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DIY Heating Fixes
It always seems your heat will go out on the coldest day of the year! Why spend money when you may be able to fix it yourself? This post describes some trouble-shooting and fixes you may be able to do before calling a technician.
1. Thermostat-related issues:
- Is the display on your thermostat blank? It could be because it needs a battery, or that the circuit breaker to it has been tripped or you’ve blown a fuse. Reset the tripped circuit breaker, replace the fuse, or replace the battery.
- Make sure all the wires going to the thermostat are connected and not loose.
- Check that the thermostat is in heat mode. This switch can easily get accidentally bumped while dusting.
- For programmable thermostats, check that it is set to the correct day and time, including the AM or PM designation. One customer bought a programmable thermostat to save money, with the intent to have the heat backed down while the customer was away at work, and have the heat cranked up at night when the customer was home. When the customer started freezing at night, they mistakenly thought something was wrong with their heat, when the real culprit was they had the AM/PM designation backwards on their thermostat!
- If you had a recent power outage, it could be that all of the settings on your programmable thermostat have been wiped out. Often there is a battery backup in these units, so you may need to change the battery and then re-enter your settings.
2. Furnace-related issues:
- If the heat is out and you do not hear the fan coming on, and there is no air coming out of the supply registers, there may be no power to the furnace. This is often due to someone flipping the switch accidentally while cleaning out the attic or basement (areas where the furnace may reside). The switch often looks similar to a light switch and is easy to mistakenly turn off. Just flip the switch back, and you should hear the furnace start up within 3-5 minutes.
- Many thermostats get their power from the same electrical circuit that feeds the furnace system, so if your thermostat is blank, turning on the switch by the furnace may be the solution.
- Some furnaces have emergency cut-off switches that are activated when a door or service panel is removed. If the furnace door is not closed properly (such as after a filter cleaning), or has been accidentally bumped open, the cut-off switch will prevent the furnace from coming on. Verify all access doors are properly closed.
- If the fan runs, but the air coming out is cold, you have a problem with the furnace (or heat pump) itself, and may need a service call. This may not be something you can tackle yourself.
3. Electrical Issues:
- If the switch is on to the furnace and it still doesn’t come on, it could be that the circuit breaker or fuse to the furnace (or heat pump) is tripped or blown. Reset the breaker by turning it all the way OFF, then back ON. If the fuse for the furnace is blown, be sure to replace it with the same size and type of fuse.
- If a breaker keeps tripping or a fuse keeps blowing, contact a qualified electrician to inspect your system to determine why you are having problems.
4. Filter issues:
- A dirty air filter restricts air flow, and the system will work harder and build up pressure. Some newer, more efficient furnaces are sensitive to this pressure build up and turn off before the dirty filter can cause further damage. At the very least, a dirty, clogged filter will reduce the heat output of your system. The simple solution is to change the filter!
- Don’t try to just vacuum the existing filter and re-insert it. The material inside the filter will still be saturated. Just place the old filter in the trash and insert a new one each time… at least every 3 months.
If none of these DIY fixes addresses your problem, give us a call at 615-832-8500. We’re always here to help!