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Furnace Troubleshooting | DIY vs When to Call the Pros

Dog nose under blanket

Imagine waking up in a shiver in the dead of winter.  You’ve set your thermostat to a comfortable 68 degrees yet there’s no warm air coming through your vents and the temperature continues to plummet.  Suddenly it hits you…NO HEAT!

So, what do you? If you’re having a hard time thinking of the right answer, we’re here to help.  Before running to call the Pyramid pros in a panic, let’s brush up on your HVAC knowledge with our furnace troubleshooting tips.

  •  Check Your Thermostat:

Are the batteries low/dead? Is your thermostat set to heat?
It may seem obvious, but taking a close look at your thermostat to ensure it is on the right setting can eliminate the issue immediately so it’s always the best place to start.  If you suspect the batteries are low, change them out.  Also, make sure that the temperature is set higher than the current temperature of the room.

  •  Check Your Vents:

Are all your vents/registers in the open position? Is anything obstructing/blocking your vents?
Take a walk to each room of your home and be sure there’s no furniture, curtains, rugs or anything else covering your vents. Blocked vents cannot only restrict airflow but can cause duct leaks and premature breakdowns from excessive air pressure.

  •  Check Your Air Filter:

Have you changed your filter lately?
Unfortunately, filter-related issues are some of the most common causes of premature system failures. A clogged filter can wreak havoc on your system because it puts out less airflow and can greatly reduce efficiency. Newer, more efficient model units are more sensitive and will often shut down before causing more issues. If your filter is clogged, always replace it and never reuse it. Filters have different life spans. If you are unsure of how often you should be changing your filter, give Pyramid a call. 

  •  Check Your Breaker:

Is your furnace circuit thrown in the “on” position? Maybe you blew a fuse?
Go to your home’s breaker panel. Check to see if your furnace circuit is in the “off” or middle position. If you’re having trouble identifying which is one is the furnace, look for any switch that may be in a different position than all the others. Make sure if you do see an issue, you throw the switch all the way off then back on.

  •  Check Your Condensate Line:

Is the condensate drain pipe frozen?
There is condensation that needs to be drained from your furnace and often times this drains to the outside. Look for a small white pipe and see if the termination on the outside of the house is frozen, blocking the path for water to drain. If you see that it is frozen, you can take a kettle of hot water and pour it over the pipe until the ice melts.

If you tried all of the above and you still have no heat, it’s time to contact the Pyramid experts to see if there may be a more serious issue. Pyramid offers 24/7 emergency service so never hesitate to give us a call, even if it’s the middle of the night.

When to Leave it to the Experts:

  • You smell gas: If you smell rotten eggs or anything reminiscent of sulfur leave the area immediately and call NW Natural’s 24-hour emergency line at 800-882-3377.
  • Your CO detector goes off: If there is a chance of a carbon monoxide leak, turn your furnace off, leave your home and contact Pyramid right away.
  • There is water leaking: If you see water collecting near or around your furnace this could be a sign of a condensation leak that could cause considerable water damage to your home.
  • Your system is short-cycling: If your furnace is turning off and on repeatedly, then a qualified technician is needed to diagnose the issue.
  • You hear loud noises: If you hear loud noises coming from your furnace, there may be a loose/damaged part that requires immediate repair.  It is best to get this diagnosed by a professional as you may cause further damage by continuing to run the furnace.

Staying Warm Until the Experts Arrive:

Still no heat? Time to call the Pyramid experts! Now that you’ve concluded it’s best to have a professional inspect your system and they cleared that it is safe to stay at your home (no carbon monoxide or gas leaks), try out some of these tips to keep you warm while you wait:

  • Utilize Other Heat Sources: Have a fireplace? Light it.  Space heater? Turn it on.
  • Prevent Drafts: Make sure all windows and doors are completely shut. If you don’t have weather stripping, block the gaps with towels.
  • Layer Up: Put on extra layers of clothing and grab warm blankets.  Almost 40 percent of your body heat escapes from your head so don’t forget a hat!

If you have any questions regarding your system or would like to schedule a service, give us a call anytime at (503) 783-8488 or visit our website