Genoa is Getting Cold, but My Furnace Wont Turn On

Fixing your furnace might feel like a daunting task when your heat won’t work. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

There are several quick, reasonable fixes you can do on your own to prevent 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 Genoa, Assured Appliance and Heating & Air can provide assistance to you. We work on most brands of heating systems.

If you’re ready for a new heating system, we also offer furnace replacement in Genoa.

While you’re chatting with us, think over a regular furnace maintenance plan from Assured Appliance and Heating & Air that might help you avoid repairs in the future. We can tell you how regularly your furnace should be examined by one of our NATE-certified professionals.

Follow our easy guide below to get to work on troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these steps don’t require mechanical skills.

Steps for Furnace Troubleshooting

Check the Thermostat

First, 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” instead of “off” or “cool.”
  • Ensure the program is showing the right day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having a hard time overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will force the furnace to turn on if thermostat programming is causing an issue.
  • 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 run, 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.

  • Look for your house’s main electrical panel. If you don’t know where it is, search 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 Assured Appliance and Heating & Air at 847-306-8990 right away.

It doesn’t matter how old your furnace is or what brand it is, 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, anticipate your furnace could take up to five minutes to start. (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 issues, a grungy, clogged air filter is often the top offender.

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 more than it should.
  • Your furnace could break down sooner than it should because a dirty filter causes it to overwork.
  • Your furnace can lose power if an excessively dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what make of furnace you have, your air filter will be 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.
  • Take out the filter and angle 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 every month, while pleated filters should last about three months. You can also get a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to change your filter more often.

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

Otherwise known as drain pans, condensate pans catch water your furnace removes from the air.

If water is seeping 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 full. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can buy at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan contains a pump, inspect the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with standing water in the pan, contact Assured Appliance and Heating & Air at 847-306-8990, because you will possibly need a new pump.

Peek Inside Your Furnace

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

If you see anything other than a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call Assured Appliance and Heating & Air at 847-306-8990. Your furnace may be emitting an error code that requires professional help.

Clean the Flame Sensor

If your furnace tries to start but switches off without distributing heat, a dirty flame sensor could be responsible. When this takes place, your furnace will attempt 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 professionals at Assured Appliance and Heating & Air 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:

  • Turn off 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 trace the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to lightly 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 might go through a sequence of checks before resuming usual operation. If your furnace doesn’t ignite, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else could be wrong. If this happens, call Assured Appliance and Heating & Air at 847-306-8990 for assistance.

Relight the Pilot Light

If you are using 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.

  • Find 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 starting 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, get in touch with Assured Appliance and Heating & Air at 847-306-8990.

Check Your Fuel Source

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

Assured Appliance and Heating & Air Can Help with Furnace Problems

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

Call us today at 847-306-8990 or use our online scheduler. We’ll come out and pinpoint the problem.

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