furnace repair

Bloomfield is Getting Cold, but My Furnace Wont Turn On

Figuring out a furnace-related problem might feel like an intimidating task when your heat won’t turn on. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

There are several quick, low-cost fixes you can do by 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 calling an HVAC professional.

If you find you need help from an expert and live in Bloomfield, Stanford Heating & Cooling can help you. We service most types of heating systems.

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

While you’re in touch with us, think over a routine furnace maintenance plan from Stanford Heating & Cooling that might help you avoid problems in the future. We can tell you how frequently your furnace should be examined by one of our NATE-certified professionals.

Go through 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 start, make sure your thermostat is telling your furnace to turn on.

If you have a digital thermostat:

  • Replace 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” rather than “off” or “cool.”
  • Ensure the program is showing the correct 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 force the furnace to start if thermostat programming is causing a problem.
  • Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
Digital Thermostat

If your furnace hasn’t started within a couple minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t begin to run, your furnace could be without power.

If you have a smart thermostat—like one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Refer to 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.
  • Find 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,” don’t touch it and get in touch with a professional from Stanford Heating & Cooling at 812-825-8695 right away.

It doesn’t matter how old your furnace is or what brand it is, it has at least one standard wall switch located on or close to 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, look in 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 breakdowns, a filthy, clogged air filter is frequently to blame.

If your filter is too dirty:

  • Your furnace won’t be able to stay on, or it could overheat from restricted airflow.
  • Your energy bills could go up because your furnace is turning on too often.
  • Your furnace could stop working too soon because a dirty filter causes it to work overtime.
  • Your furnace can lose power if an excessively dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what model of furnace you own, your air filter will be 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 angle it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, get a new one.
  • Insert the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.

Flat filters should be replaced once a 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 often.

To make the process smoother 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

Also known as drain pans, condensate pans hold water your furnace removes 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 get at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan uses a pump, take a look at the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with standing water in the pan, contact Stanford Heating & Cooling at 812-825-8695, because you will possibly need a new pump.

Peek Inside Your Furnace

If malfunctions persist, look inside your furnace’s plastic window to check 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 except a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call Stanford Heating & Cooling at 812-825-8695. Your furnace may be communicating an error code that requires professional service.

Clean the Flame Sensor

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

If you feel comfortable with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you can do yourself. Or, one of our HVAC professionals at Stanford Heating & Cooling 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:

  • Disable 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 trace the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to carefully 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 could go through a sequence of checks before resuming normal operation. If your furnace doesn’t start, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else could be wrong. If this happens, get in touch with Stanford Heating & Cooling at 812-825-8695 for assistance.

Relight the Pilot Light

If you own an older furnace, the pilot light could be turned off. 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.”
  • Hold down 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, contact Stanford Heating & Cooling at 812-825-8695.

Check Your Fuel Source

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

Stanford Heating & Cooling Can Help with Furnace Problems

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

Call us today at 812-825-8695 or use our online scheduler. We’ll come out and pinpoint the problem.

*Required fields