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What to Do When Your Heating System Won’t Turn On

Cold Man Thermostat 1

There are a number of problems a heating system can run into over the course of its life. We recommend getting any heating issue under control ASAP, including an odd sound or reduced heating performance, as it could only get worse with time. But there’s one issue we don’t have to remind you to fix: when the heater breaks down completely.

When your heating system will not turn on, you want a quick solution. Of course, you don’t want to call in technicians if the problem is something you can fix on your own. So what should you do if a furnace will not start up?

Try the Circuit Breaker

We’d hate for a triggered circuit to be the reason you call a technician out to your home. Remember, even gas furnaces use electricity. Try resetting the circuit that leads to your furnace, or the thermostat if there is no display.

Check the Thermostat (Again)

We know, we know. This is probably the first thing you did when you noticed the heating system was not cycling on. Still, it’s important to check every setting you can. Make sure the thermostat is not in vacation mode or “fan on” mode, which won’t generate any heat in an off-cycle. See that young family members have not played with the thermostat and switched it to cooling mode.

You should also be aware that furnaces have a delay. For your safety, the blower fan does not start up until the plenum is hot enough, and this may take a few minutes. Don’t assume the furnace is broken just because the system doesn’t start up right away!

Check the Gas Supply

Sometimes, we come out to repair a furnace only to discover there is no natural gas coming into the home. In this case, you’ll want to call the utility company, not a technician. First, check that the gas valve leading to the furnace is open. If so, try other gas appliances like the water heater or stovetop. If these don’t work, it is likely an issue on the utility’s end.

Light the Pilot

Some older furnaces require you to use a stick lighter to ignite the small flame that keeps heat available to the furnace. Only do this if you feel confident lighting a pilot light on your own! Keep in mind that many systems use electronic ignition these days, which means that lighting the pilot may not be the solution.

Call Technicians

Finally, if none of this works, you’ll have to call in technicians. We recommend doing this sooner rather than later! Make sure you have licensed and bonded HVAC technicians, not someone who does general handy work or an amateur just getting into the business. It’s tough to accurately diagnose and repair heating equipment unless you have plenty of experience.

For quality heating in Grand Rapids, MI when you need it, contact the experts at GRmetro Heating and Cooling Inc. We also offer an excellent maintenance program that can prevent your heater from breaking down in the first place!

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