furnace repair

Lawrence is Getting Cold, but My Furnace Wont Turn On

Fixing your furnace might feel like a daunting job when your heat won’t turn on. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

There are a couple of time-saving, inexpensive fixes you can do by yourself to skip a furnace repair call.

If your furnace won’t turn on, won’t stay on or won’t ignite, try the troubleshooting list below before getting in touch with an HVAC professional.

If you find you need help from an expert and live in Lawrence, Scott Temperature can assist you. We service most makes of heating systems.

If you’re ready for a new heating system, we also offer furnace replacement in Lawrence.

While you’re talking with us, consider a regular furnace maintenance plan from Scott Temperature that could help you avoid repairs in the future. We can tell you how regularly your furnace should be inspected by one of our NATE-certified professionals.

Follow our easy guide below to start troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these steps don’t require mechanical abilities.

Steps for Furnace Troubleshooting

Check the Thermostat

First, make sure your thermostat is signaling your furnace to ignite.

If you have a digital thermostat:

  • Swap out the batteries if the screen is blank. If the digital screen is jumbled, the thermostat may need to be replaced.
  • Make sure the switch is set to “heat” instead of “off” or “cool.”
  • Ensure the program is set to the appropriate day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having trouble overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will force the furnace to start if thermostat programming is causing a problem.
  • Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
Digital Thermostat

If your furnace hasn’t turned on within a couple minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t begin to run, your furnace could be without power.

If you have a smart thermostat—like one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Take a look at the manufacturer’s website for help. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to work, contact us for assistance.

Lennox Smart Thermostat

Examine Breakers and Switches

Next, you will need to check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.

  • Find your house’s main electrical panel. If you aren’t sure where it is, look for a gray metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
  • Make sure your hands and feet are dry before touching the panel or breakers.
  • Locate the breaker labeled “furnace” or “heat,” and make sure it’s switched “on.” If the breaker has tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
  • Using one hand, firmly switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker immediately trips and pops back to “off,” don’t touch it and call a professional from Scott Temperature at 785-269-0465 right away.

It doesn’t matter how old your furnace is or what brand it is, it has at least one standard wall switch located on or near it.

  • Make sure the switch is flipped up in the “on” position. If it was turned off, anticipate your furnace could take up to five minutes to ignite. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, check your basement, garage or utility closet. It could also be in a crawl space or attic.)

Replace Your Furnace’s Air Filter

When it comes to furnace issues, a grungy, clogged air filter is regularly the top culprit.

If your filter is too dirty:

  • Your furnace won’t keep heating your home, or it could overheat from reduced airflow.
  • Your energy bills could be higher because your furnace is turning on more often.
  • Your furnace could break down too soon because a dirty filter causes it to work harder.
  • Your furnace can be disconnected from power if an excessively dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what model of furnace you have, your air filter is located inside the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.

Replacing a furnace filter

To replace your filter:

  • Turn off your furnace.
  • Remove the filter and angle it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, replace it.
  • Put in the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.

Flat filters should be replaced every month, while pleated filters should last about three months. You can also use a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to change your filter more often.

To make the process smoother in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace housing or ductwork to show the airflow direction and filter size.

Examine the Condensate Pan

Commonly known as drain pans, condensate pans capture water your furnace removes from the air.

If water is seeping out of your furnace or its pan has standing water in it, follow these steps.

  • If your pan has a drain (look for a PVC pipe), check that it isn’t full. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can purchase at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan contains a pump, check the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with standing water in the pan, contact Scott Temperature at 785-269-0465, because you will possibly need a new pump.

Peek Inside Your Furnace

If malfunctions continue, look inside your furnace’s plastic window to confirm the status of the blower motor. Depending on the model, the light could also be attached on the outside of your furnace.

If you see anything other than a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call Scott Temperature at 785-269-0465. Your furnace may be giving an error code that is calling for professional help.

Clean the Flame Sensor

If your furnace tries to start but switches off without putting out heat, a dirty flame sensor could be responsible. When this takes place, your furnace will make an attempt to ignite three times before a safety feature powers it down for about an hour.

If you feel comfortable with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you can do by yourself. Or, one of our HVAC experts at Scott Temperature can do it for you.

If you want to clean the sensor yourself, you’ll need:

  • A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
  • Piece of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
  • A dry, clean paper towel

Next:

  • Turn off the furnace’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If your gas valve is not electric, you will need to shut off the gas as well.
  • Take off the furnace’s front panel and trace the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to gently rub the metal rod.
  • Wipe off the rod with a paper towel.
  • Remount the sensor.
  • Replace the furnace doors.
  • Turn the furnace’s power back on. It could go through a sequence of checks before proceeding with usual operation. If your furnace doesn’t ignite, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else could be wrong. If this happens, contact Scott Temperature at 785-269-0465 for assistance.

Relight the Pilot Light

If you are using an older furnace, the pilot light could be turned off. To relight it, find the instructions on a label on your furnace, or follow these steps.

  • Find the switch on the bottom of your furnace labeled “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
  • Turn the switch to the “off” position.
  • Wait at least five minutes to avoid possibly creating a fire.
  • Turn the knob to “pilot.”
  • Hold down the “reset” button as you bring the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
  • Release the “reset” button once the pilot light is lit.

If you have followed the instructions twice and the pilot light still won’t light or stay lit, contact Scott Temperature at 785-269-0465.

Check Your Fuel Source

Try turning on another gas appliance. If it doesn’t work, your natural gas service could be turned off, or you could be out of propane.

Scott Temperature Can Help with Furnace Problems

Followed our troubleshooting guide but your furnace still won’t work?

Call us today at 785-269-0465 or use our online scheduler. We’ll come out and figure out the problem.

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