What to do if your heater breaks
During the winter, you may rely on a central heating system to keep you and your family warm and safe from low temperatures and inclement weather. Because so much goes into making these heaters work effectively, it is not uncommon for them to break unexpectedly. Here is some advice on how to troubleshoot your heating system if you wake up to a frigid house.
Check the thermostat
Concerned about the chill in the air? Before calling a repairman or attempting a do-it-yourself fix, make sure to check that your home’s thermostat is set to “heat.” BobVila.com explains that while this might seem like an obvious step, many people do not have their thermostats set correctly. Since many systems require you to manually adjust the setting to heat, it can easily get shifted during cleaning, or even just by someone accidentally brushing against it.
If this is the issue, simply restore the thermostat to its “heat” setting and give the system a few minutes to kick in. If this still does not work, try one of the other troubleshooting methods.
Examine the filter
According to Family Handyman, furnace filters that are clogged can actually cause heating systems to shut off. This is actually the most common source of heating issues, notes the source. Refer to your owner’s manual to find out where your furnace’s filters are and how you can remove and clean them. Before you do this, remember to turn the heat all the way down and turn off the shutoff switch.
Change the batteries
Though you might not realize it, your home’s thermostat could be battery powered. BobVila.com notes that usually home thermostats that run on battery power have a signal that flashes when they need to be changed – check to see if this is true for your furnace.
Look at circuit breakers and switches
Still have not found the problem? BobVila.com recommends checking your home’s circuit breakers next. Find the switch that controls your furnace and see if it has been thrown to “off,” or if it is stuck in the middle. If your switches are not labeled, simply check to see if any of them are in a different position. Turn this switch all the way off before turning it back on again.
The source explains that in addition to the circuit breaker, furnaces have their own switch, which often looks like a regular room light. Because of this, it can easily get flipped off accidentally. Make sure this button is in the “on” position to ensure proper furnace function.
Check the gas
Family Handyman notes that heating issues are often caused by a gas valve that has been accidentally turned off. To see if this is the root of your problems, simply follow the gas line to the meter from the furnace and make sure all handles are parallel to the gas pipe. For older appliances, you may need to check if the pilot light is lit. BobVila.com suggests checking if your home’s other gas appliances are working as well. If they are not, this could be the root of the issue.
Call for help
At this point, if none of your troubleshooting efforts have yielded any results, you may want to call someone. While a visit from a repairman could have a high price tag, an issue with your home’s gas requires a professional opinion. It is also a good idea to keep space heaters handy as a reliable source of warm air in case of a faulty furnace.
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