furnace repair

Menomonie and western Wisconsin is Getting Cold, but My Furnace Wont Turn On

Figuring out a furnace-related problem might feel like an overwhelming chore when your heat won’t work. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

There are a few quick, inexpensive fixes you can do on your own to prevent 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 calling an HVAC professional.

If you find you need help from someone who is experienced and live in Menomonie and western Wisconsin, Halverson Brothers Inc can assist you. We work on most makes of heating systems.

If you need a new heating system, we also offer furnace replacement in Menomonie and western Wisconsin.

While you’re chatting with us, think about a routine furnace maintenance plan from Halverson Brothers Inc that could help you avoid problems in the future. We can tell you how regularly your furnace should be examined by one of our NATE-certified experts.

Go through our easy guide below to get started on troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these steps don’t require mechanical abilities.

Steps for Furnace Troubleshooting

Check the Thermostat

To begin, make sure your thermostat is instructing 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 displaying the correct day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having a hard time overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will force the furnace to ignite if thermostat programming is causing an issue.
  • Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
Digital Thermostat

If your furnace hasn’t started within a couple minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t start, 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. Check 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.

  • Look for your house’s main electrical panel. If you aren’t sure where it is, search 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.
  • Find 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 contact a professional from Halverson Brothers Inc at 715-352-4052 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 close to it.

  • Make sure the switch is flipped up in the “on” position. If it was turned off, it could take your furnace up to five minutes to turn on. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, take a look at 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 offender.

If your filter is too dirty:

  • Your furnace won’t keep heating your home, or it could overheat from limited airflow.
  • Your energy bills could be higher because your furnace is turning on more than it should.
  • Your furnace could fail too soon because a dirty filter causes it to work overtime.
  • Your furnace can lose power if an extremely dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what type of furnace you use, your air filter can be found 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.
  • Install the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.

Flat filters should be replaced once a 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 go more quickly in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace housing or ductwork to indicate the airflow direction and filter size.

Examine the Condensate Pan

Commonly known as drain pans, condensate pans catch water your furnace pulls from the air.

If water is dripping 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 clogged. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan contains a pump, inspect the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with water in the pan, contact Halverson Brothers Inc at 715-352-4052, because you will likely need a new pump.

Peek Inside Your Furnace

If malfunctions persist, peek inside your furnace’s plastic window to verify the status of the blower motor. Depending on the model, the light could also be fixed on the outside of your furnace.

If you see anything other than a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call Halverson Brothers Inc at 715-352-4052. Your furnace may be giving an error code that is calling for professional assistance.

Clean the Flame Sensor

If your furnace tries to start but switches off without distributing heat, a dirty flame sensor could be responsible. When this happens, your furnace will try to start three times before a safety feature turns it off for about an hour.

If you feel comfortable with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you can do on your own. Or, one of our HVAC specialists at Halverson Brothers Inc 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.
  • Remove the furnace’s front panel and follow 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 may run through a set of checks before resuming normal operation. If your furnace doesn’t turn on, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else could be wrong. If this happens, get in touch with Halverson Brothers Inc at 715-352-4052 for assistance.

Relight the Pilot Light

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

  • Look for 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.”
  • Press 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, call Halverson Brothers Inc at 715-352-4052.

Check Your Fuel Source

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

Halverson Brothers Inc Can Help with Furnace Problems

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

Call us today at 715-352-4052 or use our online scheduler. We’ll come out and figure out the problem.

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