Before Calling Your HVAC Contractor, Try These Heating System Troubleshooting Tips
The holiday season is full of great surprises, but one you definitely don’t want on your list is a heating system malfunction! Heating system problems quickly erase the good cheer you were feeling and create a sense of worry – not to mention the discomfort they lead to. Luckily, if you know the heating system troubleshooting basics, it is possible to quickly restore furnace or heat pump performance and reboot your comfort and joy!
Sometimes, it’s just a minor system issue that stands between you and a comfortable home. Heating system troubleshooting allows Louisville area homeowners to resolve minor errors in a matter of minutes. If heating system troubleshooting restores furnace or heat pump function and performance, you avoid an extra holiday expense and are able to skip the service call.
Before you call Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for furnace or heat pump repair, try our heating system troubleshooting tips. Once troubleshooting is complete, if your heating system problems persist, contact us to schedule heating repair. Our NATE-certified technicians are available around the clock to correct heating system malfunctions and return your home to a safe and cozy temperature, even over the holidays!
Issues That Call for Heating System Troubleshooting
This holiday season, if your furnace or heat pump gives you problems, try some simple heating system troubleshooting prior to a service call. Simple system issues are often resolved with a little homeowner know-how – our NATE-certified HVAC technicians outline the steps you need to take based on the heating problems found in your home.
Rooms Don’t Get Warm Enough
Does your heating equipment run, yet your living areas never seem to achieve the level of warmth you desire? Sometimes, this issue stems from restricted air movement throughout your heating equipment and home. Some easy heating system troubleshooting steps help you address airflow issues and correct blockages that keep your home from reaching the proper temperature.
System Needs a New Air Filter
When the air filter in your furnace or air handler becomes clogged with contaminants, it restricts air movement through the equipment and into your home. This issue makes it so your living areas do not receive adequate heating, which causes discomfort among occupants.
Air filters often require more frequent changes during the winter months, as the heating system runs more often during periods of cold weather. Check the filter every month to determine if it needs a new air filter, and change it as needed following these instructions:
- Find the filter compartment and remove the access door, if applicable.
- Slide out the existing air filter and examine. Is the filter media completely covered with debris? If so, you need a new one. Hold the filter between yourself and a light source – if no light is seen through the filter, a new one is needed.
- Dispose of the existing filter and replace it with a new one. It is important that you use a new filter of the same size.
- Place the new filter inside the filter compartment in the direction indicated by the printed arrows on the filter frame. Inserting the filter in the wrong direction can cause further airflow blockages.
- Reinstall the access door, if applicable.
Vents Need to Be Uncovered & Opened
The vents and return air grilles throughout the house need to be opened and unobstructed for heat to flow through the system and your living areas. Closed and/or covered vents stop your rooms from receiving enough heat.
- Inspect all floor, ceiling, and wall vents and return air grilles in every room or your home.
- Ensure louvered vents are opened – never shut or cover vents as an attempt to save energy and cut heat to unused spaces.
- If vents and/or grilles are obstructed, remove the items to allow free airflow from or through the opening. Remove carpets, rugs, furniture, and other items that sit over or in front of the grille or vent.
No Air Comes from Vents
When the furnace or heat pump runs properly, heat should freely flow from vents as the system cycles. If the heating system runs yet no heat comes from vents, a blower issue may exist within your heating equipment. The following heating system troubleshooting tips address blower issues that may be an easy fix.
- Turn off power to your heating equipment.
- Open the access door to the chamber where the blower motor sits.
- Inspect the blower equipment – if there is any debris on or lodged within the motor, remove them.
- Take a look at the fan belt – is it broken, loose, or off? For slipped fan belts, replace them around the wheels of the blower. If the belt is damaged or too loose, obtain a replacement from your local hardware or appliance store and install. This isn’t a heating system troubleshooting task that all homeowners feel comfortable with – if you’d rather leave this job to a professional, give us a call and we will take care of it for you.
Cold Air Blows from Vents
As the heating system runs, the air from your vents should be warm, not cold. Cold air is caused by a number of different system issues, some of which are simple to resolve with heating system troubleshooting. Run through these steps to address potential malfunction sources that cause cold air from your vents.
- Verify fan settings. The blower is the heating system component that forces warm air produced by the heating system through ducts and into your living areas. It runs while the heating equipment cycles, but is also able to run continuously to aid in home ventilation. If the blower is running continuously, it sounds like the heating system is on and feels like it produces cold air. Check the fan settings on your thermostat – select AUTO so the blower only runs during a heat cycle, which eliminates cold air from the vents.
- Relight pilot light. Older furnaces commonly use a pilot light ignition system, which starts the heating process. When the pilot light goes out, the furnace runs but does not produce heat. Check the pilot light and if it is out, you need to relight it. Turn off the gas valve that leads to the furnace and wait at least 15 minutes to allow free gas to dissipate. Follow the instructions detailed in your furnace’s owner’s manual to relight the pilot – don’t do this until you are no longer able to smell gas. If the pilot does not relight or it does but continues to go out, call to schedule furnace repair.
- Check fuel source. Furnace that use natural gas, liquid propane, or heating oil must have an adequate supply of fuel to create heat. If there is no fuel, the system operates yet does not create heat. Make sure the valve is open on the supply line that leads to the furnace. Check to ensure your gas utility service is on without issue. Look at the gauge on your oil or propane tank to ensure enough fuel is available – schedule a fuel delivery if necessary.
- Thaw the heat pump. When ice develops on the exterior heat pump, the unit is unable to move heat between the outdoors and your home. Heavy ice is too much for the system’s defrost cycle to handle. Turn off power and carefully chip off ice. Remove snow piles and debris surrounding the unit. Fix gutter leaks to prevent water drips that lead to ice accumulation on the heat pump.
Heating System Does Not Turn Off
If you are stuck in a continuous heating cycle, it’s probably quite uncomfortable inside your home. Communication between your thermostat and heating system may somehow be disrupted, which causes the issue. These heating system troubleshooting systems address thermostat communication malfunctions.
- For battery-powered thermostats, remove old batteries and install new, fully charged batteries.
- For hardwired thermostats, check the thermostat’s circuit at the electrical panel. Reset a tripped breaker or replace a blown fuse if found.
A thermostat that does not turn on even though it has power may require replacement. Contact Jarboe’s to learn more about thermostat upgrades to both restore communication with your heating system and enhance both energy savings and comfort inside your home.
Heating System Does Not Turn On
If your furnace or heat pump doesn’t turn on when you expect, these heating system troubleshooting steps help you address possible errors that cause this common issue.
- Doublecheck thermostat settings. The thermostat needs to be set on HEAT, not COOL. Make sure the proper date and time is programmed. Ensure HOLD or VACATION modes are not activated. Simple setting errors stop the heating system from running when you expect it to.
- Verify system power. Check the electrical panel circuits that run your indoor heating equipment and outdoor heat pump unit, if applicable. Reset tripped breakers or replace blown fuses. Check the ON/OFF switches on or nearby your equipment and make sure they are turned to ON.
- Check access doors. Safety controls on some HVAC equipment prevent system operation if access doors are off or loose. Inspect the furnace or air handler and make sure all access doors are in place and snugly closed.
- Replace air filter. If airflow is restricted due to a dirty filter, the heating system has the potential to overheat and shut down. It will not turn back on until it has cooled, and will likely shut down again. Replace the filter when you follow the heating system troubleshooting steps outlined above.
Call Jarboe’s for Heating Repairs this Holiday Season
When heating system troubleshooting fails to restore function and performance to your furnace or heat pump, call Jarboe’s! Our NATE-certified technicians are available 24/7 for heating repairs and emergency heating repair services.