Furnace Repair Checklist
1. Inspect the Thermostat
To start, ensure your thermostat is telling your furnace to start.
- Replace the batteries if the display is empty. If the digital screen is scrambled, the thermostat might need to be swapped out.
- Make certain that the button is on “heat” rather than “off” or “cool.”
- Make certain the program is displaying the correct day and time and is scheduled to “run.” If you’re having trouble overriding the schedule, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and pressing the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to start if thermostat is causing an issue.
- Turn the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than what the room temperature currently is.
If your heater hasn’t kicked on within several minutes, ensure it has electricity by changing the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t begin to run, your furnace may not have power.
If you have a smart thermostat—for example one designed by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting will depend on your model. Check the manufacturer’s website for assistance. If you’re still unable to get your Wi-Fi thermostat to operate, call us at 803-265-4208 for heating and cooling service.
2. Check Breakers and Switches
Next, confirm your breaker and furnace switch are on.
- Look for your main electrical panel. If you have no idea where it is, keep an eye out for a silver metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
- Ensure your hands and feet aren’t moist prior to opening the panel or breakers.
- Look for the breaker marked “furnace” or “heat,” and make sure it’s switched “on.” If you discover a tripped breaker, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
- Using one hand, quickly switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker immediately trips and pops back to “off,” don't try to reset it and contact a team member from Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. at 803-265-4208 right away.
Regardless of your furnace’s age or brand, it has at minimum one regular wall switch set on or close to it.
- Make sure the lever is flipped up in the “on” placement. If it was switched off, it could take your furnace up to five minutes to start. (If you’re unsure where to locate 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 heater breakdowns, a filthy, full air filter is frequently the top offender.
If your filter is too dirty:
- Your heater won’t keep heating your home, or it could get too hot from reduced airflow.
- Your gas costs could be higher because your heater is turning on more often.
- Your furnace may fail too soon due to the fact a dirty filter forces it to work harder.
- Your heating may be cut off from power if an excessively clogged filter results in a tripped breaker.
Depending on what type of heater you use, your air filter will be within the blower compartment of your heater, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.
To replace your filter:
- Cut the power to your heating system.
- Remove the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t view light through it, use a new one.
- Insert the new filter with the arrow facing toward the heater to keep damage from happening.
Flat filters should be replaced once a month, while pleated filters should last about three months. If you have children or pets, you may have to change your filter more frequently.
To make the process go more quickly down the line, use a permanent pen on your heating system exterior or ductwork to show the airflow direction and filter size.
4. Examine the Condensate Pan
Commonly known as drain pans, condensate pans catch moisture your furnace pulls from the air.
If water is seeping from within your furnace or its pan has too much water in it, try these recommendations.
- If your pan has a drain (look for a PVC pipe), double-check that it isn’t full. If it requires draining, drop in a special pan-cleaning tablet you can purchase at home improvement or hardware shops.
- If your pan uses a pump, check the float switch. If the switch can’t be moved from the “up” position with standing water in the pan, call us at 803-265-4208, because you will possibly need a new pump.
5. Check for Heater Error Codes
If failures persist, take a look inside your heater’s plastic window to verify the blower motor’s status. Subject to the type, the light might also be fixed on the exterior of your heater.
If you notice anything except a steady, colored light or flickering green light, contact us at 803-265-4208 for HVAC service. Your heating system may be communicating an error code that is calling for expert service.
6. Scrub the Flame Sensor
If your furnace attempts to work but switches off without distributing warm air, a dirty flame sensor can be to blame. When this takes place, your furnace will make an attempt to start three times before a safety device turns it off for approximately an hour.
If you feel confident with opening up your heating system, cleaning your flame sensor is a job you can do on your own. Or, one of our heating service specialists is able to do it for you.
If you want to clean the sensor on your own, you require:
- A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
- Piece of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
- A fresh paper towel
- Disable the furnace’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If your furnace’s gas valve isn’t electric, you must shut off the gas as well.
- Remove the heating system’s front panel and track the wire to the flame sensor.
- Remove the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to carefully rub the metal rod.
- Clean the rod with a paper towel.
- Remount the sensor.
- Secure the furnace doors.
- Switch the furnace’s power back on. It could proceed through a series of checks before continuing regular heating. If your heater doesn’t turn on, the sensor may require replacement or something else could be creating an issue. If this happens, call us at 803-265-4208 for heating and cooling repair support.
7. Relight the Pilot Light
If you own an aging heating system, the pilot light could be turned off. To reignite it, look for the steps on a sticker on your heating system, or follow these guidelines.
- Find the toggle below your heating system that says “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
- Move the switch to the “off” position.
- Don’t do anything for at least five minutes to avoid creating a fire.
- Move the switch to “pilot.”
- Push the “reset” button as you push the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
- Depress the “reset” switch once the pilot light is burning.
If you have used the instructions twice and the pilot light still won’t ignite or remain burning, call us at 803-265-4208 for furnace service.
Examine Your Fuel Source
Try using a second gas appliance. If it doesn’t function, your natural gas service may be turned off, or you could be out of propane.