You’ve turned on the heat and nothing happens. No click. No warm air flowing through your vents. And it’s cold inside. Should you immediately call for service?
While some situations require a call to the technician to set up a service appointment, not all do. There are some simple steps you can take to troubleshoot possible problems to save yourself time and money before calling for service.
Check the thermostat
You’d be amazed how often settings on the thermostat cause issues that result in a technician visit. Take a moment and check your settings before calling. It could be that someone messed with the settings or something wasn’t set correctly.
Newer HVAC control panels can be complicated. If you’re having problems with your thermostat control pad or don’t understand it, ask your technician to walk you through it again during their next visit.
Check Batteries if Applicable
If your thermostat uses batteries and you find it isn’t lighting up, dead batteries could be to blame. Replacing these batteries yourself is simple and doesn’t require a visit from a technician.
Check Circuit Breakers
If the batteries are OK but your system still isn’t working, check the circuit breakers or fuse box. Make sure fuses to your system haven’t burned out or make sure your circuit breakers haven’t been tripped. Sometimes a jolt of electrical energy can trip a breaker, so it’s worthwhile to investigate the circuit breaker or fuse box before calling for help.
While your furnace most likely uses gas (or heating oil) to provide heat, it requires electricity to run. So, if your power is out, your furnace will not operate.
Your filters should be changed every couple of months. This is especially true during months of heavy use, like cold winters. If your furnace unit doesn’t seem to be blowing sufficient air through vents, or if it’s cycling on and off without warming your home to the desired temperature, it could be the result of a dirty filter. Regularly changing filters will help your system last longer and operate more efficiently.
Check Indoor and Outdoor Switches
Most units have a way to disconnect the power. In our area, the furnace (or air handler) is usually plugged into a normal-looking household outlet, while the outdoor unit typically has a disconnect mounted on a wall near the unit. Occasionally a child or pet will accidentally hit one of these switches, so if that’s a concern, check these switches before calling for service.
If you’ve completed all these steps and still don’t have heat, it is time to call for technician service. Mention to your technician that you have completed this checklist and they will take it from there.
Have a question for Dirk? Send it to dirk@roperHVAC.com and he’ll try to answer it in an upcoming column.