furnace repair

Racine is Getting Cold, but My Furnace Wont Turn On

Troubleshooting your furnace might feel like an intimidating chore when your heat won’t start. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

There are a few fast, reasonable fixes you can do yourself to avoid a furnace repair call.

If your furnace won’t turn on, won’t stay on or won’t ignite, try the troubleshooting list below before getting in touch with an HVAC professional.

If you find you need help from someone who is experienced and live in Racine, Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc can assist you. We work on most makes of heating systems.

If it’s time for a new heating system, we also provide furnace replacement in Racine.

While you’re chatting with us, think about a regular furnace maintenance plan from Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc that could help you avoid breakdowns in the future. We can tell you how often your furnace should be examined by one of our NATE-certified professionals.

Use our easy guide below to get started on troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these steps don’t require mechanical abilities.

Steps for Furnace Troubleshooting

Check the Thermostat

To start, make sure your thermostat is telling your furnace to turn on.

If you have a digital thermostat:

  • Replace the batteries if the screen is blank. If the digital screen is jumbled, the thermostat may need to be replaced.
  • Make sure the switch is set to “heat” as opposed to “off” or “cool.”
  • Ensure the program is displaying the appropriate day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having problems overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to ignite if thermostat programming is causing trouble.
  • Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
Digital Thermostat

If your furnace hasn’t kicked on within a couple minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t start, your furnace could be without power.

If you have a smart thermostat—like one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Refer to the manufacturer’s website for help. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to work, contact us for assistance.

Lennox Smart Thermostat

Examine Breakers and Switches

Next, you will need to check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.

  • Locate your house’s main electrical panel. If you aren’t sure where it is, keep an eye out for a gray metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
  • Make sure your hands and feet are dry before touching the panel or breakers.
  • Look for the breaker labeled “furnace” or “heat,” and make sure it’s switched “on.” If the breaker has tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
  • Using one hand, firmly switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker immediately trips and pops back to “off,” leave it alone and get in touch with a professional from Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc at 262-358-9468 right away.

No matter your furnace’s age or brand, it has at least one standard wall switch located on or near it.

  • Make sure the switch is flipped up in the “on” position. If it was turned off, it could take your furnace up to five minutes to ignite. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, take a look at your basement, garage or utility closet. It could also be in a crawl space or attic.)

Replace Your Furnace’s Air Filter

When it comes to furnace problems, a grungy, clogged air filter is regularly the top culprit.

If your filter is too dirty:

  • Your furnace won’t keep heating your home, or it could overheat from reduced airflow.
  • Your energy bills could increase because your furnace is turning on too often.
  • Your furnace could fail prematurely because a dirty filter causes it to overwork.
  • Your furnace can lose power if an overly dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what make of furnace you have, your air filter can be found inside the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.

Replacing a furnace filter

To replace your filter:

  • Turn off your furnace.
  • Pull out the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, use a new one.
  • Put in the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.

Flat filters should be replaced once a month, while pleated filters should last about three months. You can also use a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to change your filter sooner.

To make the process easier in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace housing or ductwork to list the airflow direction and filter size.

Examine the Condensate Pan

Commonly known as drain pans, condensate pans capture water your furnace draws from the air.

If water is dripping out of your furnace or its pan has standing water in it, follow these steps.

  • If your pan has a drain (look for a PVC pipe), check that it isn’t clogged. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan contains a pump, take a look at the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with water in the pan, contact Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc at 262-358-9468, because you will possibly need a new pump.

Peek Inside Your Furnace

If malfunctions persist, take a look inside your furnace’s plastic window to check the status of the blower motor. Depending on the model, the light could also be mounted on the outside of your furnace.

If you see anything else besides a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc at 262-358-9468. Your furnace may be giving an error code that requires professional service.

Clean the Flame Sensor

If your furnace tries to start but switches off without putting out heat, a dirty flame sensor could be at fault. When this occurs, your furnace will try to turn on three times before a safety feature powers it down for about an hour.

If you feel comfortable with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you can do by yourself. Or, one of our HVAC experts at Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc can do it for you.

If you want to clean the sensor yourself, you’ll need:

  • A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
  • Piece of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
  • A dry, clean paper towel

Next:

  • Disable the furnace’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If your gas valve is not electric, you will need to shut off the gas as well.
  • Lift off the furnace’s front panel and track the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to gently rub the metal rod.
  • Wipe off the rod with a paper towel.
  • Remount the sensor.
  • Replace the furnace doors.
  • Turn the furnace’s power back on. It may go through a set of checks before resuming regular operation. If your furnace doesn’t start, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else may be wrong. If this happens, call Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc at 262-358-9468 for assistance.

Relight the Pilot Light

If you own an older furnace, the pilot light could be extinguished. To relight it, find the instructions on a label on your furnace, or follow these steps.

  • Look for the switch on the bottom of your furnace labeled “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
  • Turn the switch to the “off” position.
  • Wait at least five minutes to avoid possibly creating a fire.
  • Turn the knob to “pilot.”
  • Push the “reset” button as you bring the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
  • Release the “reset” button once the pilot light is lit.

If you have followed the instructions twice and the pilot light still won’t light or stay lit, contact Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc at 262-358-9468.

Check Your Fuel Source

Try turning on another gas appliance. If it doesn’t work, your natural gas service could be turned off, or you could be out of propane.

Keystone Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc Can Help with Furnace Problems

Followed our troubleshooting guide but your furnace still won’t work?

Call us today at 262-358-9468 or use our online scheduler. We’ll come out and pinpoint the problem.

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