That time of year is here again—it’s time to start using our heaters on a regular basis for a few months or more.
Let’s say you get up one morning though, and your furnace isn’t running—so you go to the thermostat and turn up the heat. You wait … and nothing happens. You panic. Is your furnace completely broken down? Do you need a new one?
We’ll be honest, if you have an older system and/or you have skipped your maintenance appointment, this is a possibility. However, there could be a number of reasons a furnace would fail to startup or turn on for another cycle. Yes, you should call for professional heating services in Ashburn when this occurs, but in the meantime we’ve shared some information below on what might be going on.
Check the Circuit Breaker
The first place to check when your furnace isn’t showing any signs of powering on is your electrical panel. Even a gas furnace has electrical components, including most modern ignition systems, so a lack of electrical power will stop the fan from powering on and the system from starting up.
Incorrect Thermostat Settings
We definitely understand how quickly panic can set in when it’s freezing in your home and your furnace doesn’t seem to be working. But first, check your thermostat. Someone in your home might have accidentally (or intentionally, if they enjoy being cold!) put your thermostat into cooling mode.
Or, with a programmable or smart thermostat, vacation settings might have been activated. Lastly, perhaps the thermostat got turned off entirely or has a wiring problem. (Allow us to check for this, please!)
Are you sure the furnace isn’t starting up at all? We have heard of homeowners setting the thermostat, waiting a minute to notice a response, then calling technicians because they thought the furnace was broken.
But, it could be a standard time delay that occurs with most furnaces. It’s worth noting that if this is the case, you’ll notice this delayed start up right after furnace installation. If it’s a new problem, then it of course warrants a call to our team.
With these delayed start furnaces, though, you won’t hear the fans begin to run the moment you turn on the thermostat. The heat exchangers have to do their job and heat up to warm the air before the fan turns on. The flame sensor also has to detect a flame to keep the furnace running. So, it will take a minute or two.
Safety Switch Malfunction
This is a more serious problem. One potential cause of furnace failure is due to a malfunctioning safety switch—or rather, a safety switch that is working just fine! Safety switches in your furnace are there to stop the system from running when there is a safety risk happening.
Ignition or Motor Failure
Another fairly common problem with older furnaces is the ignition switch. Electric ignition systems can fail to start for a number of reasons that only a professional heating technician should inspect and address. One last possibility is a failed motor. Electrical problems like this will be hard for the average homeowner to detect or manage, so we definitely recommend giving our pros a call!