Broken Furnace? 2 Things To Check Before You Call A Professional

Have you ever woken up to a freezing cold house? As you brave your way over cold tiles to take a shower, you might curse your heater and wonder what the problem is. Unfortunately, furnace issues can be illusive and difficult to resolve on your own. However, before you call in the HVAC professional, check these things first:

1: Your Thermostat

If your house is chillier than it should be, your first instinct might be to blame that furnace. However, since your furnace only does what it is told, your thermostat might be the real culprit. Here are a few things you should check on your thermostat so that your home stays comfortable:

  • Stuck Buttons: Do you ever quickly adjust the thermostat in the middle of making dinner or after helping your child with a project? If you don't wash your hands first, your thermostat panel could become grimy, which might make buttons stick in place. Unfortunately, once buttons are stuck, your furnace might run improperly. Carefully inspect your thermostat for sticky spots and clean any dirt away with a damp washcloth.  
  • Incorrect Settings: Make sure that your system is set to "heat" and not "fan" or "cool." Also, check to see if your thermostat is scheduled to turn on automatically or by manual operation. If the system is on manual, it won't automatically react to the ambient temperature.
  • Time: That carefully chosen heating schedule won't matter much if the time of day is wrong on your thermostat. Check to see if the time is in AM or PM, and always adjust your system after daylight-saving time.

After you inspect your thermostat, monitor it regularly to make sure that it is operating properly. If you are still experiencing problems, make a home temperature journal. Record the indoor temperature regularly, and make a special note if the furnace isn't running when it should. The information you collect might help your HVAC professional to diagnose furnace trouble if your thermostat isn't the issue.    

2: Your Air Vents

Even the best furnace can't heat rooms it can't access. Unfortunately, if air isn't circulating through your home like it should, you might have an issue with your air vents. Before you call in a professional, go through your home to look for these common air vent issues:

  • Blocked Air Returns: Your furnace keeps your home a warm, steady temperature by carefully recirculating indoor air. In addition to your regular air vents, your system contains air returns, which suck air back into the system and push it towards the furnace. Unfortunately, because these vents don't appear to be doing anything, some people assume they are unnecessary and block them with furniture. Once the return is blocked, your home will struggle to balance the indoor temperature. To keep your home comfortable, uncover all blocked vents throughout your home. Air return vents are typically located near interior walls.    
  • Closed Vents: Do you close off vents in unused rooms to control the airflow? Although many people assume that closing vents is a great way to preserve warmed air, the fact of the matter is that it can damage your heater. When vents are closed, it can increase interior ventilation pressure, which can cause duct leakage. Instead of closing vents, leave them open and let your thermostat regulate the temperature.
  • Dirty Registers: Over time, air vents can accumulate quite a bit of grime. In fact, the average HVAC system in a six-room home accumulates about 40 pounds of dust every year. Unfortunately, this accumulation can minimize airflow and make your system work harder than it should. To keep your system a little cleaner, remove your vent covers and vacuum out the inside of your registers whenever you clean your house.

By inspecting your heater for problems before you call in a professional, you can become more familiar with your system and avoid issues down the road. Then, you can click here for more information.