfortable with any of these steps, contact your trusted local HVAC professional.
Check the Thermostat
Make sure your thermostat is properly configured and operating. If the thermostat’s display is blank, replace the battery. “Heat” should be selected rather than “cool.” Adjust the temperature setting to be at least five degrees warmer than current room temperature, to test if the furnace kicks on.
Change Your Filter
A seriously obstructed air filter can cause enough airflow restriction that the blower motor can burn out, or can even cause the heat exchanger to overheat, shutting down your furnace. Replace the dirty filter with a clean one, and see if your furnace kicks on. If it’s the blower motor, this won’t help, though if it’s another issue related to the filter, a clean one might be enough to get your furnace restarted. Get in the habit of inspecting the furnace filter monthly and changing it when it looks dirty.
Look for Turned Off Switches and Valves
All furnaces should have a standard wall switch on them or nearby. Your furnace may have stopped working because of this switch having been turned off. The gas valve being turned off could also be to blame – trace the gas line from the furnace to the meter, and if the handle is perpendicular to the gas pipe, turn it to parallel, to get the gas flowing again.
Clean the Chimney
Birds, squirrels and bats build nests that can fall through the chimney and block exhaust from combustion. Turn the furnace off and the thermostat all the way down. Put on protective goggles and take apart the duct connecting the furnace to the chimney. Clean out the duct as appropriate for better airflow. Reassemble the duct, adjust the thermostat and turn on the furnace. Some people consistently have problems with their chimney, in which case a twice-yearly professional maintenance plan may be a good investment.
If your furnace troubleshooting is unsuccessful and you need further assistance, please contact Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal for service throughout northwest Arkansas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about furnaces and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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