When your furnace won’t start, doing your own furnace repair in Crystal and Twin Cities, Minnesota, can feel overwhelming.
Figuring out a furnace-related problem might feel like a challenging task when your heat won’t turn on. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
There are a couple of fast, reasonable fixes you can do by yourself to skip a furnace repair call.
If your furnace won’t turn on, won’t stay on or won’t ignite, try the troubleshooting list below before getting in touch with an HVAC professional.
If you find you need help from a heating and cooling expert and live in Crystal and Twin Cities, GV Heating & Air can provide assistance to you. We can repair most types of heating systems and also provide emergency furnace repair.
While you’re chatting with us, think over a routine furnace maintenance plan that might help you avoid repairs in the future. We can tell you how frequently your furnace should be inspected by one of our certified pros.
Use our easy guide below to get to work on troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these steps don’t require mechanical know-how.
Furnace Repair Checklist
1. Check the Thermostat
To start, make sure your thermostat is instructing your furnace to ignite.
Replace the batteries if the screen is blank. If the digital screen is jumbled, the thermostat may need to be replaced.
Make sure the switch is set to “heat” instead of “off” or “cool.”
Ensure the program is showing the appropriate day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having trouble overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to turn on if thermostat programming is causing trouble.
Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
If your furnace hasn’t turned on within few minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t run, your furnace could be without power.
If you have a smart thermostat—like one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Refer to the manufacturer’s website for help. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to work, call us at 763-535-2000 for heating and cooling service.
2. Examine Breakers and Switches
Next, you will need to check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.
Locate your house’s main electrical panel. If you aren’t sure where it is, search for a gray metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
Make sure your hands and feet are dry before touching the panel or breakers.
Find the breaker labeled “furnace” or “heat,” and make sure it’s switched “on.” If the breaker has tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
Using one hand, firmly switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker immediately trips and pops back to “off,” leave it alone and get in touch with a professional from GV Heating & Air at 763-535-2000 right away.
No matter your furnace’s age or brand, it has at least one standard wall switch located on or close to it.
Make sure the switch is flipped up in the “on” position. If it was turned off, it could take your furnace up to five minutes to start. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, look in your basement, garage or utility closet. It could also be in a crawl space or attic.)
3. Replace the Air Filter
When it comes to furnace issues, a filthy, clogged air filter is frequently to blame.
If your filter is too dirty:
Your furnace won’t stay on, or it could overheat from reduced airflow.
Your energy bills could be higher because your furnace is turning on too often.
Your furnace could break down sooner than it should because a dirty filter causes it to work harder.
Your furnace can be cut off from power if an extremely dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.
Depending on what make of furnace you own, your air filter will be inside the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.
To replace your filter:
Turn off your furnace.
Remove the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, replace it.
Add the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.
Flat filters should be replaced monthly, while pleated filters should last about three months. You can also get a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to replace your filter sooner.
To make the process easier in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace housing or ductwork to show the airflow direction and filter size.
4. Inspect the Condensate Pan
Otherwise known as drain pans, condensate pans hold water your furnace pulls from the air.
If water is seeping out of your furnace or its pan has standing water in it, follow these steps.
If your pan has a drain (look for a PVC pipe), check that it isn’t clogged. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can purchase at home improvement or hardware stores.
If your pan uses a pump, check the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with water in the pan, contact us at 763-535-2000, because you will likely need a new pump.
5. Check for Furnace Error Codes
If malfunctions persist, take a look inside your furnace’s plastic window to verify the status of the blower motor. Depending on the model, the light could also be attached on the outside of your furnace.
If you see anything other than a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call us at 763-535-2000 for HVAC service. Your furnace may be giving an error code that needs professional service.
6. Clean the Flame Sensor
If your furnace tries to start but shuts off without distributing heat, a dirty flame sensor could be responsible. When this takes place, your furnace will attempt to start three times before a safety feature shuts it down for about an hour.
If you feel comfortable with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you can do by yourself. Or, one of our heating service professionals can do it for you.
If you want to clean the sensor yourself, you’ll need:
A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
Piece of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
A dry, clean paper towel
Shut off the furnace’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If your gas valve is not electric, you will need to shut off the gas as well.
Take off the furnace’s front panel and track the wire to the flame sensor.
Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to gently rub the metal rod.
Wipe off the rod with a paper towel.
Remount the sensor.
Replace the furnace doors.
Turn the furnace’s power back on. It could go through a sequence of checks before proceeding with usual operation. If your furnace doesn’t start, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else may be wrong. If this happens, call us at 763-535-2000 for heating and cooling repair assistance.
7. Relight the Pilot Light
If you own an older furnace, the pilot light could be extinguished. To relight it, find the instructions on a label on your furnace, or follow these steps.
Look for the switch on the bottom of your furnace labeled “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
Turn the switch to the “off” position.
Wait at least five minutes to avoid possibly creating a fire.
Turn the knob to “pilot.”
Hold down the “reset” button as you bring the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
Release the “reset” button once the pilot light is lit.
If you have followed the instructions twice and the pilot light still won’t light or stay lit, contact us at 763-535-2000 for furnace service.
Check Your Fuel Source
Try using another gas appliance. If it doesn’t work, your natural gas service could be turned off, or you could be out of propane.
We Can Help with HVAC Repair
Followed our troubleshooting guide but your furnace still won’t work?
Call us today at 763-535-2000 or contact us online. We’ll come out and figure out the problem.
At GV Heating & Air, making your home cozy is our highest priority. That’s why we supply reliable HVAC units and excellent work in Crystal and Twin Cities. Our specialists are educated in a wide range of services, so you can have confidence in your results. They’ll provide the help you are looking for, whether it’s adding an updated HVAC system or servicing and maintaining your current equipment. We’re available to help with all of your needs, so get in touch with us at 763-535-2000 or contact us online to request an appointment now.