What Steps Should I Take When My Heater Stops Working

Woman waking up freezing

You wake up one morning to an unusually cold bedroom.

You come home from work and find that it isn’t much warmer inside than it is outside.

You walk into your living room and realize it feels much hotter than any other part of your home.

Whatever the scenario, it all leads to the same conclusion: your heater isn’t working.

No one wants to be left without heat this time of year, but there are some ways you can troubleshoot some problems on your own.

1. Dealing with inconsistent heat

Weather Strip InsulationThe situation we described above, where one part of your home seems unusually warm while others are too cold, can be the result of a few factors:

  • A furnace that isn’t sized correctly for your home
  • A lack of insulation
  • Clogs or leaks in your ductwork

While replacing your furnace is best left to an HVAC repair company and adding more insulation to your home is a longer-term project, you can check for – and remedy – clogged ductwork on your own.

You can seal gaps with metal duct tape – not standard cloth duct tape – while also clearing your ducts of built-up dust and debris.

2. A furnace that only blows cold air

Man cold at thermostat

Aside from just being inconvenient, a furnace that’s cooling – and not heating – your home in winter can cause serious problems, such as frozen pipes.

Before you call for HVAC repair, there are a few things you can check on your own:

  • Your thermostat setting – If the fan on the thermostat is switched to “on,” the blower in your furnace will run non-stop, even if the furnace isn’t warming the air. Switch the fan setting to “auto” so that your furnace will only emit warm air.
  • Your pilot light – If the pilot light is out, you might be able to reignite it and call it a day. But if it doesn’t stay lit, you may need to clean the pilot light to allow gas to come through. If it doesn’t remain lit, you may have a thermocouple problem, something best left to an HVAC repair professional.
  • Your filter – A dirty filter might be causing your furnace to overheat, which can in turn cause your system to emit hot air but then go cold.

While it’s easy to troubleshoot some of these things at home, we would caution you to call a professional if there’s a job you feel you’re not confident you can do.

3. My furnace won’t start

Furnace FlameIf you have a heater that won’t fire up at all, you might be dealing with ignition trouble.

Newer model furnaces have electronic ignition switches. If your furnace doesn’t turn on, this ignition may need to be reset. Turn your thermostat down all the way, shut off the power switch, then turn the power back on and restore the thermostat to room temperature.

You may also want to check the flame setting on your pilot light. It should be a steady blue, with a flame that’s about an inch or so high. If it’s too low, your furnace may not light.

We recognize that not every furnace issue can be solved alone. If you think whatever is ailing your heating system is beyond your ability, it’s time to contact All Seasons Comfort Control.

For nearly two decades, homeowners in the Bucks County area have relied on us for HVAC repair all year round. Contact us today and we’ll get to work on making sure your furnace is doing its job.