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Troubleshooting Your Furnace

You get out of bed and it feels like icicles are hanging from your nose. Your furnace is on the fritz, awesome. Now what? You can always call one of our trusted HVAC technicians to come take a look, or you can do a little troubleshooting first to see if there’s an easy fix.

Troubleshooting in under 5 minutes

Change Your Filters

You’d be shocked at how many problems are caused by dirty filters. In newer, more efficient furnaces, a clogged filter will cause the heat exchanger to overheat and turn off before causing significant damage. Dirt and dust can quickly clog the filter, which impedes airflow, worsens indoor air quality, and can even prevent the furnace from turning on in some cases. It can also become a fire hazard and cause premature breakdowns due to excessive dust and dirt.

Older furnaces will continue to run but at a reduced capacity. Your best bet is to set a reminder to change your filters. Pleated filters are good for 3 months, but if you have pets, kids, or generate a lot of dirt and dust, it’s better to replace more frequently. If you have inexpensive, flat filters, make sure switch them out monthly.

Check Your Thermostat

Make sure it is set to “heat” and try setting the temperature at least 5 degrees higher than the current room temperature. This will ensure that your thermostat is set to a temperature that will cause your furnace to turn on. We know it sounds silly, but a lot of people don’t have their thermostats set correctly. Programmable thermostats come with a lot of bells and whistles that can be tricky to navigate. Many have a switch that has to be physically set to “heat.” This switch can be easily bumped especially if you have older kids.

Your thermostat may also need new batteries. This is something you should replace every couple of years to be safe. You can alsocheck the location of your thermostat and make sure it isn’t receiving any false readings from sunlight, lamps, ovens, space heaters, or any other heat source. If the thermostat is receiving the wrong input, it will send out the wrong output.

Remodeled lately? You will want to make sure that there are no breaks in the wiring running from the furnace to your thermostat. If you find any breaks, the line can be spliced back together and wrapped with electrical tape.

Check electrical panel and Furnace Switch

You need to know if your furnace is getting electricity. On your thermostat, there should be a switch for the fan that says “on.” Flip that switch. If the fan comes on, your furnace is getting power. If not, you have other problems that an electrician friend can solve.

Go to your breaker panel and check to see if the switch labeled “furnace” is in the “off” position or in the middle. If your electrician didn’t do a stand up job with labeling, don’t fret. You’re looking for the switch that’s in a different position from all the others. To fix it, throw the switch all the way off and then back on.

It’s all About Prevention

Prevention is better than the cure. It’s recommended to have an HVAC technician come out twice a year – once in the fall before your furnace gets put to work and once in the spring to make sure your AC is up to snuff. These checkups are inexpensive, and your return on investment [in them] can mean hundreds (even thousands!) of dollars. Routine maintenance is a great idea for these high dollar items in your home. If you want to learn more about the benefits and features of our Comfort and Convenience Maintenance Plan you can visit our website here.

Give us a call today at 712-252-3007 or fill out this form online. Our service department is looking forward to serving you!