Furnace not producing heat? Furnace not turning on

The cold winter can be brutal to us, our homes, and our usually reliable heating systems. There are many times when we wonder if our furnace will make it through another night.

Although most companies offer a 24/7 service in a furnace emergency, it is helpful for homeowners to know a few basic troubleshooting steps to avoid calling a professional HVAC contractor. Here are some common reasons why your furnace is not producing heat and some simple DIY fixes.

The furnace is Not Turning On

A furnace not producing heat on a cold night can potentially endanger your home if not immediately addressed. Before calling an HVAC pro, here are some simple DIY fixes:

  • Thermostat – Check that the switch is on and the set temperature is correct. If yes to both, you may have a faulty thermostat.
  • Power – Most houses usually have a separate breaker for their major appliances. So there are instances when the breaker trips. Ensure that the power to the furnace is on. If yes, check the breaker for burn marks on the control panel. Burn marks may be a sign of an internal electrical short.
  • Blower Motor – Furnaces are usually designed with a window passage. If a green light is flashing through the window passage, the blower motor is working fine. However, if there is no light or the light is flashing red, there is an issue with the motor blower.
  • Pilot Light – If the pilot light is constantly going out, the cause could be dirt buildup or even incorrect positioning. 

If unsure, contact a furnace expert to assess your heating system.

The Furnace is Not Producing Heat

There are three main issues tied to no heat – faulty thermostat, improperly installed and aligned pilot light, and a dirty filter that blocks airflow. You can quickly address all three with some DIY fixes. However, if you find any of these tasks a little too complicated, seek help from a professional.

Ducts are Emitting Smoke

A potentially serious issue is when smoke or black clouds emanate from your ducts.  The dark smoke sometimes happens when you turn on the furnace for the first time after a long summer break. The system is burning up built-up dust and sediment. It should only last a few minutes.  However, if the black smoke continues, the cause could be circuit issues or fried switches. It is essential to be watchful of black smoke since it could cause a fire.

Frequent Cycling On and Off

A heating system that constantly turns on and off is not only annoying; it could also spike up your utility bills. You can troubleshoot this concern by checking the filter. A clogged filter prevents proper airflow. It also triggers the thermostat to signal the furnace to run. If the issue persists after changing the filter, there could be a problem with the thermostat’s electrical connection itself. Homeowners can replace both. However, if the issue is due to a corrupted blower motor, contact an HVAC professional.

High Energy Bills

Although unusually high energy bills don’t necessarily fall under an emergency, it is a sign of a severe issue with your heating system. You could be losing heat through gaps or cracks in the wall, poor insulation, open windows, and others. During heat loss, the heating system works harder to provide additional heat. In addition, a clogged filter can cause the heating system to work harder than it should. 

Conclusion: Furnace Not Producing Heat

Homeowners can keep their heating system running smoothly with regular furnace maintenance. Part of the maintenance is changing the filters every three months. Regular maintenance extends the life of your heating system. Always be on the lookout for any of these problems and call for professional help as needed. 

Simple DIY troubleshooting steps can fix some furnace emergencies. On the other hand, there are instances when you require professional help to repair or replace the furnace.