How to Enjoy the Heat and Avoid the Fire A guide to repairing your furnace

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It’s cold out. There is snow on the ground and a whistle in the wind. All you want to do is curl up in your warm house and read a book until spring, when you hear a loud CLUNK! from the basement. The furnace just shut off and it’s starting to get quite chilly. What do you do? Wait in the frigid temperatures until morning or give a crack at repairing it yourself? A furnace can seem like a daunting appliance to work with if you’re unfamiliar with how it works but by performing some simple checks on your own you may be able to avoid a costly repair bill.

There are many reasons that furnaces could require repairs but often these issues are preventable through home maintenance. Some quick things you can do are:

  • Check the thermostat is turned ON
  • Check that the breaker box is on and functional
  • Check and replace air filters as needed

Check the Thermostat

Repairing your furnace can be a easy task if you start with the basics. The first thing you should check is the thermostat itself. If it is in the off position, this would stop your furnace from turning on when needed and functioning correctly. In this case it is a simple matter to adjust the switch to the on position to resolve the trouble.

Check the Breaker Box

If the thermostat is already in the on position but your furnace is still not working correctly remember to check the source of power! Most of the time this will be your breaker box but some thermostats have their own internal batteries that may need to be replaced. Once you have determined that the thermostat and power source are both turned on, it’s time to move on to the furnace itself.

Check Air Filters

Frequently the air filter is the source of the issue. If the air filter gets clogged it can prevent air from flowing correctly through the furnace and your home. There are also safety mechanisms inside most newer furnaces that will force the machine to power off if a clogged filter is detected. Be sure to check your filter regularly and replace it when it appears dirty. How often you should change your air filter varies depending on the size of the filter and whether there are pets in the home, so check your specific filter for replacement suggestions. You can also check that the safety switch on the door of your furnace is not obviously damaged or broken as that can also prevent it from turning on if the heat or pressure get too high.

Thermostat on. Breaker box all set. Air filter clean. Finally you can hear the WOOSH of air filling up the room and that comfortable feeling of warmth envelops you like a blanket. You have a toasty night ahead.