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Bartels Heating & Cooling Blog

Is Your Furnace Not Working? Here’s Some Steps to Try

natural-gas-furnace-burnerTime to get ready for winter! We’re already experiencing days dipping down into the ‘40s, and that means your home’s furnace may have already turned on. We recommend you schedule regular maintenance for it if you haven’t already—and we’re the local Mason, OH, HVAC contractor for the job. This maintenance is the best way to prevent your furnace from suddenly stopping during the winter.

Maintenance can’t be 100% effective at preventing problems, however, and you may come across a point this coming season when your furnace stops providing you with heat. You might need to call us to repair the furnace, but below we’ll go over some basic troubleshooting steps to see if there’s a simple reason for the problem.

A note of caution: None of these steps are “repairs.” Please do not open up your furnace and attempt to tinker with it to find a DIY solution. This is potentially hazardous. Once you’ve exhausted the options below, leave the work to our trained technicians.

Turn on the furnace switch

If this is the first time you’ve used the furnace all year, you might still have the furnace’s master switch set to “off.” 

Check the thermostat

This may seem obvious, but the obvious steps are often the ones overlooked first. Modern thermostats have multiple settings, and a mistake like putting the thermostat on “fan only” can leave you without heat. Someone else in the house may have made an adjustment that’s stopped the furnace from coming on. If the thermostat runs on batteries, check to see if it needs fresh ones. 

Make sure the furnace panel is closed

As a safety feature, most modern furnaces will not turn on if their access panel is open. The panel may look closed, but even if it’s unlatched, it will prevent the furnace from coming on. Check that the panel is fully closed and latched. 

Change a clogged air filter

If you have a standard HVAC system that has both the furnace and air conditioner in a single cabinet, they both will use the same air filter. This filter will become congested with dust and debris over time and needs to be replaced with a clean one every 1 to 3 months. If you still have the same filter in place since the end of summer, it might be what’s preventing the furnace from working. It can restrict airflow into the furnace that reduces how much air the furnace can heat up. It can also cause the furnace to overheat and shut down. Clogged filters also create energy waste and other problems, so even if putting in a new filter doesn’t get the furnace running again, you needed to change it anyway.

Check on the electrical panel

Another common problem that will stop a furnace “cold” is a tripped circuit breaker. (And yes, a gas furnace does require electricity to run! It powers the blower motor and the ignition system.) Open the electrical panel and check on the circuit breaker for the furnace. Reset it if it’s tripped and then try the furnace again. 

Call Bartels Heating & Cooling “For a Comfortable Way of Life”! We offer 24-hour emergency service.

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