Troubleshooting Your Furnace

One thing we know about Santa Rosa winters is that they can be incredibly chilly. During the winter months, its important to have a heating system that does its job. At Moore Home Services, we know how bad it can be when you come home in January and have no heat. That’s why we’ve put together this guide for troubleshooting your furnace.

Troubleshooting Your Furnace for Clean Air

Did you take a whiff of your air and realized it smells a little off? Maybe a bit musty or stale? This is surprisingly common. The first thing you should do is open a window or door. Introducing fresh air is the best thing you can do for your indoor air quality. Fresh air literally breathes life back into you home. The next thing you should do is check your air filter. Far too often we see homeowners go too long before even thinking of their air filter. Over time and with use, all air filters accumulate dust and other debris. When the air filter is full, it needs to be cleaned or replaced. Taking care of the air filter is such an important task for two reasons. One, the air filter keeps dust and other buildup from hurting your HVAC system. And two, the air filter traps air contaminates that could make you or your family sick. Not all air filters are created equal. All air filters have a MERV rating from 1 to 16. Filters with a 1 rating will not trap much of anything and will leave your home and system dusty. A standard air filter has a rating between 6 and 8. At this level it can pull most dust, dander, and allergens from the air. All air filters need to be cleaned or replaced, depending on the material. When an air filter is too full or dirty, it can’t properly trap dust and other debris in the air. Instead, the air in your home is polluted and dusty.
The HVAC experts at Moore Home Services recommend changing your air filter at least twice every year. Once in the spring before it’s time to start the AC and once in the fall before things start to get cooler. We also recommend checking the air filter if you live near a construction site, after fire season, or if you’re sharing your home with lots of furry family members.

Other ways to keep your home’s air clean:

These small changes can have a major impact on your home’s indoor air quality.

Troubleshooting Your Furnace When There’s No Hot Air

We’ve all had that feeling, you come home after a cool day, turn on the furnace, and suddenly there’s only a rush of cold air coming from the vents. When it comes time for a large repair, it’s absolutely necessary to call in a professional. Despite this, there are a few things you can try at home when trying to troubleshoot your furnace.
  1. The first thing to check is the thermostat. Try changing the temperature 5 to 10 degrees warmer than where it’s currently at. This should be enough to feel a difference.
  2. Move any furniture, art, or objects that may be covering vents and registers.
  3. If there was a power outage recently, turn off the system, reset the power breaker, and turn it back on. An energy route disruption can affect your HVAC system.
  4. And finally, make sure the gas valves are open and working.
It’s really important to remember that when a furnace can’t produce warm air, it is usually attributed to a larger problem. If any of the suggestions above don’t work, call a professional.

Home Heating Not Working at All

We’ve covered what to do when everything is up and running, but what about when it won’t start at all? The good news is there are a few reasons why your system might not be turning on. As with a few other things, it’s best to start at the thermostat. Start by checking the batteries. The thermostat is essentially the remote control of your entire system, if it doesn’t work, neither will your furnace. The next step, if you live with other people, is to ask around. Sometimes another person in the home changed the thermostat settings without telling anyone. The final thing we can tell you to do is restarting the system. A power outage can make your system go haywire, once the power is restored you need to force a restart.

For more serious issues, it may be possible that:

  • A safety switch was triggered. One of our favorite features on modern furnaces are all the safety switches. This comes with a caveat though. Once a safety switch is triggered, only an HVAC professional can reset it.
  • The fire exchanger may be disabled. One issue with an overfull air conditioner is that a dirty air filter can’t keep dust from settling in the system. When too much dust settles in the fire exchanger, it can clog and stop working. This causes the entire system to not turn on.
Just like everything else in the world, a furnace has a lifespan. When the furnace reaches the end of its lifespan, there’s nothing you can do except replace it. Most heaters live between 16 and 20 years based on use and maintenance. Moore Home Services is here if you have any questions about your heating system and how to troubleshoot your furnace.