When you waken in the middle of a winter night to find that you can see your breath due to rapidly falling temperatures in the home, it's sure to be an unpleasant experience. In addition to concerns about your family's welfare, you are also likely to be thinking about the repair bill and how it will affect your budget.
The good news is that furnaces can stop working for many reasons, some of which may not require mechanical repairs. If you find that your furnace has suddenly stopped functioning, these four simple checks may be all you need to get the warm air flowing again.
Check the electrical panel
Lightning, human error, and faulty wiring can all cause thrown breakers in your home's electrical panel. For homeowners, this means that the very first thing to check is the electrical panel. Do this by opening the hinged door, looking for the switch labeled furnace or HVAC, and making sure it is set in the on position.
Check for low fuel issues
Gas and oil furnaces that cease to blow warm air may have simply run out of fuel. A simple clue for this is when the furnace fan is blowing, but the air being produced is chilly.
Check thermostat settings
Thermostats get bumped more than you might think, especially those located in narrow hallways or other heavily used areas of the home. First, make sure the switch is clearly in the heat position. To test, turn it to cool and then back to heat and see if that causes the furnace to start working.
If this does not work, you should also consider reprogramming all the settings in case they were wiped out by a power surge or outage. It can also be helpful to replace the battery during this check.
Bypass the settings
If the thermostat has short-circuited or stopped functioning correctly, you may still be able to start your furnace manually. This is done by setting the thermostat to the temperature you desire and then pressing the hold button down for several seconds until the furnace starts. Homeowners should note that this is only a quick fix until they can have the thermostat repaired or replaced.
These simple checks should take no more than a few minutes to try. If you are unable to get the furnace restarted and the temperatures inside the home are falling, you will need to stop and relocate your family to a neighbor's home or even a warm car while you await the arrival of a technician from a trusted furnace repair service in your area.