Heating Tips: Troubleshooting A Furnace Problem

Black-Haak would like to share with you a number of ways to perform basic troubleshooting of a natural gas furnace and how to properly ensure your home is warm and comfortable throughout the winter. Through proper use and care of your heating system you can help to extend the life of the furnace and ensure your monthly or seasonal utility bills are reasonable.

  • Ensure the thermostat is set in the “heat” position.
  • Ensure the thermostat is set higher than the ambient indoor temperature.
  • Ensure there is power to the furnace – try turning the fan to “ON” at the thermostat to test for power to furnace.
  • Ensure the circuit breakers on the electrical panel are flipped to the “ON” position.
  • Ensure the safety shut off switch (it looks like a light switch) located at or near the furnace is in the “ON” position.
  • Ensure the furnace filter has been replaced recently?
  • Ensure all return air grilles and supply registers are unobstructed by furniture and are blowing air.

The cost of natural gas, heating oil and electricity can be expensive – make sure those utilities are being spent to heat your home and not the outdoors. It is important to ensure sure your home is properly insulated and the exterior doors and windows are fully sealed. If your home is losing heat through cracks or improper insulation your heating system has to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature for you within the home – which only costs you more money. To prevent this, make sure all of your doors and windows have good, solid seals to prevent drafts. As an additional precaution, you might consider putting plastic sheets over unused doors and windows in the colder months to keep heat from escaping.

Another great way to save on heating expense is to set your thermostat to different temperatures depending on the time of day. If your home is empty in the late morning and afternoon while you are at work it doesn’t pay to keep it as warm as when you are at home in the evening. You can do this by adjusting the thermostat before you leave and after you return, or by having a programmable thermostat installed that can adjust the heat for you at scheduled intervals throughout the day.

The more living space you have to heat, the harder your heating system will have to work. You can significantly reduce the amount of space you need to heat by closing the doorways and heating vents within rooms you do not commonly enter in the winter months. This can make it both cheaper and easier to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

If you properly maintain your furnace you can ensure your heating system performs efficiently throughout the winter season. There are some smaller tasks you can take care of on your own, such as looking out for irregular noises and smells from the furnace or ensuring heating vents and the main blower are free of dust and debris buildup. However, a more detailed and professional inspection should be performed annually by an expert furnace technician. If your furnace breaks down due to missed maintenance and inspection the result can be a more costly future repair.

The most obvious energy saving tip is to keep the temperature in the home at a level that you know is bearable if you wear a few extra layers of clothing. Throw on a sweater and turn the heat down a couple of degrees!