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Serving Washington D.C., Montgomery & Frederick Counties

301-670-0034

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How to Troubleshoot (Not Repair!) a Failed Furnace

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We want to stress at the start—which is why we put it in the title—that troubleshooting a furnace is not the same thing as attempting to do a DIY repair on a furnace. You won’t be taking out a toolbox, watching a “how-to” video on YouTube, and tinkering with the inside of the furnace hoping you can correct the problem. Not only is this usually ineffective, it can also be dangerous if you have a gas furnace and may be illegal in your jurisdiction.

If you go through all the troubleshooting steps we’ve listed below, which are all safe checks you can make to see if the problem with the furnace is simple, and still have the same problem, call us for professional heating repair in Germantown, MD.

Okay, important notice out of the way … let’s see what you can do about your non-heating furnace.

Check the electrical panel

“But I have a gas furnace,” you remark. Well, gas furnaces have crucial electrical components as well, and one of them is the device that ignites the burners: the electronic ignition system. If electricity to the furnace is cut off from a tripped circuit breaker, the burners won’t ignite. The blower fan probably won’t run either (in fact, the blower fan motor is the likely culprit behind the tripped breaker). Reset the breaker and see if the furnace works. 

Check the furnace switch

The furnace has its own override switch located near it that can be used to shut it off. If this is the first time you’ve turned on the furnace for the season, you may simply have forgotten to reset the switch. 

Check the thermostat

This may seem a touch obvious to you, but you’d be surprised how often this basic mistake occurs. Someone else may have put in the wrong settings so the furnace won’t turn on when it’s supposed to. Check the manual for the thermostat if it’s digital—if it’s a new unit for the house, you may not have programmed it properly. If the thermostat is battery-powered, try putting in new batteries.

Make sure the front panel is secure

A furnace is not supposed to run if the front panel is open because it creates a carbon monoxide hazard. Many modern furnaces have a safety feature that will not allow the unit to run if the panel is open. Check on the panel to see it’s loose and causing this safety feature to activate.

Put in a clean air filter

Check the air filter on the furnace cabinet. If it is clogged with debris so that you can’t see through it, then change it for a clean one. A clogged filter can cause the furnace to overheat and activate its limit switch so that it shuts off. 

Relight the pilot light

This is for older furnaces: look to see if the pilot light has been extinguished and relight it. If it won’t stay lit, there may be a gas flow issue and it will require our assistance to fix.

At Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we pledge to exceed expectations at every turn. Schedule furnace repairs with us!

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