Furnace Repair Checklist
1. Examine the Thermostat
To start, make sure your thermostat is signaling your heater to start.
- Swap out the batteries if the screen is blank. If the digital display is messed up, the thermostat may need to be swapped out.
- Ensure the switch is set to “heat” as opposed to “off” or “cool.”
- Ensure the program is showing the correct day and time and is scheduled to “run.” If you’re having a hard time getting out of the program, adjust the temperature by using the up/down arrows and pressing the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to turn on if thermostat is causing a problem.
- Turn the temperature setting to 5 degrees hotter than the temperature of the room.
If your heater hasn’t started within a few minutes, ensure it has juice by moving the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t start, your furnace could be without power.
If you utilize a smart thermostat—like one manufactured by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Check the manufacturer’s website for assistance. If you aren’t able to get your Wi-Fi thermostat to work, reach us at 304-707-0600 for heating and cooling service.
2. Examine Breakers and Switches
Next, confirm your breaker and furnace switch are on.
- Locate your main electrical panel. If you have no idea where it is, look for a silver metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
- Make sure your hands and feet are dry before opening the panel or breakers.
- Locate the breaker marked “furnace” or “heat,” and double-check it’s moved to “on.” If you discover a tripped breaker, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
- Using one hand, quickly switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker instantly trips and pops back to “off,” don't try to reset it and contact a team member from Appalachian Heating at 304-707-0600 quickly.
It doesn’t matter how old your furnace is or what brand it is, it has at minimum one standard wall switch installed on or near it.
- Ensure the switch is flipped up in the “on” spot. If it was switched off, expect your furnace to take up to five minutes to ignite. (If you don’t know where to locate your furnace, take a look at your basement, garage or utility closet. It can also be in a crawl space or attic.)
3. Put in a New Air Filter
When we think about furnace breakdowns, a filthy, clogged air filter is often to blame.
If your filter is too grungy:
- Your heater won’t be able to stay on, or it could get too warm from reduced airflow.
- Your energy bills might go up because your heater is running more than it should.
- Your heating system could fail sooner than it should since a filthy filter causes it to work overtime.
- Your heating might be disconnected from power if an overly dirty filter is the cause of a tripped breaker.
While it depends on what model of heater you own, your air filter will be within the blower compartment of your heating system, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.
To replace your filter:
- Cut the power to your furnace.
- Remove the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t notice light through it, get a new one.
- Insert the new filter with the arrow facing toward the furnace to prevent damage.
Flat filters ought to be replaced every month, while pleated filters should last about three months. If you have children or pets, you could have to replace your filter more often.
To make the procedure go more quickly down the line, draw with a permanent pen on your heater outside or ductwork to indicate the airflow direction and filter size.
4. Check the Condensate Pan
Also known as drain pans, condensate pans hold water your furnace draws from the air.
If water is dripping from within your furnace or its pan is overflowing, follow these guidelines.
- If your pan has 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 uses a pump, inspect the float switch. If the lever is jammed “up” with water in the pan, call us at 304-707-0600, because you will probably have to get a new pump.
5. Watch for Furnace Error Codes
If malfunctions persist, take a look within your heater’s plastic window to confirm the blower motor’s status. Subject to the brand, the light may also be mounted on the exterior of your heating system.
If you see anything other than a solid, colored light or flickering green light, call us at 304-707-0600 for HVAC service. Your furnace could be emitting an error code that needs pro service.
6. Brush off the Flame Sensor
If your furnace attempts to run but switches off without distributing warm air, a dirty flame sensor might be to blame. When this takes place, your furnace will make an attempt to start three times before a safety feature turns it off for about an hour.
If you feel okay with removing the panels from your furnace, gently scrubbing your flame sensor is a task you have the ability to do personally. Or, one of our heating service professionals is able to do it for you.
If you want to clean the sensor on your own, you should have:
- A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
- Piece of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
- A fresh paper towel
- Disable the furnace’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If you don’t have an electric gas valve, you will need to shut off the gas in addition.
- Lift off the heater’s front panel and track the wire to the flame sensor.
- Take off the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to lightly rub the metal rod.
- Wipe off the rod with a paper towel.
- Put the sensor back in.
- Secure the furnace doors.
- Turn the furnace’s power back on. It could proceed through a sequence of tests before resuming regular running. If your heater doesn’t ignite, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else may be wrong. If this happens, call us at 304-707-0600 for heating and cooling repair support.
7. Relight the Pilot Light
If you have an older heating system, the pilot light could be out. To light it, look for the instructions on a sticker on your heating system, or follow these steps.
- Locate the switch beneath your heating system labeled “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
- Push the switch to the “off” position.
- Don’t do anything for at least five minutes to prevent creating a fire.
- Move the switch to “pilot.”
- Push the “reset” lever as you push the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
- Let go of the “reset” button once the pilot light is lit.
If you have gone through the guide twice and the pilot light still won’t light or stay lit, contact us at 304-707-0600 for furnace service.
Inspect Your Fuel Delivery System
Try using an additional gas appliance. If it doesn’t function, your natural gas delivery may be shut off, or you may have run out of propane.