My furnace won’t start, what do I do? When you live in Edmonton Alberta and it’s -30 outside and your furnace won’t start you have a pretty serious problem. It’s not always easy to get furnace repair professional over to your house at 10 o’clock at night, they might be out helping other people with the same problem you have.
Depending on the age of your furnace there are a few things you can check and maybe fix yourself to get the heat back on in an emergency.
“Please remember that your furnace is a dangerous appliance as it deals with both natural gas and electricity and you should use extreme caution when attempting to work on your furnace on your own. If it anytime you smell gas call in a professional furnace repairman or your utility supplier.”
The first thing to always remember when working on your furnace system is to turn the power off, there should be a main power switch which will look just like a light switch, turn this off. For extra safety, it’s a good idea to flip the breaker in your service panel to make sure no power is flowing. Next, you’re going to want to turn your gas valve to the off position.
Before Calling For Furnace Repair Here Are A Few Tips
- Tip 1: Change the batteries in your thermostat if you have an electronic or programmable thermostat. Sometimes a low battery is all it takes to stop your furnace from working, most your thermostats have built-in fail-safes but some of the older ones do not and it can be as simple as replacing the battery to get the heat back on.
- Tip 2: Replace your furnace filter, the furnace filter allows your furnace to breathe and if it is too dirty it will not allow enough air to go through the filter and can cause her furnace to overheat and shut down. Replace your furnace filter and wait a few minutes for everything to cool down and then restart your furnace. You should be replacing your furnace filter every month during the heating season and every month during the summer if you are running and air-conditioning system.
- Tip 3: Replace a worn-out thermocouple. The thermocouple is a temperature measuring device that is made of two different metals that when exposed to heat create a Milli voltage that is enough to keep your gas valve turned on. If the thermocouple does not since heat in the Milli voltage stops and will not allow a gas valve to flow. Older furnaces use a thermocouple with a gas pilot light, when lit the pilot light creates enough heat so that the thermocouple will allow for the gas valve to remain open. If the pilot light is blown out or the thermocouple does not since the heat it will shut the gas valve off. Thermocouples are pretty easy to replace, but before doing that try relighting the pilot light or rubbing the thermocouple with a light emery cloth to remove any built-up residue that might be keeping the thermocouple from sensing heat. If both the steps fail and you have the ability to purchase a thermocouple from the hardware store they’re only about $10 and require basic mechanical skill.
- Tip 4: Cleaning your flame sensor. Modern furnaces typically have an electronic ignition and do not have a thermocouple, but they do have what is called a flame sensor which also senses heat when the furnace is running. If the flame sensor does not since heat it will shut the main gas off for safety. The flame sensor can become corroded and only requires a little bit of sanding off using an emery cloth.
- Tip 5: Door switches are commonplace on furnaces if you have taken one or both of the doors off of your furnace make sure that you’ve replaced them properly. Most new furnaces are equipped with a door switch but if it is not depressed all the way will not allow the furnace system to operate. If you just replaced your filter or you were vacuuming out the furnace area you may not have replaced the doors properly which will prevent the furnace from turning on. Simply replace the door and back to heat.
I hope one of these tips helps you if you have no heat and there are no professionals available to help you. Please remember to be extremely careful when working on your furnace system. You should have your furnace system serviced every year, and furnace cleaning every other year.