The last thing you want on a cold winter’s night in Buckeye, AZ, is a malfunctioning heating system. If your heating system will not turn on, you might feel a sense of frustration or panic. Calm down, the issue might be something simple. To troubleshoot the cause, you can do the following 10 things right now.
1. Check Your Thermostat
If your heating system will not turn on, the first thing you should do is check the thermostat. The thermostat’s battery may have gone bad, causing it to power off. If your thermostat is hardwired, a power surge, brownout, or brief power outage may have caused the thermostat to lose its settings. If you have a programmable thermostat, it could have been turned off or reset. Smart thermostats may have lost their Wi-Fi connection, which impedes their ability to communicate with your heating system. If you have an old manual thermostat that will not respond, it is possible that a wire has come loose or failed. Replacing old manual thermostats with a new programmable or smart thermostat is an easy way to save money and add convenience to your daily life. Thermostat problems are common, and they’re usually a low-cost and easy fix.
2. Inspect Your Circuit Breaker
If your thermostat is fine, the next thing you should do is inspect your circuit breaker. your heating system should be on its own circuit. The breaker for the heating system should be labeled. If the breaker has tripped, turn off the switch on your heating system. Reset the breaker, then turn on the heating system’s power. If the breaker trips again, you will need a prompt heating system repair. If the breaker was fine, you will need to do more troubleshooting.
3. Make Sure the Heating System Is On
If you recently had a maintenance visit done for your heating system, it’s possible that the technician turned it off. Someone may have accidentally flipped the power switch to the heating system while moving items or cleaning. Check that the heating system is turned on. If you have a heat pump, verify that it is set to heat rather than cool or automatic.
4. Check the Pilot Light
If you have a furnace, it will not turn on if the pilot light is out. A faulty or dirty pilot light or sensor may cause this problem. If you do not feel comfortable trying to relight the pilot light yourself, call our technicians for assistance. We offer 24/7 on-call technicians for heating system emergencies.
5. Gas Supply Is Turned Off
If you have a gas-powered furnace, it needs a supply of natural gas to initiate a heating cycle. Take a look at the gas supply valve. Make sure that it is in the “on” position. Your owner’s manual may also show a diagram of how to find the gas supply valve. You can also look at the manufacturer’s website for a diagram of your furnace and where the gas supply valve is located. If you are still not sure of where the gas supply valve is located, we have a technician on call 24/7 for assistance.
6. Replace the Filter
A dirty air filter impedes airflow. If the filter is completely obstructed, the heating system may end up overheating. If a furnace’s heat exchanger gets too hot, its safety sensors will stop it from cycling. For a heat pump, the system will also turn off if its coils get too hot. When your home has an electric furnace, the system may also automatically power off. A dirty air filter is an easy problem to find and fix. Begin by turning off the power to your heating system. Locate the air filter’s housing. You might need a screwdriver to open the housing door. Slide the filter out. If the filter is more than three months old, dispose of it. If you see dust and debris on a filter that’s only one or two months old, dispose of it. Insert a new, clean filter into the chamber. Make sure the new filter is in the correct orientation. Close the housing door and restart your heating system.
7. Check the Temperature Setting
Your heating system will not start a cycle if the air temperature in your home is higher than the temperature you set on the thermostat. For example, if your home’s air temperature is a toasty 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and you set the thermostat to 75 degrees, the heating system will not turn on. Check the temperature you programmed into the thermostat. Another person may have changed the heating settings, or an algorithm or software update in a programmable or smart thermostat may have cleared your schedule. Try adjusting the temperature on the thermostat to see if it triggers a heating cycle. If it does not, and the heating system has power and a clean filter, a service call is in order.
8. Check the Flame Sensor
Check the flame sensor. A lack of maintenance may cause your furnace’s flame sensor to be dirty. When the flame sensor is blocked, the furnace will not turn on. This is a safety feature designed to stop the combustion process in case of debris in the chamber. Ash, dust, or dirt may cover the flame sensor. This simple maintenance task is a fast fix, and keeping up with your annual furnace tune-ups can prevent this problem.
9. Look for Ice or Water
In a heat pump, an incorrect refrigerant charge will stop the system from cycling. During a fall maintenance visit, a professional technician will measure the refrigerant charge. This is not something you can or should do yourself. The chemical refrigerant is a hazardous material, and only technicians licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency should measure and handle it. Too little refrigerant will cause your heat pump to power off. Too much refrigerant is also a problem. It will trigger the system’s high-pressure limit switch. If you hear a hissing sound coming from your heat pump, it could have an active refrigerant leak. You may also see a puddle of water or the formation of ice on the unit. These are also signs of an improper refrigerant level.
10. Listen for Buzzing
Heat pumps and gas furnaces use a capacitor in the blower. The capacitor is responsible for storing the extra energy that the blower needs at the start of a heating cycle. The capacitor has a tolerance level. If your heating system starts short cycling, that tolerance level may be reached. Capacitors can also go bad after years of use. Failing capacitors make a buzzing sound. During a tune-up, our technician checks the capacitor’s tolerance. It is best to replace the capacitor before it fails because a failed capacitor could cause a blown motor, which is an expensive heating system repair.
Sun City Mechanical is your trusted source for heating system repairs in Buckeye. We’re also available for affordable heating and AC installations and tune-ups. Our plumbers offer quality plumbing services for your home. For additional details about what you should do if your heating system won’t turn on, give us a call at Sun City Mechanical.