When your furnace won’t start, doing your own furnace repair in Newton, Iowa, can feel pretty overwhelming.
Fixing your furnace might feel like an intimidating process when your heat won’t turn on. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
There are a couple of speedy, low-cost fixes you can do by yourself to avoid a furnace repair call.
If your furnace won’t turn on, won’t stay on or won’t ignite, try the troubleshooting list below before calling an HVAC professional.
If you find you need help from a heating and cooling expert and live in Newton, Brookwood Inc can provide assistance to you. We can repair most makes of heating systems and also provide emergency furnace repair.
While you’re chatting with us, think about a routine furnace maintenance plan that may help you avoid problems in the future. We can tell you how regularly your furnace should be inspected by one of our certified professionals.
Use our easy guide below to get started on troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these steps don’t require mechanical skills.
Furnace Repair Checklist
1. Check the Thermostat
To begin, make sure your thermostat is telling your furnace to ignite.
Swap out the batteries if the screen is blank. If the digital screen is jumbled, the thermostat may need to be replaced.
Make sure the switch is set to “heat” instead of “off” or “cool.”
Ensure the program is set to the appropriate day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having a hard time overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will make the furnace to start if thermostat programming is causing a problem.
Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
If your furnace hasn’t turned on within a couple minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t begin to run, your furnace may not have power.
If you have a smart thermostat—like one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Check the manufacturer’s website for help. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to work, call us at 641-316-9803 for heating and cooling service.
2. Examine Breakers and Switches
Next, you will need to check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.
Find your house’s main electrical panel. If you don’t know where it is, search for a gray metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
Make sure your hands and feet are dry before touching the panel or breakers.
Find the breaker labeled “furnace” or “heat,” and make sure it’s switched “on.” If the breaker has tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
Using one hand, firmly switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker immediately trips and pops back to “off,” don’t try to reset it and get in touch with a professional from Brookwood Inc at 641-316-9803 right away.
No matter your furnace’s age or brand, it has at least one standard wall switch located on or close to it.
Make sure the switch is flipped up in the “on” position. If it was turned off, anticipate your furnace could take up to five minutes to ignite. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, look in your basement, garage or utility closet. It could also be in a crawl space or attic.)
3. Replace the Air Filter
When it comes to furnace breakdown, a filthy, clogged air filter is regularly the top culprit.
If your filter is too dirty:
Your furnace won’t keep heating your home, or it could overheat from reduced airflow.
Your energy bills could be higher because your furnace is turning on more often.
Your furnace could stop working sooner than it should because a dirty filter causes it to work harder.
Your furnace can lose power if an extremely dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.
Depending on what model of furnace you use, your air filter can be found inside the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.
To replace your filter:
Turn off your furnace.
Pull out the filter and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see light through it, use a new one.
Put in the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.
Flat filters should be replaced every month, while pleated filters should last about three months. You can also get a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to put in a new filter sooner.
To make the process smoother in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace housing or ductwork to list the airflow direction and filter size.
4. Inspect the Condensate Pan
Otherwise known as drain pans, condensate pans catch water your furnace removes from the air.
If water is seeping out of your furnace or its pan has standing water in it, follow these steps.
If your pan has a drain (look for a PVC pipe), check that it isn’t clogged. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware stores.
If your pan contains a pump, inspect the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with liquid in the pan, contact us at 641-316-9803, because you will probably need a new pump.
5. Check for Furnace Error Codes
If malfunctions persist, take a look inside your furnace’s plastic window to confirm the status of the blower motor. Depending on the model, the light could also be attached on the outside of your furnace.
If you see anything else besides a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call us at 641-316-9803 for HVAC service. Your furnace may be giving an error code that is calling for professional help.
6. Clean the Flame Sensor
If your furnace tries to start but turns off without distributing heat, a dirty flame sensor could be to blame. When this occurs, your furnace will try to turn on three times before a safety feature turns it off for about an hour.
If you feel comfortable with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you can do yourself. Or, one of our heating service experts can do it for you.
If you want to clean the sensor yourself, you’ll need:
A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
Piece of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
A dry, clean paper towel
Disable the furnace’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If your gas valve is not electric, you will need to shut off the gas as well.
Lift off the furnace’s front panel and follow the wire to the flame sensor.
Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to carefully rub the metal rod.
Wipe off the rod with a paper towel.
Remount the sensor.
Replace the furnace doors.
Turn the furnace’s power back on. It might proceed through a series of checks before resuming usual operation. If your furnace doesn’t start, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else may be wrong. If this happens, get in touch with us at 641-316-9803 for heating and cooling repair assistance.
7. Relight the Pilot Light
If you own an older furnace, the pilot light could be turned off. To relight it, find the instructions on a label on your furnace, or follow these steps.
Find the switch on the bottom of your furnace labeled “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
Turn the switch to the “off” position.
Wait at least five minutes to avoid possibly starting a fire.
Turn the knob to “pilot.”
Push the “reset” button as you bring the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
Release the “reset” button once the pilot light is lit.
If you have followed the instructions twice and the pilot light still won’t light or stay lit, get in touch with us at 641-316-9803 for furnace service.
Check Your Fuel Source
Try switching on another gas appliance. If it doesn’t work, your natural gas service could be turned off, or you could be out of propane.
We Can Help with HVAC Repair
Followed our troubleshooting guide but your furnace still won’t work?
Call us today at 641-316-9803 or contact us online. We’ll come out and figure out the problem.
At Brookwood Inc, your home comfort is our highest concern. That’s why we provide dependable HVAC units and quality work in Newton. Our professionals are skilled in a complete range of services, so you can be confident in your results. They’ll provide the help you are looking for, whether it’s putting in a new HVAC system or servicing and inspecting your existing system. We’re available to help with all of your needs, so get in touch with us at 641-316-9803 or contact us online to request an appointment now.