Furnace Repair Checklist
1. Look at the Thermostat
First, make sure your thermostat is instructing your heater to ignite.
- Swap out the batteries if the screen is not displaying anything. If the digital monitor is messed up, the thermostat may need to be changed.
- Ensure the control is set to “heat” instead of “off” or “cool.”
- Ensure the program is showing the appropriate day and time and is scheduled to “run.” If you’re having problems turning off the schedule, regulate 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 an issue.
- Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the temperature of the room.
If your heat hasn’t started within a few minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t start, your heating system could be without power.
If you utilize a smart thermostat—such as one designed by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting will depend on your model. Refer to the manufacturer’s website for help. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to operate, call us at 509-284-4265 for heating and cooling service.
2. Check Breakers and Switches
Next, check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.
- Locate your main electrical panel. If you have no idea where it is, keep an eye out for a gray metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
- Ensure your hands and feet aren’t wet prior to opening the panel or breakers.
- Find the breaker titled “furnace” or “heat,” and ensure it’s moved to “on.” If you find that the breaker tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” spot.
- Moving one hand, quickly switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker instantly trips and pops back to “off,” don't try to reset it and contact an expert from Lakeside Heating & Air at 509-284-4265 immediately.
Regardless of your furnace’s age or brand, it has at least one regular wall switch positioned on or close to it.
- Ensure the lever is facing up in the “on” position. If it was shut off, anticipate your furnace could take up to five minutes to turn on. (If you’re unaware of where to locate your furnace, look in your basement, garage or utility closet. It might also be in a crawl space or attic.)
3. Buy a New Air Filter
When it comes to heater problems, a filthy, blocked air filter is frequently to blame.
If your filter is too dirty:
- Your furnace won’t stay on, or it might overheat from reduced airflow.
- Your utility bills might go up because your heating system is operating too often.
- Your furnace may stop working prematurely since a filthy filter forces it to work harder.
- Your heating may be disconnected from power if an overly dirty filter results in a tripped breaker.
Based on what type of furnace you own, your air filter will be within the blower compartment of your heating system, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.
To put in a new filter:
- Cut the power to your heater.
- Remove the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, replace it.
- Insert the new filter with the arrow motioning toward the heater to avoid damage.
Flat filters ought to be replaced once a month, while pleated filters should last about three months. If you have children or pets, you might have to change your filter sooner.
To make changing your filter easier down the road, write with a permanent writing tool on your heater exterior or ductwork to indicate the airflow direction and filter size.
4. Examine the Condensate Pan
Otherwise known as drain pans, condensate pans catch liquid your furnace draws from the air.
If liquid is leaking from within your heater or its pan is overflowing, follow these steps.
- If your pan has a drain (look for a PVC pipe), double-check that it’s clear. If it requires draining, drop in a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware stores.
- If your pan uses a pump, take a look at the float switch. If the lever is jammed “up” with water in the pan, contact us at 509-284-4265, because you will possibly need a new pump.
5. Watch for Heater Error Codes
If faults keep on happening, look at your heating system’s plastic window to verify the blower motor’s status. Dependent on the brand, the light may also be fixed on the surface of your furnace.
If you notice anything except a solid, colored light or flickering green light, call us at 509-284-4265 for HVAC service. Your heater may be giving an error code that needs professional assistance.
6. Scrub the Flame Sensor
If your heater tries to operate but shuts off without distributing warm air, a dusty flame sensor can be to blame. When this happens, your heating system will try to start three times before a safety device turns it off for approximately an hour.
If you feel okay with removing the panels from your heater, gently scrubbing your flame sensor is a job you can do on your own. Or, one of our heating service specialists has the ability to do it for you.
If you are confident cleaning the sensor yourself, you should have:
- A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
- Piece of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
- A dry, clean paper towel
As the next step:
- Turn off the heating system’s power through its wall switch or breaker. If you don’t have an electric gas valve, you will need to shut off the gas along with it.
- Take off the heater’s front panel and trace the wire to the flame sensor.
- Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to carefully scrub the metal rod.
- Clean the rod with a paper towel.
- Remount the sensor.
- Put the furnace doors back on.
- Turn the furnace’s power back on. It might run through a set of tests before proceeding with normal heating. If your heater doesn’t turn on, the sensor could have to be replaced or something else might be causing a problem. If this happens, call us at 509-284-4265 for heating and cooling repair support.
7. Reignite the Pilot Light
If you own an aging furnace, the pilot light could be out. To light it, find the instructions on a label on your heater, or follow these guidelines.
- Find the toggle beneath your furnace labeled “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
- Turn the switch to the “off” position.
- Take a break for at least five minutes to limit the possibility for creating a fire.
- Push the knob to “pilot.”
- Press the “reset” switch as you bring the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
- Release the “reset” lever once the pilot light is burning.
If you have tried the list twice and the pilot light still won’t ignite or remain lit, get in touch with us at 509-284-4265 for furnace service.
Double-Check Your Energy Supply
Try using another gas appliance. If it doesn’t operate, your natural gas service could be shut off, or you may have run out of propane.