Monday, September 30, 2013

What! No Heat? - Here’s what to do!

Few things strike more fear in the hearts of mortal men than discovering that there is no heat in the house! A snowy November morning is no time to discover that the heating system in your home is not working.

Did you know that 25% of all HVAC related service visits are unnecessary? There is however a few things you should check before scheduling an expensive service call. Some of these suggestions seem pretty obvious but you’d be surprised how easy it is to overlook them when a problem occurs. Here’s what you need to check before seeking professional help.

Modern thermostats can be a bit complicated, especially if you have one that is programmable. Double check to make sure that your thermostat is set to “Heat” and not “Cool”. I know that might seem silly but someone else in the house may have accidentally changed the setting. Also be sure to check the temperature setting. If its set too low if could become quite cold before the heating system actually turns itself on.

Compare the setting on the thermostat to the actual temperature in the room. If they are very close increase the temperature to turn on the furnace 5 degrees higher than it is currently. Sometimes this will cause the heat to “kick in”.

If you do use a programmable thermostat make sure that the date and time are correct including the “AM’ and “PM” settings. The wrong time/date setting is a very common cause of the heat not turning on when you think it should.

If you suspect that the programming is the problem but aren’t sure how to correct it there is a way to bypass it entirely. On most of today’s programmable thermostats you can manually enter the desired temperature and press the “Hold” button for a few seconds to turn on the heat.

Have you had a recent power outage? If so it’s possible that the battery in your thermostat needs to be replaced and the memory was lost when the power was removed. A new battery will fix that quick enough but you’ll need to reprogram the unit again.

If none of these solutions work it’s time to remove the thermostat cover and take a good look. Clean out any dust and dirt that may have accumulated there and double check that all of the wires are securely connected. Also check to make sure that the thermostat is level and attached firmly to the wall.

If all else fails, there is the possibility that one of the wires leading back to the furnace has been broken. Have you had any work done in the home lately? Did the problem start after the workmen left? If this is the case and you can locate the problem, you can easily reattach the wire. Be sure to use proper wire connectors or at the very least wrap it securely in electrical tape after repairing it. That’s it. Obviously you’ll need to make a call if you can’t fix the problem yourself but following these simple troubleshooting steps can save you a lot of time and money.

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