Furnace Repair Checklist
1. Look at the Thermostat
First, make sure your thermostat is signaling your furnace to ignite.
- Change the batteries if the monitor is blank. If the digital display is scrambled, the thermostat could need to be changed.
- Make sure the button is switched to “heat” as opposed to “off” or “cool.”
- Make certain the program is showing the correct day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having a hard time getting out of the schedule, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and holding the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to turn on if thermostat is causing trouble.
- Turn the temperature setting to 5 degrees above what the room temperature currently is.
If your heater hasn’t kicked on within a few minutes, ensure it has juice 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 manufactured by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Check the manufacturer’s website for assistance. If you aren’t able to get your Wi-Fi thermostat to operate, contact us at 309-517-7511 for heating and cooling service.
2. Inspect Breakers and Switches
Next, check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.
- Look for your main electrical panel. If you have no idea where it is, keep an eye out for a silver metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
- Make sure your hands and feet aren’t wet in advance of using the panel or breakers.
- Look for the breaker marked “furnace” or “heat,” and ensure it’s reading “on.” If the breaker has tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
- With one hand, steadily switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker trips right away and pops back to “off,” don't try to reset it and get in touch with a team member from J.L. Brady Company LLC at 309-517-7511 immediately.
It doesn’t matter how old your furnace is or what brand it is, it has at minimum one standard wall switch situated on or close to it.
- Make certain the switch is moved up in the “on” position. If it was switched off, expect your furnace to take up to five minutes to start. (If you’re unsure where your furnace is located, look in your basement, garage or utility closet. It might also be in a crawl space or attic.)
3. Put in a New Air Filter
When we think about heater issues, a grungy, full air filter is frequently the top culprit.
If your filter is too grungy:
- Your furnace won’t be able to stay on, or it may get too hot from reduced airflow.
- Your heating costs could go up because your heating system is turning on more often.
- Your heating system may stop working too soon since a dusty filter triggers it to overwork.
- Your heating may lose power if an extremely clogged filter causes the breaker to trip.
While it depends on what make of heater you own, your air filter is located inside the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.
To put in a new filter:
- Turn off your heating system.
- Pull out the filter and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see light through it, get a new one.
- Put in the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the heating system to keep damage from happening.
Flat filters should be replaced monthly, while pleated filters should last about three months. If you have children or pets, you may have to replace your filter more often.
To make the procedure easier down the line, draw with a permanent marker on your furnace exterior or ductwork to list the airflow direction and filter size.
4. Look at the Condensate Pan
Otherwise known as drain pans, condensate pans catch liquid your heating system pulls from the air.
If liquid is dripping out of your furnace or its pan is overflowing, use these recommendations.
- If your pan has a drain (look for a PVC pipe), check that it isn’t clogged. If it needs to be drained, get a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware shops.
- If your pan uses a pump, check the float switch. If the button is jammed “up” with water in the pan, call us at 309-517-7511, because you will likely have to install a new pump.
5. Watch for Heater Error Codes
If malfunctions persist, peek within your heating system’s plastic window to check the blower motor’s status. Dependent on the model, the light may also be attached on the surface of your heater.
If you see anything except a solid, colored light or flickering green light, call us at 309-517-7511 for HVAC service. Your heater may be emitting an error code that requires professional service.
6. Brush off the Flame Sensor
If your heater attempts to start but shuts off without distributing heat, a dusty flame sensor can be at fault. When this occurs, your furnace will make an attempt to ignite three times before a safety feature shuts it down for around an hour.
If you feel confident with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you have the ability to do personally. Or, one of our heating service professionals has the ability to finish it for you.
If you are confident cleaning the sensor personally, you need:
- A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
- Bit of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
- An unused paper towel
- Disable the heating system’s power through its wall switch or breaker. If your furnace’s gas valve isn’t electric, you will need to turn off the gas in addition.
- Lift off the heating system’s front panel and trace the wire to the flame sensor.
- Take off the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to gently scrub the metal rod.
- Clear the rod with a paper towel.
- Screw the sensor back in.
- Put the furnace doors back on.
- Turn the furnace’s power back on. It could run through a sequence of examinations before continuing regular heating. If your furnace doesn’t turn on, the sensor might require replacement or something else might be creating an issue. If this occurs, contact us at 309-517-7511 for heating and cooling repair assistance.
7. Reignite the Pilot Light
If you have an aging furnace, the pilot light could be out. To reignite it, look for the directions on a sheet on your heating system, or try these steps.
- Locate the toggle below your heater labeled “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
- Push the switch to the “off” position.
- Wait at least five minutes to prevent starting a fire.
- Move the knob to “pilot.”
- Push the “reset” lever as you push the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
- Let go of the “reset” switch once the pilot light is ignited.
If you have followed the guide twice and the pilot light still won’t light or remain ignited, get in touch with us at 309-517-7511 for furnace service.
Double-Check Your Energy Source
Try turning on another gas appliance. If it doesn’t operate, your natural gas delivery could be shut off, or you might have run out of propane.