If your home has a gas furnace, it’s important to learn how to check your unit for potential problems to prevent unexpected breakdowns or inefficient operation. Troubleshooting your gas furnace can help you to avoid costly repair bills that may arise if potential issues are left undiscovered.
Turning On Your Gas Furnace
Typically, a gas furnace is operated through the same thermostat as the air conditioner. This means that when the weather turns cold, you can simply turn your thermostat to the ‘warm’ or ‘heat’ setting and then adjust the temperature to your liking.
Inspecting and Replacing Your Furnace Filter
Before beginning, it's important to turn the power off to the unit. Many furnaces have electrical components near the filter. Open the cover of the unit and then remove the filter. You can use a vacuum to clean the surface dust from a plastic filter, then simply wash it and dry it before replacing it. Always operate the furnace with a filter in place. You will need to replace a cardboard filter every few months, or as recommended by the filter manufacturer.
Check every room in your home by feeling for the airflow that comes from the vents. If airflow is insufficient to areas of your home, you should have a Air Specialties check your ducts to ensure they are properly sized for air delivery throughout your home.
If Your Gas Furnace Will Not Ignite
An inoperable pilot light is one of the main reasons that a gas furnace will fail to ignite. To ignite the pilot, turn the gas cock off and then push the pilot reset button while turning the cock to ‘pilot’. Get a match and light it, then hold it near the furnace pilot to relight it.
Furnace Troubleshooting Checklist
Cleaning the system every couple of years helps the unit to run more efficiently and last longer. During an annual heating system inspection your technician will lubricate the furnace ports and bearings, reducing the amount of energy the unit needs to operate. Your technician will also clean the furnace burners if they appear dirty.
Cleaning the vents and ducts will remove blockages that can interfere with heat flow in the home. In the winter, ice can block the outdoor vents. Make sure to turn off the unit before you attempt to remove the ice.
Sealing Air Leaks To Prevent Heat Loss
If you notice air leaks emanating from your system, use caulk to seal off any gaps. In addition, placing weather stripping around doors and windows will keep your home from losing heat, which makes your furnace run more often.
What To Do If You Smell Gas
If you ever smell gas coming from the furnace, leave the area and call your gas company right away. Avoid lighting matches or using any electrical appliances until you are safely away from the area.