Winter is still upon us and our technicians keep busy responding to emergency no-heat calls. Our collective experience informs us that many of these problems are easily preventable. Here are some simple actions you can take to keep from shivering inside your home on a cold winter day.
- If your furnace stops working, the first thing to check is your breaker or fuse box. Make sure it’s not something as simple as a tripped breaker before calling us. Of course, if your breaker trips frequently, you should call us. There is a reason it’s tripping often and it could be a safety issue!
- 2. Change filters frequently. Excessively dirty filters can cause a furnace to underperform and even shut down without warning. Depending on the type of filters, common advice is to change filters once a quarter, but at this time of year when your furnace has been working full bore for a couple of months, don’t hesitate to do it more frequently, like once a month (If you own a pet prone to seasonal fur shedding, that also argues for frequent filter change-outs).
Also, make sure you insert the filters correctly. Air filters come with an arrow telling which way goes into the slot first. An improperly installed air filter will not do its job efficiently.
- Check your thermostat. Battery-powered digital thermostats have a “low battery” indicator on the display. When you see this warning, it’s time to replace the batteries immediately. If no display is visible, the batteries may have worn out without your noticing. Try replacing them and see if that activates the thermostat and your furnace.
Thermostats have gotten very sophisticated with programmable options that greatly increase the efficiency of your furnace. A downside is that some can be a little complicated to read and operate. Programmable settings sometimes get accidentally adjusted when you try to turn the heat up or down. If your furnace stops heating, make sure the time and date are correct, the unit is set to “heat” and the fan is set to “auto.” Turn the temperature higher to see if the fan comes on. If not, check to see if the fuse or circuit breaker to the heating unit isn’t off.
If none of this brings the heat back on, then give us a call. Also, the simplest thermostats to use for many of our customers are the new WiFi thermostats you can control from your smart phone. Call us for more information.
- Make sure your registers aren’t blocked. This is more likely to result in low heat rather than no heat, but we’ve seen cases where nothing is wrong with the system except people moved furniture around or otherwise blocked the outlets from sufficiently circulating air flow.
- Keep up with maintenance. By far the number one avoidable problem we find are systems that deteriorate and decline in efficiency due to lack of maintenance. Every HVAC system undergoes normal wear and tear. Regular maintenance checks are needed so you can repair or replace parts before they cause a breakdown. Maintenance can even be free. For example, when we adjust gas burners for optimal burn, you save on gas while benefiting from increased heat.
Call and ask us about signing up for a service agreement that assures regular maintenance checks, along with discount pricing and other benefits. We can help you prevent all of these issues and keep the heat on. Remember, a furnace tune-up pays for itself with restored efficiency, breakdown prevention, and extended product life.