How do you diagnose a heater problem?

radiator heat adjustment

Identify heater issues

Winter is close to being over in the Virginia area, spring is knocking on the door. So it wouldn’t be any surprise for the heater to quit working on one of the last cold nights of the winter would it? It shouldn’t be any surprise to a homeowner for that one last round of cold weather to need heating repair. That’s just as well though, because if didn’t happen now, you may go all summer and forget about it. 

Calling a heat repair company now for you heating repair is good timing. Most of those companies also do air conditioning repair and they are going to be getting booked up soon. Still, you have to be asking to yourself aloud right now, “Why is the heater not working in my house?”, and there could be a few different reasons. Before you call for professional heat repair assistance, try these troubleshooting tips first: 

1. Check the thermostat.

You may think this is a “Really? Serious?” moment, but a lot of professional heating repair technicians have arrived on a job site only to find that the thermostat was turned off or not set at the right setting. If you have a programmable thermostat, it can be complicated and confusing to figure out, but it is worth checking it and making sure before you make that service call.  

2. Change the air filter.

An air filter that is clogged and dirty will keep a heater from working, this is why experts recommend changing the filter every 30 days. When the air can’t circulate through the filter, it can cause the heat exchange to overheat and shut down. 

3. Is the gas on?

Checking the electric and gas source is just like checking the thermostat. You would think these are obvious things, but again, heating repair technicians arrive and see that the electric breaker was off, or the gas wasn’t on at the pilot light. Save yourself a service call and check both the electric and gas power. 

4. Clean the chimney flue.

The chimney flue is a attraction for birds and debris often blows off from the wind. You’re your furnace off and the thermostat down, take the duct work apart and look for bird nests or debris,. Remove anything blocking the duct and then reassemble the duct work. 

5. Clean exhaust vents.

Outside furnace vents collect debris and leaves that block the exhaust and intake. Replace any screen mesh with a half-inch mesh wire.

6. Flush the drain lines.

A furnace will drain water during the heating season, several gallons per day. When the drain lines are blocked with mold and sediment, they can’t drain and that will shut your furnace off. 

7. Clear blocked ducts.

If only a room or two are not as warm as the rest of the house, check the ducts in each room. They could be blocked or have come loose. They can be reattached with metal duct tape and of course, make sure they aren’t blocked. 

What could be wrong with my heater?

There can be several causes why your heater isn’t working, in addition to the things listed above, the following things should be checked too before calling for professional heating repair service:  

Check the circuit breaker: If you have a blank thermostat screen when the furnace quits workings, checking the circuit breaker should be the first thing done, then make sure the power cord is plugged in thoroughly. 

Lack of maintenance: If you haven’t done homeowner maintenance or had a professional inspection and maintenance, there could be a small problem that is causing the heater not to work. This includes changing or cleaning the filter every 30 days. 

Furnace is too small:  Your heater system may need to be replaced because it is too small.  When it is time to replace your current unit, reassess the size and purchase a larger unit. 

Ignition or pilot light: If your heater is electrical, it could be one of the electrical components. If your heater is gas powered, the gas may be turned off at the pilot light. 

Mechanical malfunction: When your heater quits working and none of the things mentioned above didn’t get it working, call a professional heating repair service that offers heat repair for home systems.  Uncertified repair on a furnace can void any warranty, like heat blower repair or any components. 

How do I reset my heater?

To reset an electric furnace, try the following steps. If these don’t work, your only choice is to call for professional heating repair service: 

  1. Turn the power off to the furnace at the breaker box. 
  2. Pull the cover off and locate the reset button and press it. 
  3. Return the cover and turn the power back on at the breaker. 
HVAC system

How do I know if my thermostat is broken?

The following three things are indicators that your thermostat should be replaced. This is something you can do yourself or ca a professional heating repair service: 

  • No Power and Unresponsive: If adjusting the thermostat setting doesn’t change the temperature in your home, or the display is dark, try to replace the batteries first. If the unit won’t turn on, there may be a wiring problem with your thermostat, and this will need professional heating repair service. 
  • Unit Constantly Running: If the cooling and heating system is running constantly no matter what the thermostat is set, there could be problems with the wiring and should be inspected by a professional heating repair service contractor. 
  • Room temperature and setting don’t match: When the room temperature and the thermostat setting aren’t matching, the thermostat is sticking or not working at all and should be replaced. 

If the thermostat is unresponsive, and you’re still asking, “How do I fix an unresponsive thermostat?”, remove the cover after turning the breaker off and with canned air and a soft brush, clean the dust and grime that accumulate inside the thermostat. Call 757-633-9949 today for your heater repair in Virginia Beach, VA.