Your Heating Problem Repair May Be Easy to Fix Yourself
When your heating stops working, you may be able to repair it yourself, if you know what to do. Many people just call the HVAC contractor for a repair without realizing the problem could be an easy fix. They end up waiting in the cold. And, when it’s over, they have an unnecessary repair bill.
To be sure, if you don’t know what to do, call an HVAC professional for help. Some heating repairs definitely require a professional to handle. However, before you call in the experts, check to see if the problem with your heater is a simple fix. Here are a few common problems many homeowners experience with their heating systems that most can repair without the help of a professional HVAC technician.
Tripped Breaker or a Flipped Switch
It’s not that unusual for the problem to be a tripped circuit breaker or a switch that has been turned off. Make sure all power switches are “on.” The furnace power switch is typically located on the furnace itself or on a nearby wall. Flip the switch and see if the power returns to the furnace.
Also, check the front panel covering the blower. In some models, you need to make sure the panel is shut tightly. A switch under the panel needs to be depressed before the furnace will turn on.
If you have a gas furnace, look for a gas valve on the gas line. It may have been turned off by someone and not turned back on. If you find a handle that’s perpendicular to the gas pipe, turn it to the “on” position. In the “on” position, the handle will be parallel to the gas line.
If you have an older model furnace, check that the pilot light is still lit. If you have a newer model, it probably has a system that uses flashing lights to tell you the furnace’s operational status. A sequence of flashing lights or numerical code can tell you if the system is getting power or has a mechanical or technical problem that is interfering with its proper operation. Refer to the furnace’s operator manual or access panel for the key that explains the code’s meaning and recommended solutions.
Check the Thermostat
Roughly one quarter of the furnace repair calls turn out to be problems with the thermostat, not the furnace. Make sure the thermostat is operating and the settings are properly set. When more than one person resides in the house, it’s not unusual for someone to change the settings. Make sure the “heat” switch is in the “on” position. If your blower won’t stop running, make sure the fan setting is not stuck in the “on” position. Switch it to “auto.”
Make sure the thermostat is set to the temperature setting you prefer. If you have a programmable thermostat, check the other settings to make sure the thermostat is communicating correctly with the furnace.
You can also bypass all of the program features by setting it to “manual” and “heat.” Then adjust the temperature to at least 5° higher than the current room temperature and listen for the furnace to start. If it does, your thermostat is probably faulty and may need to be replaced.
If your thermostat has a battery, replace it.
Change the Air Filters
Overly dirty and clogged air filters can cause your furnace to malfunction. Dirty filters block airflow, which causes the heat exchanger to overheat and shut off before your house has a chance to warm up. A dirty filter can cause soot to build up on the heat exchanger, which then causes two problems: it impairs the operating efficiency of the furnace, and, over time, this shortens its life. Change the air filters monthly.
Clear the Drain Lines
It’s not unusual for drain lines to become clogged. If your furnace is a newer one, be aware that high-efficiency furnaces can drain off several gallons of water a day in the wintertime. When drain lines become clogged, the furnace will shut down.
Flushing the drain lines is easy. Simply remove the hose, fill it with a mixture of 25% bleach and 75% water. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse it thoroughly.
Clear Debris from External Components and Vents Outside Your Home
Check any components and vents located outside your house. Make sure there is no debris or objects interfering with operating components or blocking vents, as well as obstructing intake openings or exhaust vents. Clean or replace any mesh covering the pipe openings. If you see ice clogging one of the pipes, your problem could be somewhere inside the system. You will need to call your HVAC professional to diagnose this problem.
If you have a heat pump, make sure nothing is building up on the fins of the outdoor compressor unit. It is a good idea to hose it down carefully before the cold weather arrives and clean off dirt and debris.
Gas furnaces have an igniter that occasionally goes bad. With the power off, open the burner access door by lifting up on the door handle, then pull the door away from the furnace. The igniter will be next to the burner assembly and the flame sensor. If it looks discolored, chances are it needs to be replaced. You can obtain a replacement igniter from an HVAC repair service, or call a professional to do it for you.
Exhaust in the Pressure Switch Tubing
You can clear moisture from the pressure switch tubing using an air gun. This silicone tubing runs between the flue and the heat exchanger and the safety furnace pressure switch. Remove the tubing, blow it out, and then reattach it.
Contact Presidential Heating and Cooling for Information About Heating Repairs
Having your heating system serviced regularly will go a long way to avoiding these problems. A professional HVAC technician will inspect your system before the cold season begins. They will clean all of its components and take care of minor repairs for you. If you still have questions about the ways you can service your heating system yourself, consult with the HVAC professionals at Presidential Heating & Cooling. Their experts are available to answer your questions and discuss the professional heating repair services they offer.