Furnace Repair Checklist
1. Check the Thermostat
First, make certain that your thermostat is signaling your heat to ignite.
- Change the batteries if the monitor is blank. If the digital monitor is scrambled, the thermostat might need to be changed.
- Make sure the control is set to “heat” instead of “off” or “cool.”
- Make certain the program is showing the right day and time and is programmed to “run.” If you’re having problems overriding the schedule, regulate the temperature with the up/down arrows and using the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to turn on if thermostat is causing trouble.
- Set the temperature setting to 5 degrees hotter than what the room temperature currently is.
If your heater hasn’t turned on within a few minutes, ensure it has electricity by switching the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t operate, your heater may not have power.
If you use a smart thermostat—like one manufactured by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Check the manufacturer’s website for help. If you aren’t able to get your Wi-Fi thermostat to work, call us at 1-866-781-0111 for heating and cooling service.
2. Examine Breakers and Switches
Next, verify your breaker and furnace switch are on.
- Find your main electrical panel. If you have no idea where it is, search for a metallic metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
- Ensure your hands and feet aren’t moist prior to touching the panel or breakers.
- Find the breaker labeled “furnace” or “heat,” and ensure it’s reading “on.” If you discover a tripped breaker, it will be in the middle or “off” area.
- Using one hand, firmly switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker trips right away and pops back to “off,” don't try to reset it and contact a team member from McFadden Heating & Cooling at 1-866-781-0111 right away.
Regardless of your furnace’s age or brand, it has at least one ordinary wall switch positioned on or near it.
- Ensure the lever is facing up in the “on” placement. If it was turned off, expect your furnace to take up to five minutes to turn on. (If you’re unaware of where your furnace is located, take a look at your basement, garage or utility closet. It may also be in a crawl space or attic.)
3. Replace the Air Filter
When we think about furnace breakdowns, a grungy, full air filter is frequently the top offender.
If your filter is too grungy:
- Your heat won’t keep heating your home, or it could get too warm from restricted airflow.
- Your utility bills could go up because your heating system is turning on more often.
- Your furnace might stop working too soon since a filthy filter causes it to overwork.
- Your heater can lose power if an overly filthy filter causes the breaker to trip.
Based on what model of heater you have, your air filter can be found within the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.
To put in a new filter:
- Cut the power to your heater.
- Take out the filter and hold it up to the light. If you can’t view light through it, get a new one.
- Put in the new filter with the arrow motioning toward the heating system to keep damage from happening.
Flat filters should be replaced once a month, while pleated filters should last about three months. If you have children or pets, you could have to put in a new filter more frequently.
To make changing your filter smoother down the road, draw with a permanent writing tool on your furnace exterior or ductwork to show the airflow direction and filter size.
4. Inspect the Condensate Pan
Otherwise known as drain pans, condensate pans hold water your heater removes from the air.
If moisture is dripping from your heater or its pan is overflowing, use these recommendations.
- If your pan includes a drain (look for a PVC pipe), double-check that it isn’t clogged. If it should be drained, drop in a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware shops.
- If your pan contains a pump, check the float switch. If the lever can’t be moved from the “up” position with water in the pan, contact us at 1-866-781-0111, because you will likely have to install a new pump.
5. Look for Heater Error Codes
If malfunctions continue, peek within your heating system’s plastic window to confirm the blower motor’s status. Subject to the model, the light could also be mounted on the outside of your heating system.
If you note anything else besides a solid, colored light or flickering green light, call us at 1-866-781-0111 for HVAC service. Your furnace might be communicating an error code that is calling for pro help.
6. Clean the Flame Sensor
If your heater makes an effort to operate but shuts off without distributing warmth, a grimy flame sensor can be at fault. When this takes place, your heater will attempt to start three times before a safety device powers it down for around an hour.
If you feel comfortable with taking the panels off your heating system, cleaning your flame sensor is a job you can do personally. Or, one of our heating service professionals can complete it for you.
If you are fine with cleaning the sensor yourself, you need:
- A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
- Piece of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
- An unused paper towel
As the next step:
- Shut off the furnace’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If your gas valve isn’t electric, you have to turn off the gas as well.
- Remove the heater’s front panel and track the wire to the flame sensor.
- Take off the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to carefully rub the metal rod.
- Clean the rod with a paper towel.
- Put the sensor back in.
- Put the furnace doors back on.
- Switch the furnace’s power back on. It might go through a set of checks before proceeding with usual operation. If your furnace doesn’t turn on, the sensor might need to be replaced or something else could be creating an issue. If this occurs, get in touch with us at 1-866-781-0111 for heating and cooling repair support.
7. Relight the Pilot Light
If you are using an outdated heater, the pilot light could be turned off. To relight it, find the directions on a label on your furnace, or follow these recommendations.
- Locate the switch beneath your heater marked “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
- Move the switch to the “off” position.
- Wait at least five minutes to avoid creating a fire.
- Push the knob to “pilot.”
- Hold down the “reset” button as you push the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
- Depress the “reset” button once the pilot light is burning.
If you have followed the list twice and the pilot light still won’t burn or remain ignited, get in touch with us at 1-866-781-0111 for furnace service.
Inspect Your Energy Delivery System
Try switching on a second gas appliance. If it doesn’t work, your natural gas service may be turned off, or you may have run out of propane.