3 DIY Furnace Troubleshooting Tips

Posted: 2020-10-29

Your furnace is the most crucial piece of equipment during the cold season. It's the system that helps you combat the effects of exposure to low temperatures. For this reason, you must ensure that your unit stays in tip-top shape. 

But there are times when your heating system fails to deliver the level of comfort you expect. What do you do? While calling your trusted HVAC company in Vadnais Heights MN, might be your first course of action, there are uncomplicated things you can do to at least determine what's going on. Who knows, you might fix the problem on your own!

Here are some of the steps you can take to troubleshoot a furnace that delivers less than satisfactory performance.

Check the filter.

Your furnace's air filter cleans the air that goes into the furnace as well as the warm air that circulates throughout your home. It collects dust, debris, and other particles in the air, keeping them from accumulating in the system. When you fail to clean or replace your filter regularly, it will gather too much debris that can compromise airflow, which is essential to the entire system's proper functioning. This lack of airflow adds pressure to the system, causing it to work harder than usual. A dirty air filter blocks the airflow, resulting in subpar heating, an exhausted furnace, mold buildup, and high utility and repair costs.

Sadly, a neglected filter is one of the most common yet unnecessary maintenance issues homeowners experience. If you have a relatively new furnace, you need not worry because new furnace models automatically shut down before too much dirt is collected, prompting you to clean or replace the filters. Unfortunately, older units don't have this function and will continue working - but with a significant drop in efficiency.

Theoretically, your filter should be replaced every three months, depending on usage. But during extreme weather, when the furnace works nearly non-stop, it is recommended to replace your filter at least once per month.

Check your user's manual to determine whether you have a reusable or a replaceable filter.

Inspect the thermostat.

A malfunctioning thermostat can cause system failures. Most of the time, simple adjustments solve the problem. If your thermostat isn't working correctly and you're sure it's programmed right, replace the batteries. Usually, pulling the thermostat's body straight out from its base opens the thermostat. But checking your manual won't hurt. 

If the thermostat does not control temperature, turn the power off on the furnace. Then, remove the thermostat cover. Using a soft brush or a vacuum, gently and carefully remove dust and dirt. If the thermostat has two parallel metal strips, wipe them off with a clean, soft cloth.

If you notice any corrosion, you can remove it with an electronic contact cleaner. For an older thermostat (a mechanical unit), be sure to mount it level on the wall and about five feet from the floor.

Be sure to position the thermostat where it can effortlessly read the temperature. Avoid putting it in a corner, behind a door, in a closet, or near a heat source like a stove. 

If none of these steps solves the problem, consider replacing the thermostat, preferably a programmable or a smart unit.

Check the power.

Before calling a qualified professional:

1.             Be sure the unit is receiving power.

2.             Be sure the switch is set to ON.

3.             Check for any loose wires.

Over time, the vibration that results from the furnace's operation can cause internal wires to become wobbly. Sometimes, a wire gets too loose that it causes a short. If there aren't any rickety wires, try to reset your circuit breaker. If resetting the breaker works, then your problem is solved. However, if the furnace continues to trip your breaker, you need to find the problem's root and fix it. It can be caused by an overloaded furnace, an overloaded shared circuit, a short circuit inside your furnace, or circuit breaker problems. If you find this task a little too daunting, call a professional.

Need Help? Call the Right Guys

If you want to troubleshoot your malfunctioning furnace safely, leave it to the experts. Four Seasons Air Specialists has some of the best technicians in the business. Our heating professionals are certified and have multiple years of experience fixing furnaces. We are your top Woodbury furnace repair company.