You get home from work, there’s a slight chill in the air…you go to the thermostat and find that it reads 55 degrees, but you’re sure you set it to 68. Or worse, you find that your thermostat is completely blank and not working at all!!! Besides panicking, whats your next step?!?!?
Here are 7 things we recommend checking if your heat is not working this winter…before spending your hard earned money on a “no heat” service call.
- Change the batteries in your thermostat: many older systems have thermostats that run off of battery power. We’ve saved our customers lots of money over the years with this simple tip.
- Change your filter: remember the last time you changed your filter? Neither do we! It’s such an easy thing to do, yet its also easy to forget. A dirty filter can cause a system to overheat and shut down, or worse. Blocked vents can cause similar issues, so make sure they’re all open.
- Check the circuit panel for tripped breakers: heating and cooling systems often have 2 separate breakers in the panel. Find the ones labeled furnace, AC, HP, or Electric Furnace, and reset them. If you’re lucky, you’ll find one already in an off position, so you’ll know exactly which one to reset. If it trips again after resetting, give us a call as there’s likely a more serious issue.
- Check for water in the drain pan under the furnace or a clogged pump: high efficiency gas furnaces create water that drains outside or into a pump. If the drain gets clogged or the pump fails, often times there is a switch that sends a signal to the unit to shut down so it doesn’t create a larger water issue. Make sure there is power to the pump and/or the line is clear.
- Make sure the Furnace or Air Handler switch is in the ON position: furnaces require an emergency shut off switch that most times looks just like a light switch. We’ve seen cases where the switch was inadvertently turned off.
- Replace fuses in the indoor or outdoor disconnect box: this is a common problem with heat pump systems. There will usually be a small electrical box near the indoor AND outdoor units. In a lot of cases there will be cylinder style fuses in one or both boxes. These are inexpensive to buy and easy to replace. Just make sure you do not touch any wires, these disconnect boxes interrupt the high voltage power than runs to the units, and can be dangerous. Often times simply pulling the switch out, removing any debris, spider webs, or dust, and replacing the switch, will also do the trick.
- Make sure the outdoor fan is turning: mainly for heat pumps. If the thermostat is calling for heat, go outside to make sure the the fan is turning. If it’s not, you may hear a buzzing sound coming from the compressor. Find a stick thin enough to fit into the top of the unit and try and get the fan turning. If it turns, you just bought yourself some time, if not, turn the unit OFF or in AUX/ Emergency heat and call us.
There are many things that can cause your heat to stop working. What we listed here are the things we check first when we run a trouble call, and they don’t even require tools. If you’re still having issues after going through this list, give us a call we’ll be happy to save the day 🙂
Pro-Tech HVAC Home has been repairing, replacing, and installing furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, and water heaters in Maryland, DC, and Virginia for more than a decade and we’ve seen it all. We hope this quick read will serve as a guide to get you back up and running quickly, and possibly without having to call in the professionals. And remember, if you feel unsafe checking certain things on your own its best not to take the risk. Contact the professionals as Pro-Tech to take care of you.
Pro-Tech is located in the beautiful town of Eastport, MD and serves Anne Arundel, Charles, Prince Georges, Howard, and St. Mary’s Counties. We’re always happy to help answer your questions, so please give us a call or send us an email.