furnace repair

Wharton is Getting Cold, but My Furnace Wont Turn On

Figuring out a furnace-related problem might feel like an intimidating task when your heat won’t work. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

There are a few quick, low-cost fixes you can do on your own to prevent 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 someone who is experienced and live in Wharton, Faust Air Conditioning and Heating can help you. We service most brands of heating systems.

If you’re ready for a new heating system, we also provide furnace replacement in Wharton.

While you’re in touch with us, consider a regular furnace maintenance plan from Faust Air Conditioning and Heating that might help you avoid breakdowns in the future. We can tell you how often your furnace should be inspected by one of our NATE-certified experts.

Use our easy guide below to get to work on troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these steps don’t require mechanical skills.

Steps for Furnace Troubleshooting

Check the Thermostat

To start, make sure your thermostat is instructing your furnace to start.

If you have a digital thermostat:

  • Change 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” as opposed to “off” or “cool.”
  • Ensure the program is displaying the right day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having problems overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will make the furnace to start if thermostat programming is causing trouble.
  • Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
Digital Thermostat

If your furnace hasn’t turned on within a couple minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t start, 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. Check the manufacturer’s website for help. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to work, contact us for assistance.

Lennox Smart Thermostat

Examine Breakers and Switches

Next, you will need to check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.

  • Find 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,” don’t touch it and get in touch with a professional from Faust Air Conditioning and Heating at 979-323-6130 right away.

It doesn’t matter how old your furnace is or what brand it is, it has at least one standard wall switch located on or by 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 ignite. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, check your basement, garage or utility closet. It could also be in a crawl space or attic.)

Replace Your Furnace’s Air Filter

When it comes to furnace problems, a filthy, clogged air filter is often to blame.

If your filter is too dirty:

  • Your furnace won’t keep heating your home, or it could overheat from restricted airflow.
  • Your energy bills could be higher because your furnace is turning on more than it should.
  • Your furnace could stop working prematurely because a dirty filter causes it to work overtime.
  • Your furnace can lose power if an extremely dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what model of furnace you use, your air filter will be inside the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.

Replacing a furnace filter

To replace your filter:

  • Turn off your furnace.
  • Take out the filter and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see light through it, get a new one.
  • Insert the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.

Flat filters should be replaced once a month, while pleated filters should last about three months. You can also use a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to put in a new filter more frequently.

To make the process smoother in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace housing or ductwork to show the airflow direction and filter size.

Examine the Condensate Pan

Also known as drain pans, condensate pans catch water your furnace draws from the air.

If water is leaking 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’s clear. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan has a pump, inspect the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with liquid in the pan, contact Faust Air Conditioning and Heating at 979-323-6130, because you will probably need a new pump.

Peek Inside Your Furnace

If malfunctions keep on happening, 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 mounted on the outside of your furnace.

If you see anything else besides a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call Faust Air Conditioning and Heating at 979-323-6130. Your furnace may be giving an error code that is calling for professional help.

Clean the Flame Sensor

If your furnace tries to start but turns off without blowing heat, a dirty flame sensor could be at fault. When this takes place, your furnace will make an attempt to start three times before a safety feature turns it off 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 HVAC professionals at Faust Air Conditioning and Heating 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

Next:

  • Disable 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 might go through a series of checks before proceeding with normal operation. If your furnace doesn’t start, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else could be wrong. If this happens, contact Faust Air Conditioning and Heating at 979-323-6130 for assistance.

Relight the Pilot Light

If you have an older furnace, the pilot light could be out. To relight it, find the instructions on a label on your furnace, or follow these steps.

  • Find 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 Faust Air Conditioning and Heating at 979-323-6130.

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.

Faust Air Conditioning and Heating Can Help with Furnace Problems

Followed our troubleshooting guide but your furnace still won’t work?

Call us today at 979-323-6130 or use our online scheduler. We’ll come out and diagnose the problem.

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