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If Your Furnace Isn’t Working, Here Are Some Steps to Take First…

ThermostatBefore we go further in this post, we want to be clear: we are not recommending you attempt to repair your furnace on your own. There is a big difference between the troubleshooting steps outlined below and actually taking out tools and tinkering around inside your furnace. Anything more complicated than the steps we recommend is something to leave to a certified HVAC professional. Not only will the professional know how to accurately diagnose and repair the furnace, they’ll be able to do it safely. Amateur work of any kind on a furnace can lead to dangerous situations.

Now that we’ve got that cleared up—what can you do when your furnace isn’t working before you call us for heating repair in Alachua, FL?

Make sure the furnace switch is on

Because furnaces don’t run during most of the year in Florida, they’ll usually be shut down from spring through the fall. If this is the first time you’ve tried to use the furnace for the season, you may have forgotten to turn it back on at the furnace switch. This switch is located near the furnace cabinet, so check to see that it’s turned to “on.”

Double-check the thermostat settings

Again, life in Florida means we take warm weather for granted and don’t think as much about how to set the thermostat for colder weather. When the furnace won’t turn on, see if the thermostat setting is wrong: it might be set too warm, or it’s been placed in “fan only” mode. Remove any heat-generating devices from near the thermostat, which might make it mistakenly read the house as hotter than it is, and not turn on the furnace.

Check the pilot light (if there is one)

Newer furnaces use an electronic ignition system (more on this in a moment), but if you have a furnace with a pilot light, it may have gone out. If you find the pilot light is extinguished, light it again. If the pilot light won’t stay lit, you’ll need to have technicians come to clean or repair the pilot assembly.

See if a circuit breaker has tripped

Yes, a gas furnace needs electric power to run, such as power to the blower fan. Most modern furnaces use electronic ignition systems to start rather than pilot lights, so if the furnace loses electricity due to a tripped circuit breaker, it won’t turn on. If you reset the breaker, but it trips again, it probably means there’s trouble with the blower motor or the control board, and you’ll need professionals to investigate and repair the problem.

Change a dirty air filter

Finally, pull out the air filter for the furnace to see if it is clogged up. If you hold the filter up to the light and the filter blocks the light, it’s too dirty. When a filter is this clogged, it can cause the furnace to shut down from overheating or lead to the blower fan tripping the circuit breaker. Put in a clean filter, and remember to change the filter every one to three months in the future. 

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