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What to Do When Your Furnace Fails

inside-a-natural-gas-furnaceIt’s the “Worst Thing That Can Happen During the Winter”—a home furnace that suddenly stops heating. If it’s a cold day, this can be a serious emergency.

What do you do when you’ve got a cold furnace? The right answer is: “Call an HVAC professional to repair it.” But that’s only part of the right answer. There are some checks you can make first to see if the furnace stopped working for a simple reason. Once you’ve eliminated these basic mistakes and errors, you can reach out to a professional to come in and find out what caused the furnace to fail and then fix it.

See if the house still has power

When your furnace stops working abruptly during the day, it may be due to a house-wide or neighborhood-wide power failure. Sometimes you can miss the general loss of electricity if it’s still bright out. Check lights and appliances to see if this is the case.

(We should mention this now, otherwise it’ll come up over and over again: gas furnaces also must have electricity to run. Their blower fans run on electricity, and most modern furnaces use electronic ignition systems rather than standing pilot lights).

Check the thermostat settings

This may seem obvious—but that’s why people often overlook it. A simple incorrect setting on a thermostat can cause the furnace to shut off early or refuse to come on when it should. If you have a programmable thermostat, check to see if anyone has changed the program without notifying you. If you discover a blank thermostat screen, the furnace has probably tripped its limit switch and you should call for repairs.

See if any circuit breakers have tripped

Open the electrical panel for the house and see if any breakers have tripped. We recommend having all the circuits labeled with the parts of the house they control so you can immediately tell which appliances are affected. If the breaker for the furnace has tripped, reset it and try the furnace again. If the furnace comes on, but the breaker trips a second time, there may be an electrical problem with the heating system that a professional must examine.

Check the gas line

The furnace has its own gas line with a valve on it so you can shut off gas flow in an emergency. See if the valve is closed or has become stuck.

Check the pilot light (if there is one)

Older furnaces that don’t use an electronic ignition system will have a pilot light. Examine the furnace cabinet to see if the pilot light has gone out. If you can’t relight it and keep it lit, and there isn’t anything wrong with the gas line, you should contact a repair technician.

When it’s time to call for furnace repair in Davison, MI or the surrounding areas, you can trust us to make your home happy! (And that means you and your family will be happy as well!)

Look to First Choice Heating & Cooling for furnace repair help. If your home had a voice … it would call First Choice!

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