Us Missourians are no strangers to cold weather. According to Wikipedia, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Missouri was -40°F, in the town of Warsaw on February 13, 1905. In contrast, the coldest temperature ever recorded in St. Louis was -22°F in January 1884. While these are just fun facts, the serious side is, that if your heating system breaks down in the winter, you will need help fast.
If you want the peace of mind that comes with a reputable St. Louis company, call us to schedule a free evaluation. At Partney Heating and Cooling, we pride ourselves on our reputation for over 20 years of quality furnace and heating repair services. Visit our testimonials page to see what our clients have to say about us.
Gas furnaces typically last 15 to 30 years, but some good maintenance practices will always prolong the life of any HVAC system. Maintenance of your heating system will also save you money on utility bills, especially in the winter months. If your furnace doesn’t seem to be working properly, below are some tips you can use to troubleshoot problems. If you have any questions, be sure to use the contact form to ask us. We will be glad to help you with any heating or furnace repair questions.
HVAC Troubleshooting Tips
- Check Your Thermostat
There are several things that might affect your thermostat’s ability to tell the right temperature in a room. For example, if there are any heat sources near it—such as lamps, ovens, or space heaters—then it will affect the thermostat’s reading. Your thermostat may also need to be dusted if it is electromechanical. You can do this with a small paintbrush or similar instrument. If your thermostat is battery-operated, replace the batteries and see if that helps.
You can test your thermostat by adjusting its temperature five degrees higher or lower than you usually have it on. By doing this, it will trigger your furnace to turn on. If your furnace does not turn on, that indicates a problem with it. This can help you narrow down the issue with your furnace and, in return, your thermostat.
- Check Your Front Panel — Is It Secure?
If your furnace has a front panel, also known as an access panel, make sure it is secure. Some furnaces that have front panels may not operate unless the front panel is secure. If you think that the reason why your furnace is not working is because your front panel is not secure, check your owner’s manual for instructions on securing it.
- Have an Older Gas Furnace? Check Your Pilot Light
Older gas furnaces may have a pilot light. If your furnace has a pilot light, try turning off the gas for fifteen minutes. Then, relight it. If you smell gas after fifteen minutes before relighting it, contact the gas company right away. If you don’t smell gas, you should be able to safely relight your pilot light. Refer to your owner’s manual for relighting instructions, or call us and we will happily help you.
- Check Your Electrical Panel and Furnace Switch
Near your furnace, there should be a shutoff switch. It can either look like a simple light switch or a furnace wall plate, which tends to be red and labeled as an emergency switch. If you notice the shutoff switch is not set to on, someone may have accidentally tripped it. Turn it back on and see if that helps.
If the shutoff switch was set to on or turning it back on did not solve your issue, check the electrical panel. Before checking the electrical panel, make sure that your hands and feet are completely dry before touching it. Failure to do so may result in bodily injury. When looking at the electrical panel, check to see if any of the breakers assigned to the HVAC are tripped.
- Check Your Vents or Register — They May Be Blocked
If your vents or registers are blocked, your furnace cannot run properly and efficiently. Even if your vents or registers are only partially covered, it will still affect your furnace’s ability to work. Make sure that nothing is covering your vents or registers, such as curtains, clothes, or rugs.
- Check and Change Your Filters
Clogged furnace filters are one of the leading causes of furnace issues. When they become blocked and air can no longer filter through them, the efficiency of the furnace goes down until it no longer works. When in doubt, check your filter to see if it needs to be changed. A good rule of thumb is that a furnace filter should be changed every six months, however, this can vary. For example, a 2-inch filter needs to be changed every three months instead of every six months. You should also change your filter more often if you notice an excessive buildup of dust or have pets.
When changing your filter, there should be arrows pointing in the direction the air will be flowing. Follow the directions in your user’s manual to make sure the filter is installed correctly.
Want to read more about troubleshooting your heating system? We publish blog posts on a variety of topics on doing so, such as “What Causes a Furnace to Stop Working?” and “How to Take Care of Your Furnace.” You can find more blog posts written by us here.
Energy.gov is also a fantastic source of tips on saving energy.
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