When winter comes around, and the temperatures are dropping outside, everyone depends on their furnace to keep them cozy, safe, and warm. Unless you heat with wood, you need your furnace to work as it should. What if it doesn't kick in when it should? Here's a look at the troubleshooting steps you can take to hopefully get it quickly working again.
1. Check The Power Supply
It doesn't matter if you heat with gas, propane, or oil rather than electric, it still requires electricity to work. The furnace blower needs electricity. Make sure the furnace switch hasn't been accidentally turned off. A furnace is usually hardwired, and it will have a simple light switch to turn it off and on. It can be accidentally turned off, or it can just gradually vibrate into the "off" position. If that looks good, go to your breaker box and make sure the circuit wasn't tripped.
2. Check The Thermostat
Make sure the thermostat is actually set to "on" and "heat." Someone else may have switched it off or to "cool" rather than heat. Look at the temperature as well. The furnace won't kick in until it drops below the temperature you have it set to. If it was moved lower than you normally keep it, it won't start when you expect it.
3. Check The Blower
The furnace itself may be working and putting out heat, but if the blower isn't working, it's not going to blow the heat through the ductwork and to the different rooms in your house. While some blower models have a viewing window built-in that shows whether it is working properly or not, with other models, you will just have to listen as well as place your hands over the vents to see if you feel any air movement and heat.
4. Take A Look At The Pilot Light
If your furnace isn't electric, you have a pilot light. The pilot light should be blue with a yellow tip. If you don't see it, it will need to be relit. If you have never done this before, check your user manual. If you don't have one, it's best to call a heating and air contractor. It's an easy job, but it can be tricky, and as the pilot light rarely goes out without an underlying problem, it's best to have an HVAC professional check it out for you. While they're there, they can check out the rest of the system.