When you’re heating system decides to quit, everyone suffers!
Our winters here in the Treasure Valley don’t leave us the luxury of letting our systems stay down. Water pipes can begin freezing and eventually burst in extreme cases.
If you have a general comfort level working around mechanical equipment than this may be right within your comfort zone. I highly recommend to hire a licensed professional to diagnose and locate any problems your heating system may have. We can often save you money by locating all of the system’s issues with speed and accuracy. But if you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty and would like to see if there’s an easy fix, read on! While this post won’t be an in-depth and exhaustive resource, it can help you eliminate any minor issues like batteries or maybe a faulty thermostat.
For the most part, routine and regular maintenance can keep your heating system up and running for the entire winter season. Our technicians can catch and spot potential problems and failures before they become bigger issues. Plus, it’s always better to ahead of the curve so you have all the needed resources to make a decision regarding the health and safety of your heating system.
But, in the rare case that your heating system does decided to take a vacation to the Bahamas, what should you do? First, what type of issue is happening with your heating system? The point is to try and first isolate the most immediate problem before digging deeper.
Pro Tip: Always find the reason why a part or system failed to avoid future failures and breakdowns.
- Total Loss Of Heat?
When you put your hand over the supply registers in your home (usually located in the floor for most homes here in Boise, Meridian, and throughout Idaho), does cold air come out? Or no air at all? If cold air is coming out this can mean a couple of things. Begin checking fuel supply and electrical systems. The electrical system starts at the main electrical panel to supply power to your furnace. This is then converted to lower voltages and distributed throughout the heating system to do things like monitor pressure, temperatures, and verify proper gas distribution and flame safety.
- Partial Loss Of Heat?
If your heating system is keeping the house moderately warm and seems to be running all day, these type of problems are generally related to airflow issues. Airflow problems can develop in the duct work (supply and return in attic and crawlspace) and in airflow restrictions from the air filters or fan motors.Your heating system may be overheating due to one or more restrictions in the air flow and thus causing intermittent operation.
A Few Quick Things To Check:
- Thermostat Operation
A thermostat problem will usually cause erratic and intermittent temperature problems. Installing fresh batteries can sometimes do the trick. Make sure to turn power off to your heating system at the main electrical panel before doing this though. Sometimes a system can short cycle on and off and cause more damage than good… If you pull your thermostat off and notice there are no batteries, you may have low voltage power coming from the furnace to the thermostat. Put everything back together and start looking at the electrical systems. Some older thermostats can be manually calibrated, if this is the case, make sure to call on our professional technicians to provide this service. Also, consider replacing your thermostat with a newer digital and programmable thermostat. Many newer thermostat models can link to your smartphone and even home security systems to provide complete automation while you are away.
Pro Tip: Install new batteries in your smoke, CO detectors, and thermostat at the same time!
- Electrical Systems
Sometimes your system may need a reboot in order to start all over. Error codes can provide intermittent issues. Maybe you just changed the air filters. In any case, locate the breaker at the main electrical panel and turn off for at least 15 seconds before restoring power.
If your electrical panel is an older style fuse/cartridge design, you may need to replace fuses before moving forward with additional basic troubleshooting.
WARNING: If your breaker trips immediately after flipping it back on, there is a direct short and you should call for immediate service.
Some heating systems will circulate the air for a few minutes before cycling on to heat your home. Make sure the thermostat is asking to turn the heat on by turning the heat up a few degrees. Once the furnace goes through it’s proper sequences, visually check operation and watch what happens. Note any abnormalities or weird noises and smells. This can be helpful in the event if you need to call one of our technicians for service. AND, if you have a smartphone, this can be a good time to record a quick video of what’s happening. This can be extremely helpful when running into multiple or intermittent issues.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that when you shut the power off to your heating system, this does not turn the gas off.
If you have determined that your heating system is in fact getting power, then it may be time to call on our award winning service technicians. We can help answer any minor questions you might have and schedule a visit for a time that works best for you.
- Ignition Check
If your unit seems to be operating, but not producing any heat, the furnace may not actually be firing. If this is the case check the following:
– Do you have fuel? This may sound a little silly, but you’d be amazed at how many service calls are caused because the furnace ran out of fuel. If your unit is oil, or propane fired check the level of fuel in the tanks. If you ran out of fuel, ordered some more, and now your furnace will not start, your unit may have to be reset. Some systems have a red reset button on the burner. Other systems can be reset by turning system power off then back on. If it is oil-fired, the pump may need to be primed. Check with a service technician.
– If your furnace is a gas, standing pilot (one that is on all the time) look inside your furnace to see if you can see it. If not follow the instructions on the furnace to light the pilot. If after following instructions and the pilot will not light or stay lit, call a service technician.
– In most furnaces and boilers, you can tell when the fuel is being ignited. Turn the furnace off at the thermostat and go to the furnace. Have a friend of family member turn the furnace on at the thermostat, can you hear the furnace ignite the fuel? Watch your hair, we don’t want anyone catching a’blaze!
If these diagnostic checkpoints still leave you stranded, give us a call and we can provide service at a time that best suits your schedule. Our award-winning technicians provide a thorough and rigorous diagnostic procedure that will make sure you get up and running in no time!
Well, now that you’ve exhausted most of the basic and common troubleshooting points, how did it turn out? Drop us a line! Maybe you found something extra that we should add to this article to help future homeowners!
Learn more about our Furnace installation and repair services.