When the weather turns chilly and the nights get long, it is time to turn on your heater and warm up your home. When you do turn on your heating system, you expect it to respond promptly, and you hope that a flood of warm air will soon start flowing through your home.
In most cases, that is exactly what will happen. If you took the time to maintain your heating system the right way and had your furnace inspected, the warm air should start flowing almost as quickly as you can turn the thermostat. But what do you do if your heater does not turn on? What should you look for, and how should you go about troubleshooting the problem?
Check the Thermostat
The first thing to do is check the thermostat and make sure it is set to the proper temperature. If the temperature is not set correctly, the furnace will not come on even if it is otherwise functioning normally.
It is easy to misread the thermostat, especially if you have not changed the setting for some time. Before you do anything else, take a few minutes to double-check the thermostat setting and make sure it is correct.
Check the Power
Even if your heater is powered by gas, the system still uses a small amount of electricity. If your heater will not turn on, it is possible that the breaker has been tripped.
Check the breaker to make sure the power switch is in the on position, and that the fuse has not been blown. If power is flowing to the heater, you can continue your troubleshooting by looking at other possibilities.
Examine the Blower
If the power is flowing and the thermostat is set, the problem could be with the blower. The blower compartment is designed with an observation window, so you can look inside without opening the unit.
When you look into that window, you should see a green flashing light. If the light is red, or if it is not flashing, there could be an issue with the blower motor, the control board, the transformer or the capacitor.
Empty the Condensate Pan
Your heating system will not turn on if the condensate pan is full, so check the level and empty it if necessary. If the heater still will not turn on, check the condensate pipe for blockages. Debris in the pipe can cause blockages and prevent the heater from going on.
If there are no blockages in the condensate pipe and the heater will still not come on, you may need to reset the system. An overflowing drain pan or blockage in the pipe could have triggered a power loss to the heater.
When you turn your heater on, you expect it to respond right away. When that does not happen, it can be quite disconcerting, but there are things you can do to increase your comfort and warm up your home. The troubleshooting steps listed above can help you resolve your heater issues, so you can keep your home warm and cozy all winter long.