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5 Easy Furnace Troubleshooting Tips

With many parts of the Northeast buried in snow and winter holding its grip on the rest of the country, everyone’s furnaces are working overtime. If your heating equipment is old or hasn’t undergone regular maintenance you could be at risk of your furnace breaking down when you need it most.

When something big breaks down, it is easy to panic and call a professional right away. Although the best way to stave off costly furnace repairs is an annual heating maintenance, there are some things that homeowners can do to fix some of the most common causes of a furnace failure. Still, there are many things that only a professional HVAC contractor should handle. Having annual heating and cooling maintenance is essential for a long-lasting, efficient, and cost-effective HVAC system.

Furnace Troubleshooting Tips

Check your breaker box. Make sure it is on. Check the thermostat for the correct settings. Check the thermostat batteries. Maybe it’s time to change the batteries. Make sure all filters are clean. If you are still having a problem, give us a call. We will be more than happy to come out and diagnosis your problem and make the authorized repairs.

1. Check Your Furnace Filter -The first place to look is your furnace’s air filter. Dirty filters are one of the most common and preventable maintenance problems in home furnaces. In many heating systems, the furnace will actually shut off as a result of an overheated heat exchanger, which has to work extra hard when the air filter gets too blocked up. A dirty air filter impedes the flow of air, resulting in less heat, a harder working furnace, soot build-up, and costly repairs. Fortunately, it is a simple task for almost any homeowner. Change your air filters every 1-3 months depending on how often you use it and the amount of dust, pollen, pet dander, and other indoor air pollutants in your home. Set a monthly reminder on your phone to check your furnace filter. If you are worried about poor indoor air quality, contact the professional air quality experts at Cassel Home Comfort.

2. Check Your Thermostat – Sometimes what we think is a furnace problem may actually be a thermostat problem. This may seem obvious, but many times the reason your furnace isn’t working is that the thermostat is not set to “heat,” or the temperature setting is too low. While you are checking these things, it is also a good idea to open up the thermostat housing and blow out any dust or dirt. Another possible cause of thermostat failure is lack of power. If you have a programmable thermostat, the batteries may need to be replaced. If not, you may be able to bring back power to your thermostat at your home’s fuse or breaker panel, which brings us to our next step.

3. Check Your Breaker Box –If you have checked steps 1 and 2 and still no luck, it’s time to find your home’s breaker panel. Your furnace may have drawn too much power and thrown its breaker switch. Even if your breaker box is poorly labeled, if it’s at fault for your furnace failure the switch you’ll be able to see one switch that’s different from all the others. To reset the breaker move the switch the rest of the way if it’s not completely open and then return it to its original position.

4. Check Your Blower Panel – For whatever reason, your furnace blower panel may not have been closed all the way. Go to your furnace and make sure your blower door/panel is shut completely. Some models have a safety mechanism that prevents it from running if the blower panel has not been closed.

5. Check Your Gas Valve and Pilot Light – If all these steps have failed to start your furnace back up, you may have an issue with your gas valve or pilot light. If the pilot light has gone out in your furnace, you need to relight it. First, go to your gas valve and turn it off. It may have been turned and left off accidentally, which would explain your lack of heat, but either way, you will need to relight your pilot light. It will either be attached to the gas pipe or have a separate knob on or near the furnace somewhere, usually in the furnace cabinet. If you need to light your pilot light, turning off the gas for 5-10 minutes will ensure that all fumes have dissipated and that you can light the pilot light safely. Make sure all gas and fumes are gone before trying to light your pilot light.

Furnace Troubleshooting


Water Heater Gas Valve


After locating your gas control valve and shutting off the gas for at least 5 minutes, you are ready to light your pilot light. There are usually instructions on the inside of your furnace panel. Make sure you follow your specific model’s manufacturer instructions. If you do not have an ignitor button as shown in the picture above (red button on the right), you will need to light it manually. Use one of those long lighters.

Here is a good how-to for lighting you pilot light: 3 Ways to Light Your Pilot Light by wikihow.

Even if these furnace troubleshooting tips haven’t brought your heat back on, you’ve ruled out some of the simplest and most common problems. Keep investigating and you should hopefully be able to find an easy fix but remember, don’t start experimenting with tasks only a professional should handle. Call Cassel Home Comfort for an expert HVAC technician. Good luck!

For more information on Furnace Troubleshooting Tips: Bob Vila and The Family Handyman

If you haven’t had your heating system maintained in the last year, we recommend doing so. With Cassel Home Comfort, your Champaign, Urbana home comfort system will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Inspect and clean blower compartment, increasing your system’s efficiency
  • Check and tighten all wiring, nuts, and bolts to minimize repairs in the future
  • Clean and inspect burner and proper gas and flame operation
  • Full inspection of the system, including a heat exchanger
  • Change filter and vacuum for clean indoor air
  • Inspection of flue and vents for proper ventilation and airflow
  • Check of built-in humidification system and overall safety and efficiency

    If you have tried these 5 Furnace Troubleshooting Tips and still can’t sole the problems with your furnace, call your home comfort experts at (217) 866-1596. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you might have.

    We also offer an ongoing Home Maintenance Plan to help ensure that you have regular heater/furnace tune-ups and maintenance checks, saving you time, money, and energy!

    Cassel Home Comfort Heating & Cooling is committed to being your best HVA/C contractor choice in Central Illinois in both Value and Customer Service!

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