What To Do When Your Furnace Isn’t Working | Kelowna Home Inspections - C4U Inspections

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What To Do When Your Furnace Isn’t Working

DIY Home Maintenance


Old Man Winter has woken up, there’s snow on the ground and Jack Frost is nipping at your nose…in your bedroom? You walk through the house and can almost see your breath. You could crawl back into bed, but it’s probably best to find out why your furnace isn’t working.

CHECK YOUR THERMOSTAT

Let’s start our troubleshooting with the most obvious of reasons…check your thermostat. It’s not unheard of for someone to have unknowingly switched it from “heat” to “cool” or maybe just turned it off.

CHECK THE VENT

Snow and ice can block the furnace vent on the outside of your house. There have even been instances when squirrels have used these vents to store their food. So, go outside and make sure the vent is clear, unclogged, and free of nuts.

(While you’re out there, you should check the meter as well.)

CHECK THE FURNACE’S AIR FILTER

If you put a blanket over your face, chances are you’ll have trouble getting air. The same is true for your furnace if its air filter is clogged. If your furnace can’t breathe properly it has less air to blow out; if your furnace can’t breathe at all, it’ll shut down.

CHECK YOUR WATER HEATER

Yes, you read that right. If your furnace and your water heater both run on gas, and your water heater is working, then you can eliminate a gas problem.

CHECK THE PILOT LIGHT

Newer furnaces (usually installed after 1990), don’t have pilot lights to re-light. Without getting too technical, they have what’s called electronic ignition systems that only come on when the furnace needs to come on.

To check to make sure the ignition is working:

  • Check your thermostat to makes sure it’s turned up.
  • Turn the power switch off then on (usually located near the furnace on the wall or ceiling)
  • The furnace should re-light in a couple minutes.

If your furnace doesn’t turn on, you might need your ignition system replaced.

Older Models (usually installed before 1990), is a standing pilot furnace and these do have pilot lights. If you’re comfortable playing around with your furnace then here’s the basics on how to re-light it (always check for an instruction plate or sticker on your furnace first).

  • Turn the power switch off
  • Take off the furnace door and look for the pilot flame
  • If no flame, set the control valve to “Off” and wait for five minutes.
  • Now, set the valve to “Pilot”
  • Hold down the Pilot button and use a BBQ lighter or match to light the pilot.
  • Continue to hold down the pilot button for one minute once the pilot is lit.
  • Let go of the pilot button.
  • If the flame goes out, start all over again.
  • If the pilot stays lit, move back as far as you can and slowly move the control valve from “Pilot” to “On.”
  • Flip the power switch back on.
  • Wait for your furnace’s burners to light, then replace the furnace door – carefully.

If none of the above works, or if you’re not comfortable doing any or all the things we’ve mentioned, always play it safe and contact a qualified furnace technician. We will get your furnace working again to keep Jack Frost outside. Give us a call today!