Heat Off? Troubleshoot With These Steps

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Imagine waking up one cold morning to find your air vents unusually silent, with no warm air being pushed through them. Finding that your home's temperature has mysteriously dropped can make you frustrated, worried, and wondering whether you should call in the pros. There are several reasons your heating may have turned off, but before you find yourself reaching for the phone, try resolving it by yourself with these troubleshooting tips. With these troubleshooting steps, you should be able to identify the root of your heating dilemma.

Troubleshooting Your Thermostat 

  1. One of the first things you should do if your heat has turned off is check your thermostat for any malfunctions or errors that may have occurred. If there is any dust or debris in the thermostat, gently blow it off.
  2. Make sure it's set correctly to the "heat" position and then change its set point so it's higher than your current room temperature by several degrees to see if the system will activate. An error with your thermostat can sometimes make the furnace think your home is warm enough to not need any more heating.
  3. Try replacing the battery, as dead batteries can lead to your thermostat losing its settings reverting to its default programming.
  4. It's also possible that your thermostat is faulty and sensing indoor temperature incorrectly. If the latter appears to be the issue, a professional will need to be called in to repair the sensor.

Troubleshooting the Ignition On Your Furnace

Older houses have gas or combustion-fuel furnaces while newer homes usually have electric ignition. If your furnace is older, then it will have something called a "pilot light". Make sure the gas to your furnace is shut off before proceeding with these troubleshooting tips. If you find your pilot light won't stay lit, the hole is clogged up, or the pilot's flame is too low, there are a few things you can try.

  1. If it's a clog you're trying to address, trying clearing out any debris with a thin piece of wire, again, only after you have shut off the gas to your furnace.
  2. If your furnace has a flame adjustment screw, try turning it until you achieve a steady 1.5-2 inch flame.
  3. If your furnace won't light or continually fails after being ignited, call a repairman.

Troubleshooting Your Furnace

If your thermostat or the ignition of your furnace aren't the problems, the last thing you should try troubleshooting is your furnace. Make sure that your furnace is switched on before proceeding.

  1. One of the most common problems with the furnace tend to be with the filter, so make sure your furnace filter is clear of any debris and consider replacing it if it's old or too dirty.
  2. Make sure that your furnace circuit breaker is on and that the fuse hasn't blown out. If the fuse has blown, have it replaced. If you find the circuit breaker is off, reset the circuit by flipping it all the way on, then off, and then on again.
  3. Look for a reset button near the blower motor, as it may have been overloaded and will need to be reset. If nothing happens after trying to reset the furnace, allow the motor to cool for at least 30 minutes, and try pressing the reset button one more time.

If all of these troubleshooting tests don't seem to get the heat back on in your home, the problem is most likely something more severe with your heating. In that case, you will need to call in an HVAC service professional so you can get the heat back on in your home.