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Ask F.H. Furr: My heat went out, what should I check for?

Question submitted by Julia P. Reston, VA

Julia, it’s the true beginning of the cold winter months, and we’re hoping you’re asking this question for future reference, and not because you’re experiencing no heat! The cold can be miserable, it’s important to know that your house is always warm. Even if you don’t mind the cold, you know that the home is where you want ideal temperatures to stay. So, picture this scenario; you’re sitting in your living room with the family, it’s been a long day and you’re watching your favorite show, you feel that things should be perfect. But something is off…and then you realize the problem: it’s freezing! You get up to check the thermostat which is sitting at a whopping 60 in the middle of winter. Perplexed, you wonder if someone turned it down without your knowledge. You shrug and increase the temperature. But what if nothing happens? What if it continues to remain cold and your home turns into an igloo before you realize what hit you? That’s when you come to the earth-shattering realization that something is wrong with your heating system.

If this story sounds familiar, or if the thought of being without heat strikes fear into your warm-blooded heart, here are some tips about things to check before calling in the professionals!

Change the filter. If you haven’t changed the filter in a while, this is the place you’ll want to begin. A dirty filter can cause your heating system to slow significantly, making your home cooler as well as wasting energy.

Check emergency burner switch. You know that switch you’re not supposed to touch? Well make sure no one’s touched it. If the switch has been bumped or tampered with, you’ve found your issue.

Check furnace doors. Make sure the doors of the furnace are on properly. If the door is ajar, it will signal the system that it’s unsafe to start up, causing it to stop altogether, resulting in your frigid house!

Check the circuit breaker. This may seem obvious, but go ahead and check it to be sure your circuit breaker hasn’t tripped, this can cause all kinds of electrical issues in the home, including problems with your HVAC system.

Oil furnace? Check the oil! If your home runs on an oil furnace, it needs to be at least 1/8th full to operate. Make sure it hasn’t fallen beneath that number, and if it has, it simply needs a little refill.

Yes…check the power switch. Don’t be fooled by the obvious, go ahead and make sure the power is on. If it’s not, fire that thing up and give it some time to start pumping.

Check thermostat batteries. Be sure that the batteries in the thermostat aren’t dead and also that it’s set on heat mode. If your thermostat is running incorrectly, it can affect the whole home’s temperature.

Reset. Finally, hit the reset button on the furnace. You should hear a whooshing sound that’ll signal that it’s set. Press it once though,….only ONCE! Otherwise, it can damage the system and then you’ve defeated the purpose of fixing it yourself.

Julia, if you’ve tried all these little tricks and the problems still persist, it’s time to haul in the artillery; the big guns, F.H. Furr. When you’ve got HVAC problems, we’re the people to handle it. We’ve been saving the day for homeowners for over 30 years, so if your heat’s down, we’ll crank it back up again! Don’t hesitate, give us a call today and have one of our comfort consultants come out to take a look at your system. Come on, see what “Absolutely the Best” looks like!


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