Since gas-fired furnaces produce an open flame, high temperatures and dangerous combustion by-products like carbon monoxide gas, the list of do-it-yourself procedures for troubleshooting heating systems is necessarily short for safety’s sake. However, before calling in a professional HVAC technician, try these three simple procedures for troubleshooting heating equipment to rule out the most obvious sources of trouble.
If the furnace isn’t activating, check the thermostat for some basic no-brainer causes. First, make sure the system operation is set to “on.” Then check the actual thermostat temperature setting to make sure nobody’s turned it down. Adjust the thermostat setting to five degrees above current room temperature and see if the furnace activates.
If it doesn’t, look inside the main power panel for any tripped circuit breakers. If you find one, reset the circuit breaker by turning it off and back on. Finally, if you’re using a programmable thermostat, verify that the batteries are fresh and that the unit is receiving power.
If the flame goes out in a furnace that utilizes a standing pilot light, the furnace shuts down as a safety measure. Open the door to the combustion area and look for the blue flame of the pilot visible inside the combustion chamber. If you can’t see it, turn the furnace gas valve to “off,” wait five minutes, then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for relighting the pilot. If it fails to light or remain lit, contact your HVAC contractor.
Proper airflow is critical to heating performance and efficiency. A dirty filter obstructs airflow and can cause a variety of problems relating to indoor comfort and high operating costs. A dirty air filter can even overheat the furnace and cause safety switches to shut the unit down. Change the air filter monthly during heating season as good preventive maintenance. Ask your HVAC contractor to demonstrate how to do it yourself.
When it’s time to turn troubleshooting heating systems in your home over to a trained professional with the expertise and equipment to do the job right, contact Custom Air & Plumbing. We proudly serve Sarasota homeowners.
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