It’s cold, your furnace just quit on you, and every Austin HVAC company you’ve called is booked. Or maybe your furnace died at 3 am on a Tuesday or 3 pm on a Sunday, and you’d rather not pay the after-hours rate.
Either way, what you need is some solid, practical tips to (hopefully) get your furnace cranking again—so you don’t have to put your kids to bed in their snowsuits. Even if you’re willing to do that, we’re guessing you’d rather not have almost frozen plumbing pipes.
Follow these tips to see if you can get your furnace to fire up again:
- Make sure the furnace is turned on: “Well, is it plugged in?” seems like a ridiculous question—but given how many Austin HVAC “repairs” involve flipping a switch, it’s worth asking. Check the thermostat to make sure it’s actually turned to heat, and then make sure the furnace itself is turned on and the breaker isn’t tripped.
- Check your thermostat settings: Your thermostat tells your furnace when to turn on and off, so it’s worth having a look. Does it need fresh batteries? Did the schedule get changed somehow? Does it need a good dusting? Also, try setting the thermostat to five degrees above room temperature to see if your furnace kicks on.
- See if the furnace is getting power: Turn your thermostat fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If you hear the fan kick on, you’ll know the unit’s getting power. If the fan doesn’t come on, you have an electrical issue somewhere.
- Try cycling the power: We know, we know: “Turn if off and back on again” seems to be standard advice… but that’s because it (sometimes) works! Head to your thermostat, flip the switch to the off position, and wait 30-60 seconds. Then, cross your fingers, turn the switch back on, and see what happens. If that doesn’t work, temporarily set your thermostat to “beach weather” so it’s not trying to cycle your furnace on and off while you’re troubleshooting.
- See if the gas valve is turned on: Yes, yet another switch to check. If you have a gas furnace, it can’t get the fuel it needs to operate if the switch is off.
- Check your furnace filter: This is one of the first things our technicians check because homeowners are busy and don’t often think about their filters. Even a small amount of build-up can cause dirt to accumulate on the blower, which can cause the furnace to overheat and shut down. So, with the furnace switched off, pull your filter and check its condition. If you don’t see any visible debris, check for tears or holes. If the filter’s in any sort of rough shape, replace it. If you don’t have a spare on hand, gently vacuum any visible gunk from the filter, place it back in the unit, and try firing it back up. (And ask Alexa to order you some filters!)
- Check the pilot light: If you have a gas furnace with a pilot light, see if it’s still lit. If it’s not? You guessed it: Simply re-light it.
- Close the blower door: If you recently did some preventive maintenance (gold star for you!), you may not have closed the blower door all the way. Your furnace won’t run unless that’s securely latched.
- Check the air intake: And now you get to bundle up and head outside. Furnaces draw in air from the outside, warm it, and circulate it through your home. If the air intake is clogged by debris or snow, it will cause your furnace to overheat and turn off.