Things to Do Before You Call Your Heating Contractor

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Things to Do Before You Call Your Heating Contractor

Technician reading heating meter - Williams Comfort Air Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & More

This holiday season, a broken heating system is the last thing you want to deal with! If you are hosting holiday parties or family for an extended stay, or simply taking a staycation at home yourself, don’t panic! Our NATE-certified HVAC technicians share heating system troubleshooting steps to help you resolve certain system issues without the wait and expense associated with a service call.

Williams Comfort Air is available 24/7 to tend to your emergency heating repair needs. Should heating system troubleshooting not resolve your issue, do not hesitate to give us a call. It doesn’t matter if it’s on a holiday, weekend, or overnight – we are here to help you out anytime a problem arises.

Heating System Troubleshooting by Issue

Our NATE-certified HVAC technicians break down heating system troubleshooting by common issues, so you know exactly what steps to take depending on the heating problem that plagues your Indianapolis area home.

Not Enough Heat

Is your heating system on but your rooms just do not stay warm enough? If your furnace or heat pump does not produce enough heat, a clogged filter is often to blame. Heating system troubleshooting for this issue starts with the filter.

  1. Find your filter compartment and remove access panels if needed.
  2. Slide the filter out and examine. If its surface is covered in debris, and no light shines through when held to a light source, it’s time to change it.
  3. Replace with a new filter. Insert the new filter in the correct direction, noted by the markings on the filter’s frame.
  4. Replace access panels if needed.

Avoid this problem in the future when you stay diligent about filter monitoring in the wintertime. It’s common for air filters to clog up faster in the winter, especially during periods of extreme cold temperatures, because your heating system runs more frequently. As more air cycles through, there is more opportunity to remove contaminants and filters may not last as long as they do during mild months. Check your filter once a month to monitor condition and replace as needed.

If your home does not seem to properly heat up, the problem may not be with your heating system at all, but with your vents. When vents are blocked, rooms do not receive adequate heat and feel much colder than you desire. After filter checks, heating system troubleshooting moves on to vent checks.

  1. Walk through each room of your home and inspect all floor and ceiling registers as well as return air vents.
  2. Make sure louvers on vents are set open. If vent louvers are broken in a closed or partially closed, replace the register.
  3. Remove any rugs, carpeting, furniture, or other items that are in front of or over the register or vent to allow free air movement from ducts into your living areas.

No Air from Heating System

If your furnace or heat pump comes on and runs but no air comes from the vents inside your home, a problem with the blower motor is likely. Heating system troubleshooting walks you through some simple steps to take with your blower motor.

  1. Turn off power to the heating system.
  2. Remove the access door to the blower compartment.
  3. Check for debris that could be clogging the blower and clear away if necessary.
  4. Look at the fan belt – if it has slipped or broken, the blower is unable to run. Replace a slipped fan belt around the wheels. If the belt has broken, you may feel comfortable replacing this component yourself with a new fan belt from your local hardware store – if you don’t, this is a common repair our technicians are happy to assist you with.

Cold Air from Vents

If your heating system runs but the air from your vents is chilly, there are multiple potential sources of this issue. Heating system troubleshooting involves a few different checks to determine the source of the problem and solve it.

  • Thermostat fan settings. Make sure the fan settings of your thermostat are set to AUTO instead of ON. If the ON setting is chosen, the blower motor runs all the time, regardless of whether or not the heating system runs. When the heating system is not in a cycle, the blower pushes out cold air. You want to select the AUTO setting, so the blower only runs during a heating cycle.
  • Air filter. If the filter is too dirty, it may restrict airflow beyond not enough heat to no heat. Follow the heating system troubleshooting steps outlined above to check and change your filter.
  • Pilot light. If you have an older gas furnace, it may use a pilot light for system ignition. If the pilot light goes out, the furnace does not create heat and blows cold air. Turn off the gas supply, allow the area to clear for 15 minutes, then follow the owner’s manual instructions to relight the pilot – do not attempt to do so if you still smell gas. If the pilot light does not relight or stay lit, you need professional heating repair.
  • Fuel source. For all types of heating systems, they need to have adequate fuel to create heat. Make sure gas valves are open for natural gas furnaces. For oil or liquid propane furnaces, make sure the fuel tank is sufficiently filled and that supply line valves are opened – you may need to schedule a tank fill.
  • Heat pump ice. If the heat pump’s coils have iced over, the heat transfer process is impeded, and the home does not receive proper heating. The defrost cycle is often inadequate to melt heavy ice. Turn off power to the heat pump and gently remove ice from the unit. Clear away snow and debris built up around the outdoor unit. Resolve any gutter leaks above that allow water to drip down and freeze on the unit.

Heating System Doesn’t Shut Off

If your heating system does not shut off and constantly runs, not only does your home become uncomfortable, much energy is wasted. For this issue, heating system troubleshooting starts with thermostat fan settings, as mentioned above. If the blower is constantly running, some homeowners mistake this for the heating system constantly running. Verify fan settings then move on to heating system troubleshooting steps for your thermostat.

Thermostat issues interfere with the unit’s communication with your heating system. Thermostat power issues may cause the heating system to continuously run. 

  • Check the thermostat display – if it does not turn on, a power issue is likely.
  • Remove old batteries and replace them with fresh ones.
  • For hardwired thermostats, check the home’s electrical panel. Locate the circuit that the thermostat is on and check its breaker or fuse. Reset the breaker if it has tripped and replace the fuse if necessary.

After you verify thermostat power, if the thermostat still does not come on, it likely needs to be replaced. Contact us for thermostat replacement and get a new unit that offers the features and energy savings you want, installed by professionals to ensure flawless performance and communication with your heating system.

Heating System Doesn’t Turn On

Heating system troubleshooting when your furnace or heat pump does not come on involves checks of multiple different components. Many issues are possible that stop the system from starting.

  • Thermostat. Check thermostat power, following the steps mentioned above. Verify HEAT mode is selected, not COOL. Check all programming and verify the correct date and time. Ensure VACATION or HOLD modes are not activated – programming issues prevent the heating system from running when you expect.
  • Heating system power. Check the electrical panel and verify breakers are correctly set and fuses in good condition for the circuits that operate your heating equipment. Check the physical ON/OFF switches on your furnace, air handler, and exterior heat pump to ensure they are set to ON.
  • Access panels. In some systems, removed or loose access panels prevent system operation as a safety measure. Inspect interior heating system equipment and secure all access panels.
  • Air filter. Clogged air filters restrict airflow and lead to overheating, which causes the system to shut down and not turn on when temperatures are too high. Follow the above instructions to replace a dirty filter, and allow the system to cool down. If the heating system does not begin again, you may need heating repairs.

Tried Heating System Troubleshooting? 

If you tried the heating system troubleshooting steps above and were unable to resolve the system issue you face, it’s time to call for professional repairs. Heating system troubleshooting is often helpful to correct simple system issues, which allows homeowners to avoid a prolonged system outage as well as the cost of repair service – but unfortunately, not all issues are able to be resolved by heating system troubleshooting.

When you need heating repairs, call Williams Comfort Air. Our NATE-certified heating technicians are available 24/7 to tend to your needs this holiday season. Count on us for fast and reliable repairs that restore comfort and joy at home this time of year. Call us today to schedule heating repairs.

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