When your furnace won’t start, doing your own furnace repair in Milledgeville and Middle Georgia, Georgia, can feel overwhelming.
Fixing your furnace might feel like an intimidating task when your heat won’t turn on. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
There are a few quick, inexpensive fixes you can do by 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 calling an HVAC professional.
If you find you need help from a heating and cooling pro and live in Milledgeville and Middle Georgia, Air Concepts of Middle Georgia can assist you. We can repair most types of heating systems and also provide emergency furnace repair.
If you’re ready for a new heating system, we also do furnace installation.
While you’re talking with us, think over an annual furnace maintenance plan that could help you avoid breakdowns in the future. We can tell you how frequently your furnace should be examined by one of our professionals.
Use our easy guide below to get to work on troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these steps don’t require mechanical abilities.
Furnace Repair Checklist
1. Check the Thermostat
To begin, make sure your thermostat is telling your furnace to turn on.
Change 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” rather than “off” or “cool.”
Ensure the program is set to the appropriate 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 make the furnace to turn on if thermostat programming is causing a problem.
Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
If your furnace hasn’t started within few minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t run, your furnace might not have power.
If you have a smart thermostat—like one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Check the manufacturer’s website for help. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to work, call us at 478-200-5689 for heating and cooling service.
2. Examine Breaks and Switches
Next, you will need to check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.
Find your house’s main electrical panel. If you have no idea 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.
Find 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 contact a professional from Air Concepts of Middle Georgia at 478-200-5689 right away.
No matter your furnace’s age or brand, it has at least one standard wall switch located on or close to 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 ignite. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, check your basement, garage or utility closet. It could also be in a crawl space or attic.)
3. Replace the Air Filter
When it comes to furnace problems, a dirty, 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 limited airflow.
- Your energy bills could be higher because your furnace is turning on more than it should.
- Your furnace could break down too soon because a dirty filter causes it to work harder.
- Your furnace can lose power if an overly dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.
Depending on what model 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.
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, replace it.
- Add 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 buy a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to change your filter more frequently.
To make the process easier in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace housing or ductwork to indicate the airflow direction and filter size.
4. Inspect the Condensate Pan
Commonly known as drain pans, condensate pans catch water your furnace draws 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 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 has a pump, take a look at the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with standing water in the pan, contact us at 478-200-5689, because you will possibly need a new pump.
5. Check for Furnace Error Codes
If malfunctions persist, peek inside your furnace’s plastic window to verify the status of the blower motor. Depending on the model, the light could also be attached on the outside of your furnace.
If you see anything else besides a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call us at 478-200-5689 for HVAC service. Your furnace may be communicating an error code that requires professional assistance.
6. Clean the Flame Sensor
If your furnace tries to start but shuts off without distributing heat, a dirty flame sensor could be responsible. When this happens, your furnace will try to startthree times before a safety feature turns it off for about an hour.
If you feel comfortable with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you can do yourself. Or, one of our heating service specialists 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
- 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.
- Take 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 carefully 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 could run through a sequence of checks before proceeding with 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 us at 478-200-5689 for heating and cooling repair assistance.
7. Relight the Pilot Light
If you own an older furnace, the pilot light could be turned off. 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, call us at 478-200-5689 for furnace service.
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.
We Can Help with HVAC Repair
Followed our troubleshooting guide but your furnace still won’t work?
Call us today at 478-200-5689 or contact us online. We’ll come out and diagnose the problem.