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Ways to Troubleshot (Not Repair!) a Faulty Gas furnace

burners-in-furnaceWe want to be clear about this from the start: Only a trained, licensed HVAC professional should repair a gas furnace. This is a matter of safety—although even if it were safe to tinker with a gas furnace on your own, you’d still only want a trained professional to touch the system to make sure the repair is done right. In many jurisdictions, it’s illegal for anyone without a special license to work on an appliance connected to a gas main. 

In this post we’re making a distinction between trying to repair a gas furnace and going through basic troubleshooting steps when a furnace isn’t working properly. There’s nothing wrong with making checks on a furnace before you call us for heating repair in Plattsburgh, NY. Often, the problem with a non-working furnace is something simple you can correct on your own. Just don’t take any steps where you need to get tools and open up the furnace! That’s the point where you’ve gone past troubleshooting and might get into actual trouble.

1. See that the furnace switch is turned on

If this is the first time you’ve used the furnace for the season, the reason it might not come on is because it’s still switched off. The furnace has its own switch located near it which is used to shut the system down for summer. Make sure this switch is set to “on.”

2. Check for tripped circuit breakers

Whether you have a gas or electric furnace, the system still uses electronic components to operate: the furnace control board, the ignition system, the blower fan. When the furnace won’t turn on or shuts down abruptly, check the electrical panel to see if the breaker for the furnace has tripped. This can happen due to an overloaded motor. If the furnace continues to trip the circuit breaker, call us for repairs because there’s something causing an electrical problem.

3. Replace a clogged furnace filter

The furnace filter needs to be changed for a new one every one to three months. If a clogged filter is left in place, it will create numerous problems for the furnace, such as a drop in heating power and a loss of energy efficiency. A clogged filter can also trap excess heat inside the furnace and lead to it tripping its limit switch, which will shut down the furnace. Check on the filter and put in a clean one if it is clogged. Mark down a reminder to continue to change the filter during the season. 

4. Check the thermostat 

Make sure the thermostat setting is at least 5° higher than the temperature of the house, otherwise the furnace may not register that it’s supposed to turn on. You may find the thermostat needs to have new batteries put in (if it’s not hardwired). If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure the current programs are correct and not set for earlier in the year; someone in the house may have accidentally activated an older program. Move any heat-generating objects away from the thermostat that might be creating false readings. 

When you’ve taken these steps and you still have a non-working furnace, reach out to us for solutions.

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves Northwest Vermont and Northeast New York. Call us for any heating repair you need this winter.

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