Guide to Heating and Plumbing

Guide to Heating and Plumbing

Do-it-yourself Furnace Troubleshooting
06.04.2016 19:25

Learn furnace troubleshooting that you can DIY in times of furnace distress.

Even if your furnace is acting up, it’s not necessary to contact a professional furnace technician right away. You can fix a lot of furnace problems by doing some simple and practical furnace troubleshooting steps.

Before starting, get the owner’s manual for your furnace and go through its principal components, so you know what you are dealing with. Also, prepare your materials ahead of time so you don’t go scrambling for them once you’ve already started your DIY furnace troubleshooting. Don’t worry because you’ll only likely need a screwdriver and a flashlight. Now, you are ready to test your DIY skills.

Cover important furnace parts –make sure you check that your gas service is functional. Locate your gas company’s meter and inspect the gas valve. Next, check your furnace’s shut-off valve.

Check that you have set the thermostat to heat. Many homeowners forget this, but it is important to do so. Increase the temperature by several degrees if the setting on your thermostat is lower than that of the room temperature. Wait for it to turn on.

Also, make sure the power switch of the furnace is on.

Inspect the ignition source or the pilot light. Grab your owner’s manual and find out how to relight an unlit pilot light. Meanwhile, you’ll often come across adjustment screws if you have a newer furnace model.

Check the unit’s circuit breaker. Reset a tripped circuit breaker by turning it off all the way and then press it once more.

Press your furnace’s reset button. Wait 30 minutes before pressing it again if it does not turn on the first time.

DIY furnace troubleshooting for a furnace that is not heating –take off the filter and try holding it up against the light. If no more light can pass through the filter, throw it away and replace it with a new one. Clogged filters can render your furnace inefficient making it prone to overheating and eventual breakdowns. Inspect your home registers to ensure all of them are open and nothing is blocking its way.

DIY furnace troubleshooting for a noisy furnace - rattling noises are often caused by loose panels. Simply tighten the screws if the cover is loose.

Meanwhile, squealing noises can be heard from belts connecting the fan and the motor. To fix this issue, realign the belt. Contact a professional to replace worn belts.

Motor bearing problems can cause grinding noises. Turn off the furnace and contact an expert furnace technician ASAP.

DIY furnace troubleshooting for furnaces that turns on and off constantly–a lot of factors can cause this to happen. It can be a thermostat that needs recalibration or replacement to match your system’s size. For example, a very big unit will often turn on and off since it can easily match the thermostat’s setting. Get rid of this factor by taking a closer look at your fan configuration. Set it to “auto” to make sure it runs long enough to coincide with your thermostat’s setting.

Contact a furnace expert –if all your DIY furnace troubleshooting efforts were to no avail, it is probably the right time to contact a furnace expert right away. Or, your furnace may be up for its yearly maintenance. Standard furnace maintenance often involves inspections of every part of the system. Then, clean and oil important moving parts. Set the burner to its proper ignition as well as combustion. Tighten electrical connections. Check the condensate drain, chimney and flue. Test the fan belt’s condition. Lastly, run a carbon monoxide test.

If you’re confident enough that you can pull off a DIY furnace troubleshooting, go ahead and do it. But if you feel that your limited knowledge and skills are not a match for the furnace problem at hand, don’t hesitate in calling a professional to intervene and fix the problem for you. Safety is still of high importance more than anything else. More tips at

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