Top 5 Reasons Why Your Furnace Has Stopped Working

Even a furnace that is properly maintained with a comprehensive tune-up appointment performed by a professional each year may stop working like it should. When this happens, you may be worried that you’ll need to pay for a replacement.

Though there are some situations where replacing a furnace may be required, that may be an “outlier” in many cases. We wanted to provide you a list of five of the most common reasons why your furnace may have stopped working, and how to remedy them! Read on to learn more.

1. The thermostat isn’t properly set.

Before searching for a reputable heating repair professional to come diagnose and treat your furnace problem, check your thermostat. You may be surprised by how often the “fix” for a furnace that won’t come on is as simple as switching the thermostat to “HEAT” from “OFF” or “COOL.” Your thermostat may have accidentally been switched to a different setting, as is often the case in homes where there are younger individuals with curious hands or toys that become airborne.

Additionally, when checking your thermostat, make sure the batteries are fresh. If your device is powered by batteries and you haven’t replaced them in a while, they may be reaching the end of their usable life and lacking the power required to send signals to your furnace to tell it when to cycle on or off. If you have a thermostat that is wired, you can remove the outside panel from the wall and check for any damage to the wiring, such as fraying. This is a problem that will need to be handled by a professional.

2. Check your circuit breaker.

If your furnace has stopped working at a seemingly random time, and you haven’t noticed any other issues with the appliance, you may have a tripped breaker. Locate your breaker box and check the one that is connected to your home’s furnace. If it’s been tripped, flip it back into the “ON” position.

If this happened, you may be wondering why the breaker tripped in the first place. Often, this can occur when the furnace’s blower is working harder than it normally does to move air. This can typically result from a clogged air filter, and you can read about that below.

3. Your air filter is dirty.

A dusty and dirty air filter can lead to your furnace working even harder than it should. When the filter is impassable, it leads to strain on the system, and may also jeopardize your home’s indoor air quality — bad news for any loved ones who suffer from allergies or respiratory problems, such as asthma.

This extra strain on your heater may ultimately cause the system to shut down or not cycle on and off like normal. Many times, there is also a furnace safety feature that will prevent it from overheating because of the clogged filter.

Make it a routine to swap out your filter each month, maybe even more often if you have pets in your home or individuals who smoke, as these things could cause the filter to get dirty faster. If you aren’t sure what size or MERV-rating you need for your replacement filter, check the existing one already installed and make note of it before shopping online or going to your local hardware or home improvement store for a replacement.

4. The access panel to the furnace is open.

This is another safety feature of many heating systems. When the panel isn’t in a closed position on the furnace, it won’t cycle on — regardless of what temperature setting you have on your thermostat. If you recently had maintenance work performed on your home’s heater, the technician in your home may have accidentally left the access panel on the unit slightly ajar.

Check your furnace and make sure that the access panel is securely in place. Once back in position, your heater should cycle on and off as it normally would.

5. There is an issue with the natural gas supply to the unit.

If your home’s heating system operates on natural gas and isn’t cycling on like usual, there could be an issue with the gas supply to the unit. This often will happen in situations where the gas valve has been closed off to the furnace, or if there is an issue with the pilot light. If you have confirmed that the gas valve is open, but the pilot light is out, we recommend bringing in a heating professional to relight it.

Professional help for furnace problems

At Oncourse Home Solutions, we offer homeowners like you an affordable Heating Repair Plan. When you’re enrolled in this plan and a covered furnace problem occurs in your home, simply pick up the phone and give us a call. We will send a local, knowledgeable, and experienced heating pro in your area to your home to diagnose and treat the problem so that your family isn’t left in a cold and uncomfortable home for too long!