When winter hits, there's only one thing you want your heater to do. If it's only blowing lukewarm air, or if it's not turning on at all, this doesn't necessarily mean something has gone horribly wrong. Before you start budgeting for major repairs or replacements, make use of these five steps to make sure a minor problem hasn't been overlooked.
1. Check Thermostat Settings
This may seem obvious, but even if air is coming from the vents, you may still need to check your settings. Make sure your fan is set to "auto" rather than "on"; if it's set to "on," air will be blowing from the vents even when your heater is on, making it seem as though your heater just isn't working.
2. Check Your Gas Supply
If your car won't start, it's natural to check if it has fuel. Likewise, you should make sure that your furnace is receiving adequate gas to turn on and run steadily. Make sure that your gas supply hasn't been turned off for any reason. While you're at it, check the gas lines to make sure that there are no leaks or kinks that could be disrupting the flow of gas. Another thing you can do is check to see if the burners ignite and stay on. If your gas supply is steady but the furnace won't light, then you may just need to have a repairman check the thermocouple or flame sensor.
3. Examine Your Heating Unit Parts
Inside your heating unit will be plenty of parts, from fans and screws to belts. You don't need to know exactly how these work, but a cursory check can give you plenty of information. Check the fan belts for signs of tearing, cracking, or breakage, and examine the fans to check for heavy amounts of dirt or any bending. If you have air flow, but not much of it, there's a good chance that the fans or blow motor isn't working as well as it should, and may just need to be cleaned or tuned up.
4. Have Your Ductwork Checked
There is the possibility that your heater is working fine, but that hot air just isn't making it to your vents. This can happen when there are any holes or breaks in your ductwork, letting hot air escape before it enters your house. You can examine some of this yourself in your attic by feeling for any escaping air while the heater is running, but you should also call a professional if you suspect this may be the cause.
5. Make Sure All Parts Are Closed And Secure
Heating units come with a lot of safety devices to make sure that the unit won't turn on if something is out of place. For this reason, give your unit a once-over to make sure that everything is where it belongs and all panels are closed. When in doubt, your manual should tell you how everything should look when the unit is not open for maintenance. A repairman can also help check for anything you may have missed, and can help teach you what to look for if this problem ever happens again.
6. Check Your Thermostat Battery
Sometimes it all comes down to a low or dead battery. Some thermostats may not warn you before the battery dies, so just to be sure, replace the thermostat battery with a fresh one, then try inputting your heater's settings. Give it a few minutes to turn on just in case you have to input your settings from scratch.
For more information, talk to a professional like Economy Air Systems Inc.