A furnace is crucial for comfort and survival in cold winter weather. Without it, we would be huddling around wood fires to stay warm. Unfortunately, furnaces need regular professional tune-ups and homeowner upkeep to run strongly and efficiently.

Even with proper maintenance, however, furnaces can break down and develop problems that impede regular functioning. If your furnace is acting up or refusing to turn on, go over these furnace troubleshooting tips first, before you call in the pros.

The first step to take if you suspect that your heating system will not turn on should be to check your thermostat. First, make sure your thermostat is set to heat mode. Customers often call us after trying to turn the system temperature up with no result but forget that their thermostat is still set to cool mode. Make sure your thermostat has functioning batteries. Finally, try turning the fan to the on position.

Next, check the power supply to the furnace. Make sure to look in the breaker box for tripped breakers, as well. In fact, go ahead and flip the FURNACE or HEAT breaker off and on again if it is labeled. Make sure to also check the power source inside. It will usually be a plug or a light switch.

The next step should be to perform a check of the air filter. Over time, furnace filters get dirty. Dirt and dust can quickly clog the filter, which impedes airflow, worsens indoor air quality, and can even prevent the furnace from turning on in some cases. It can also become a fire hazard and cause premature breakdowns due to excessive dust and dirt. Many customers don’t know it, but the sharply reduced air flow from a dirty air filter can cause several safety switches to trip in order to protect your furnace and your home.

Lastly, check the air flow. Simply put your hand up to the supply and intake vents around the house to check to see whether they are moving air through to your rooms.

As always, when in doubt, call the professionals! If you encounter anything that doesn’t seem safe or seems way off during your inspection, don’t hesitate to bring us out to take a look. Gentry is here to help.