6 Furnace Troubleshooting Tips
You need a furnace to survive the Bay Area cold winter weather. This makes it important to regularly tune-up and upkeep the furnace to ensure it runs efficiently and strongly. Unfortunately, furnaces tend to break down even when properly maintained. These troubleshooting tips can help get your furnace back in working order before you call the professionals.
1. Clean Air Filter
You may want to check the furnace filter and clean it if it is dirty. Filters are known to quickly get clogged which impedes airflow and diminishes indoor air quality. In some cases, dirty air filters may even prevent the furnace from turning on. You should always keep the furnace filter clean or it may turn into a fire hazard and cause frequent breakdowns. Always turn the thermostat off before conducting any work on the furnace.
2. Check Thermostat Settings
If the furnace filter is clean and properly installed, you may want to check the thermostat. Make sure the settings are on “heat”. If that doesn’t work, keep the temperature 5 degrees higher or more than the room temperature. Sometimes, the problem is with the thermostat batteries. You may want to replace them. If you have an electromechanical thermostat, cleaning it on the inside works. You may also want to ensure the thermostat is not installed in direct sunlight or near a heat source. That could be giving it false readings.
3. Check Electrical Panel and Furnace Switch
The thermostat and filter may be fine in some cases. The problem could be with the power instead. Someone could have switched off the furnace accidentally. Try flipping the switch back on. Check the electrical panel is that doesn’t work. You want to ensure the power is on at the fuse box or breaker box. Check whether the HVAC breaker is on. This will be the switch that is opposite to all the others.
You need to ensure you are completely dry before you try resetting the power. Don’t touch anything if you find signs of moisture or electrical damage. Get in touch with a skilled electrician.
4. Check Furnace Flame
The furnace flame should be of a healthy blue color. In some cases, it may have a yellowish tip. A blue flame means the fuel is burning safely and efficiently. Purple, yellow, red, green, and other colored flame means there is something wrong. You should not attempt to fix the problem on your own. Instead, you should get in touch with a professional right away.
5. Gas Valve and Pilot Light
You may need to relight the furnace flame if it is out. Be careful while relighting the pilot. Don’t forget to consult the manual for instructions. You should turn off the gas for at least 10 minutes before trying to relight the pilot. Abort attempt if you smell gas. There could be a leak. In this case, you should evacuate the house immediately and call the fire department and gas company.
6. Unblock all Registers and Vents
The furnace could be running. But, the vents and registers may be blocked preventing air or heat to flow around the room. You should inspect the supply and return grills around the house to ensure everything is unobstructed and open. Make sure there are no furniture or rugs restricting the air flow.