furnace repair

Tuscaloosa is Getting Cold, but My Furnace Wont Turn On

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

There are a couple of fast, reasonable 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 calling an HVAC professional.

If you find you need help from someone who is experienced and live in Tuscaloosa, KDM Service Corporation can provide assistance to you. We repair most brands of heating systems.

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

While you’re chatting with us, think about a regular furnace maintenance plan from KDM Service Corporation that may help you avoid problems in the future. We can tell you how frequently your furnace should be examined by one of our NATE-certified specialists.

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

Steps for Furnace Troubleshooting

Check the Thermostat

First, make sure your thermostat is signaling your furnace to turn on.

If you have a digital thermostat:

  • 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” rather than “off” or “cool.”
  • Ensure the program is displaying the right 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 start if thermostat programming is causing a problem.
  • Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
Digital Thermostat

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 begin to run, your furnace might not have 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 don’t know where it is, look 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.
  • Locate 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 call a professional from KDM Service Corporation at 205-208-8090 right away.

Regardless of 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 ignite. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, take a look at 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 issues, a filthy, clogged air filter is regularly the top culprit.

If your filter is too dirty:

  • Your furnace won’t be able to stay on, or it could overheat from restricted airflow.
  • Your energy bills could increase because your furnace is turning on too often.
  • Your furnace could break down prematurely because a dirty filter causes it to work harder.
  • Your furnace can be disconnected from power if an extremely dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what make of furnace you have, 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.
  • Remove the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, replace it.
  • Put in 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 change 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.

Examine the Condensate Pan

Commonly known as drain pans, condensate pans catch water your furnace removes from the air.

If water is dripping 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 buy at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan has a pump, check the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with water in the pan, contact KDM Service Corporation at 205-208-8090, because you will probably need a new pump.

Peek Inside Your Furnace

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 mounted on the outside of your furnace.

If you see anything other than a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call KDM Service Corporation at 205-208-8090. Your furnace may be emitting an error code that is calling for professional service.

Clean the Flame Sensor

If your furnace tries to start but shuts off without blowing heat, a dirty flame sensor could be to blame. When this takes place, your furnace will attempt to ignite 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 on your own. Or, one of our HVAC professionals at KDM Service Corporation 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:

  • Turn 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 follow the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to carefully 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 may go through a sequence of checks before continuing regular operation. If your furnace doesn’t ignite, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else might be wrong. If this happens, get in touch with KDM Service Corporation at 205-208-8090 for assistance.

Relight the Pilot Light

If you own an older furnace, the pilot light could be turned off. 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 KDM Service Corporation at 205-208-8090.

Check Your Fuel Source

Try switching on another gas appliance. If it doesn’t work, your natural gas service could be turned off, or you could be out of propane.

KDM Service Corporation Can Help with Furnace Problems

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

Call us today at 205-208-8090 or use our online scheduler. We’ll come out and pinpoint the problem.

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