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Heater Troubleshooting

No homeowner likes to waste money on unnecessary repairs.  And if you call someone to come out to your home to fix your broken furnace and it turns out all you needed to do was clean the coils you're going to be kicking yourself the whole time you're writing the check.  Save yourself a little time and aggravation by using these heater troubleshooting tips before you call in a technician.

If your furnace isn't coming on at all, the first place to look is the thermostat.  Make sure it's turned on and set the temperature at least 5 degrees above the ambient air temperature.  Then, turn the fan on. 

If that doesn't work check the circuit breaker and the on/off switches on your furnace and heat pump to make sure everything is turned on and connected properly.

Next, check your filters.  You should change your furnace filter every month, whether you think it needs it or not.  A dirty filter will put stress on the whole system and could cause it to shut down altogether.

If the furnace is coming on but your house is still cold, check the vents to see if they're blocked or closed and check your ductwork to make sure there are no leaks or breaks in the line. 

Furnace running but it won't shut off?  Check your vents.  If you've closed off vents to try to save energy it may be that the thermostat is so close to those rooms that it's registering that cold air and it's keeping the furnace running to try to reach the temperature you've selected.  Instead of saving energy by closing when you close off rooms you could actually be wasting it.

Your furnace also might be running constantly because you have a defective thermostat.  Try setting the temperature to at least 5 degrees lower than the ambient room temperature to see if the furnace shuts off.

If you're hearing noises try checking the condenser coils on the heat pump outside.  Noise is often a sign that the coils are icing up do to overheating.  Shut your furnace off for a couple of hours to give everything a chance to thaw out.  If you still have problems when you turn it back on you may have a leak somewhere in the coils, in which case you'll need to call a technician.

It's also a good idea to regularly check those condenser coils for dirt and debris.  Since your heat pump is located outside there's a good chance your problems are just being cause by a pile of leaves or grass clippings.  Make sure you keep the area around your heat pump clear at all times.

A lot of the common problems associated with heating systems can be avoided with a simple, regular maintenance routine.  Change your filters every month, keep coils clean and dust free, make sure there's nothing blocking vents and intakes, and you won't even have to worry about these heating troubleshooting tips.

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