furnace repair

Chadron is Getting Cold, but My Furnace Wont Turn On

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

There are a few fast, low-cost fixes you can do yourself 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 Chadron, MPC Heating & Cooling can provide assistance to you. We work on most brands of heating systems.

If you need a new heating system, we also offer furnace replacement in Chadron.

While you’re chatting with us, think over a routine furnace maintenance plan from MPC Heating & Cooling that might help you avoid breakdowns in the future. We can tell you how often your furnace should be inspected by one of our NATE-certified professionals.

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

Steps for Furnace Troubleshooting

Check the Thermostat

To start, make sure your thermostat is instructing your furnace to start.

If you have a digital thermostat:

  • Replace 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 appropriate day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having trouble overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will force the furnace to turn on if thermostat programming is causing trouble.
  • Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
Digital Thermostat

If your furnace hasn’t turned on within few minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t run, your furnace may not have power.

If you have a smart thermostat—like one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Take a look at 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, look 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,” leave it alone and get in touch with a professional from MPC Heating & Cooling at 308-832-4321 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, expect your furnace to take up to five minutes to start. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, look in 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 filthy, clogged air filter is often to blame.

If your filter is too dirty:

  • Your furnace won’t be able to stay on, or it could overheat from restricted airflow.
  • Your energy bills could increase because your furnace is turning on too often.
  • Your furnace could fail too soon because a dirty filter causes it to work overtime.
  • Your furnace can lose power if an excessively dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what make of furnace you have, your air filter will be 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.
  • Pull out the filter and angle it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, use a new one.
  • Install the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.

Flat filters should be replaced every month, while pleated filters should last about three months. You can also get a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to put in a new filter more often.

To make the process easier 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

Also known as drain pans, condensate pans hold water your furnace removes 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 purchase at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan has a pump, inspect the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with water in the pan, contact MPC Heating & Cooling at 308-832-4321, because you will possibly need a new pump.

Peek Inside Your Furnace

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

If you see anything else besides a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call MPC Heating & Cooling at 308-832-4321. Your furnace may be emitting an error code that requires professional service.

Clean the Flame Sensor

If your furnace tries to start but switches off without putting out heat, a dirty flame sensor could be at fault. When this occurs, your furnace will attempt to ignite three times before a safety feature shuts it down for about an hour.

If you feel comfortable with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you can do yourself. Or, one of our HVAC professionals at MPC Heating & Cooling 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:

  • Shut 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.
  • Take off the furnace’s front panel and trace the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to lightly 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 could run through a sequence of checks before continuing regular operation. If your furnace doesn’t ignite, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else could be wrong. If this happens, get in touch with MPC Heating & Cooling at 308-832-4321 for assistance.

Relight the Pilot Light

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

  • Locate 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.”
  • Push 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, contact MPC Heating & Cooling at 308-832-4321.

Check Your Fuel Source

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

MPC Heating & Cooling Can Help with Furnace Problems

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

Call us today at 308-832-4321 or use our online scheduler. We’ll come out and figure out the problem.

*Required fields