furnace repair

Marshfield is Getting Cold, but My Furnace Wont Turn On

Fixing your furnace might feel like an overwhelming job when your heat won’t turn on. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

There are a couple of quick, inexpensive fixes you can do yourself to skip a furnace repair call.

If your furnace won’t turn on, won’t stay on or won’t ignite, try the troubleshooting list below before contacting an HVAC professional.

If you find you need help from a professional and live in Marshfield, House of Heating Incorporated can help you. We work on most types of heating systems.

If you need a new heating system, we also offer furnace replacement in Marshfield.

While you’re in touch with us, think about a regular furnace maintenance plan from House of Heating Incorporated that could help you avoid repairs in the future. We can tell you how frequently your furnace should be checked by one of our NATE-certified experts.

Use our easy guide below to start troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these steps don’t require mechanical know-how.

Steps for Furnace Troubleshooting

Check the Thermostat

To begin, make sure your thermostat is instructing your furnace to ignite.

If you have a digital thermostat:

  • Swap out the batteries if the screen is blank. If the digital screen is jumbled, the thermostat may need to be replaced.
  • Make sure the switch is set to “heat” as opposed to “off” or “cool.”
  • Ensure the program is set to the appropriate day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having trouble overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to start if thermostat programming is causing an issue.
  • Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
Digital Thermostat

If your furnace hasn’t kicked on within several minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t run, your furnace may not have power.

If you have a smart thermostat—like one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Take a look at the manufacturer’s website for help. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to work, contact us for assistance.

Lennox Smart Thermostat

Examine Breakers and Switches

Next, you will need to check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.

  • Find your house’s main electrical panel. If you don’t know where it is, look for a gray metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
  • Make sure your hands and feet are dry before touching the panel or breakers.
  • Locate the breaker labeled “furnace” or “heat,” and make sure it’s switched “on.” If the breaker has tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
  • Using one hand, firmly switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker immediately trips and pops back to “off,” leave it alone and get in touch with a professional from House of Heating Incorporated at 888-384-3163 right away.

Regardless of your furnace’s age or brand, it has at least one standard wall switch located on or by it.

  • Make sure the switch is flipped up in the “on” position. If it was turned off, it could take your furnace up to five minutes to ignite. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, check your basement, garage or utility closet. It could also be in a crawl space or attic.)

Replace Your Furnace’s Air Filter

When it comes to furnace issues, a grungy, clogged air filter is often the top offender.

If your filter is too dirty:

  • Your furnace won’t keep heating your home, or it could overheat from restricted airflow.
  • Your energy bills could increase because your furnace is turning on more than it should.
  • Your furnace could stop working sooner than it should because a dirty filter causes it to overwork.
  • Your furnace can lose power if an extremely dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what model of furnace you own, your air filter is located inside the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.

Replacing a furnace filter

To replace your filter:

  • Turn off your furnace.
  • Pull out the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, replace it.
  • Install the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.

Flat filters should be replaced every month, while pleated filters should last about three months. You can also get a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to put in a new filter more frequently.

To make the process easier in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace housing or ductwork to show the airflow direction and filter size.

Examine the Condensate Pan

Commonly known as drain pans, condensate pans catch water your furnace pulls from the air.

If water is seeping out of your furnace or its pan has standing water in it, follow these steps.

  • If your pan has a drain (look for a PVC pipe), check that it isn’t full. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can purchase at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan uses a pump, check the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with water in the pan, contact House of Heating Incorporated at 888-384-3163, because you will likely need a new pump.

Peek Inside Your Furnace

If malfunctions keep on happening, peek inside your furnace’s plastic window to verify the status of the blower motor. Depending on the model, the light could also be mounted on the outside of your furnace.

If you see anything other than a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call House of Heating Incorporated at 888-384-3163. Your furnace may be emitting an error code that needs professional service.

Clean the Flame Sensor

If your furnace tries to start but switches off without distributing heat, a dirty flame sensor could be at fault. When this happens, your furnace will make an attempt to ignite three times before a safety feature powers it down for about an hour.

If you feel comfortable with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you can do on your own. Or, one of our HVAC specialists at House of Heating Incorporated can do it for you.

If you want to clean the sensor yourself, you’ll need:

  • A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
  • Piece of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
  • A dry, clean paper towel

Next:

  • Turn off the furnace’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If your gas valve is not electric, you will need to shut off the gas as well.
  • Take off the furnace’s front panel and track the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to gently rub the metal rod.
  • Wipe off the rod with a paper towel.
  • Remount the sensor.
  • Replace the furnace doors.
  • Turn the furnace’s power back on. It might go through a sequence of checks before continuing usual operation. If your furnace doesn’t ignite, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else might be wrong. If this happens, get in touch with House of Heating Incorporated at 888-384-3163 for assistance.

Relight the Pilot Light

If you own an older furnace, the pilot light could be out. To relight it, find the instructions on a label on your furnace, or follow these steps.

  • Locate the switch on the bottom of your furnace labeled “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
  • Turn the switch to the “off” position.
  • Wait at least five minutes to avoid possibly starting a fire.
  • Turn the knob to “pilot.”
  • Push the “reset” button as you bring the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
  • Release the “reset” button once the pilot light is lit.

If you have followed the instructions twice and the pilot light still won’t light or stay lit, call House of Heating Incorporated at 888-384-3163.

Check Your Fuel Source

Try switching on another gas appliance. If it doesn’t work, your natural gas service could be turned off, or you could be out of propane.

House of Heating Incorporated Can Help with Furnace Problems

Followed our troubleshooting guide but your furnace still won’t work?

Call us today at 888-384-3163 or use our online scheduler. We’ll come out and figure out the problem.

*Required fields