Having your heat go out in the winter is inconvenient, uncomfortable, and in some cases, may be a safety issue. In general, when your heating system stops working, you’ll need to call a professional to come out and take a look. However, before you do that, there are a number of things you can check to ensure that there really is a problem with the system.
Start with the Thermostat
- Settings can accidentally get changed, so first make sure the thermostat is set properly on “Heat” rather than “Cool.” If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure the time and temperature is set correctly.
- Check to make sure the temperature on the thermostat is set to a level that is high enough to trigger the furnace to kick on.
- If the settings are correct, try adjusting the temperature to 5 degrees higher than the current room temperature to see if the furnace starts up.
Check the Circuit Breaker Panel to See if a Breaker has Been Tripped
While this shouldn’t happen often, a heating system can overload the circuit panel and trip the breaker, preventing the furnace from turning on. Flipping the breaker switch should do the trick. If this happens repeatedly, however, the actual cause may be more serious and you should schedule a service call.
Check the Furnace
Check to make sure the furnace’s power switch is in the “on” position. If the furnace power is on, follow the instructions to reset the system. Look for the button to trigger the reset process.
Check the Vents
Blocked or closed vents prevent heat from flowing and circulating properly, resulting in cold spots. When furniture and other items get moved around, sometimes vents can be blocked or covered. Vent covers may inadvertently be closed as well. Make sure all vents have open access and airflow. Check both the supply vents (where heat comes out) and return vents (where air goes back the furnace).