Why Isn’t My Furnace Heating My House?

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Why Isn’t My Furnace Heating My House?

With the recent snow storms and record-setting low temperatures, heating problems are the last thing anyone wants to experience. You could wake up to a freezing home or come home from work to discover the furnace stopped working sometime during the day. You might also notice one room is freezing cold while another room is warm and cozy.

Snow on house

Before you panic, there are few different troubleshooting steps you can use to see if this resolves the problem. If not, then you will want to call for emergency heater repair right away.

Step 1: Check the Air Filter

A dirty air filter creates additional stress on your furnace. A clogged filter prevents air from circulating correctly through the system. This can cause uneven heating in the rooms in the home. Additionally, clogged filters can cause the furnace to overheat and shut down. If your air filter is dirty and has not been changed in quite some time, replace it.

Regular replacement of the air filter assures the best airflow for your furnace to work efficiently. You will also have the benefit of more comfortable temperatures in your home.

After replacing the air filter, reset the system by turning it off at the thermostat and back on. Adjust the temperature setting up a few degrees and see if the furnace kicks in and starts to cycle. If it does, make sure it runs a complete cycle before resetting the thermostat to your desired temperature setting. If it stops part way through the cycle or does not kick on, move on to the next step.

  • TIP: If you have a newer furnace model, remember to check the filter on the furnace, too. Many newer models have dual filters—one for the return air vent and one next to the main furnace.

Dusty vent

Step 2: Thermostat Issues

The thermostat is responsible for regulating heating cycles. If you have a modern thermostat, verify the batteries do not need to be replaced. When batteries get low or no longer have sufficient charge in them, it can prevent the furnace from turning on.

Another thing to check at the thermostat is to verify it is set to the heat cycle, not cooling. You would be surprised by how many people switch over to cooling for those unseasonably warmer winter days, then forget to set it back to heat once the cold returns.

Last, verify the fan is set to the “Auto” position, not the “On” position. If it is set in the “On” position, the blower motor and fan will continue to run constantly, even in between heating cycles, and push cooler air throughout the home.

Electrical Issues

Step 3: Electrical Issues

Even if the batteries are brand new in your thermostat, if there is no power then the furnace will not kick on. Whether you have gas, electric, or some other type of furnace in your home, they all require electricity to cycle.

Check the breaker box in your home to make sure it is not blown. If it is, go to the thermostat and set the system to the “Off” position first. Next, reset the breaker. If it blows immediately, the breaker is overloaded. At this point, it would be best to contact a qualified HVAC repair service and let them know the problem is the breaker.

On the other hand, if the breaker remains on, then go back to the thermostat and turn the system back on. Verify the furnace kicks on and runs a complete cycle. If the breaker blows at any point, then there is an electrical issue, and you will need to schedule a service call.

Step 4: Pilot Light Issues

If you have a gas furnace, and it is not kicking in or only blowing cold air, and you have checked the steps above, then your next course of action is to verify the pilot is lit. You would be surprised by how many service calls our heater repair technicians receive, only to arrive at the home and discover the pilot is not lit.

WARNING: Before relighting the pilot light, make sure you do not smell “rotten eggs.” If you do, open a window and circulate some fresh air into the room until the smell dissipates. This can take an hour or two, depending on how much gas was leaked into the room through the pilot light.

If you are not sure how to relight the pilot light on your furnace, do not hesitate to contact us directly for assistance.

Someone ajusting a heater

Step 5: Gas Supply Issues

If the gas supply line is only partially opened, your furnace may not be drawing in sufficient gas to run a complete cycle, let alone kick on. Verify the gas supply line is fully opened. If it is and the pilot light is lit, and you checked the other steps above, then move on to the next step.

Step 6: Fan/Blower Motor Issues

If the fan and blower motor are not working correctly, the heated air from your furnace will not circulate throughout your home. If you notice the furnace kicks on, but the blower motor does not, then this is most likely the cause of the problem.

A good and easy check to verify the blower motor is no longer working is to go to your thermostat and set the fan to the “On” position. If the blower motor starts up when in the “On” position but does not when set in the “Auto” position, there could be a problem with the electrical wiring that needs to be fixed.

Heating technician at work

Step 7: Air Duct Issues

This step is for cases where you notice your home is heating unevenly or does not seem to be heating as effectively as it did in previous winters. First, verify the vents are open and not closed. It is easy to forget that you closed air vents on the lower floor of your home in the summer and forgot to reopen them when you switched over to heat.

Next, put your hand in front of the vents and see how much air is blowing out. If the air is not as strong as you remember, this could indicate problems with the ducts. If fittings have come loose and created small gaps, air will escape out of these long before it reaches the rooms in your home.

If you can access your ducts from your crawl space, attic, or basement, check those to make sure they are tight and secure. Otherwise, you can have one of our HVAC repair technicians come out and check for air leaks in the ductwork.

When to Call the Experts for Furnace Repair

After walking through the above steps and troubleshooting your problems, if you are still experiencing uneven heating or your furnace will not cycle or turn on, then you know it is time to call in the experts.

Furnaces are complex systems which have a variety of moving parts and components and electrical wiring. Modern systems also have computer circuit boards and other advanced technologies that require proper servicing by a trained and knowledge repair technician familiar with your system.

Heating technician working on wires

In addition, in some cases, there could be multiple causes for your problems. For instance, your air filter is clogged and caused your furnace to overheat on several occasions without you noticing it. The continued overheating damaged some of the internal components of the system, which ultimately led to it no longer turning on.

To fix this problem, not only does a new air filter need to be installed, but all of the damaged components inside the system also need to be replaced. As you can see from our example, while the clogged air filter was the cause, it resulted in additional damages which could have easily been avoided with regular air filter replacements.

For emergency and regularly scheduled heater repair and maintenance services in Alexandria and Manassas and the surrounding areas, please feel free to contact A-Advantage at  (703) 461-6701 or (703) 368-7855 today!

Remember to inquire about our current specials, maintenance programs, and air filter delivery program to keep your furna

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