Finding out your heater won’t turn on as the cold weather is settling in can make for a stressful situation. But, you may be able to solve the problem yourself.
In this article, we’ll run through a few simple reasons why the heater in your York, PA home won’t turn on. If you still can’t get it running once you’ve gone through these steps, call Air Comfort Technologies for HVAC repair. But, with any luck, one of these will do the trick.
Four Reasons Your Heater Won’t Turn On (That You Can Check Yourself)
If your heater won’t turn on, you can safely check for these four problems yourself. If none of these apply, or no fixes work, then it’s time to call an HVAC repair professional.
- Thermostat is Broken Or Set Incorrectly
- Tripped Electrical Circuit
- Air Filter Is Clogged
- The Pilot Light Went Out
Thermostat is Broken Or Set Incorrectly
Start your troubleshooting by checking the thermostat. You’d be surprised how many heating and cooling problems get solved right here. You want to make sure that it’s working correctly, the batteries are charged, and it’s on the correct setting. Make sure it has power, is set to “heat,” and “auto.”
Obviously, if the batteries are low or dead, the device won’t tell the furnace it’s time to turn on. Change the batteries if you see a low-power indicator or the display is blank. Or, if you have batteries on hand, change them anyway just to see if it makes a difference.
Next, go to the settings. Remember, you need to change this for the season. If you set the temperature you want to 72 but still have it on “Cool,” nothing’s going to happen! The system is waiting for the temperature to go above that setting to turn on the AC.
Also, note that “Fan Only” will turn on the system but not provide heat. This setting is just for circulation: Your system blows air through the house but doesn’t add heating or cooling.
Finally, set it to “Auto,” so the heater only turns on when you need it. This way, the thermostat clicks it on when the temperature falls below your call setting. Otherwise, “On” makes it run continuously no matter what, and “Off” means you’ll never get any heat.
Tripped Electrical Breaker
Next, head down to your circuit breaker and make sure nothing is tripped. You can tell when one of the switches is in a different position than the others. If you notice this, and it’s the one that’s designated for your HVAC system, then you’ve found the problem — or at least part of it.
At some point, you had a surge of power heading toward your heater, and the circuit breaker cut it off. Technically, this fix is as easy as flipping the switch back to its original position. If it stays there and the heat turns back on, you’re in business.
But, in this case, don’t stop there. A tripped circuit could mean a bigger problem. Unlike other circuits in the house, you shouldn’t have more than one outlet on there — meaning it’s not like you plugged in too many items and drew too much power.
The amount of power your HVAC system needs shouldn’t change dramatically. So, you should still call your heating and cooling company to look over your heater for any electrical problems. If they don’t turn up anything and the problem happens again, call an electrician to spot any issues on the supply side.
Air Filter Is Clogged
Another easy fix you can handle yourself: A clogged air filter. If you’re not changing out the filter regularly, it gets loaded up with dust and dirt. You’ll notice some minor problems along the way, and then eventually, the system stops working altogether.
Ideally, you’ll change the filter every month. Some people do it every season or every three months. If you’re going significantly longer than that, you may have found the problem here.
If the filter is dark grey with clumps of dirt on it, then it’s been in there way too long. Ideally, it should only discolor a little from its original bright white. Put in a new one and see if the problem goes away.
If that’s the case, you may also take care of a few other problems you’ve noticed along the way. For instance, weak air circulation in the house occurs when not enough air can pass through the filter. Eventually, you can end up with short-cycling, which is when the system turns on and off over and over without actually heating the house.
Short-cycling is when the airflow through the filter is so bad that heat backs up into the system. Since your furnace distributes heat rather than stores it, this can damage your system. The heater responds by shutting down to cool off.
The Pilot Light Went Out
The last item you can check by yourself is if the pilot light on your system went out. You need to be careful as you’ll have to remove a panel. But, if you have a gas-powered model where this is easily accessible, you can take a look.
Once you remove the panel, look for the pilot light. The exact location varies, but you should be able to spot it easily. You can try relighting it if there’s no flame. But, if the flame is weak or yellow, that means the system is dirty. In particular, there could be excessive soot.
In those cases, you need a professional to clean it out. But, the good news at least is that the problem appears to be a minor one. And, don’t hesitate to call a pro to relight it if you’re not comfortable. After all, they may also notice a reason why it happened in the first place.
HVAC Repair Near York, PA
You can call or email Air Comfort Technologies at any time, day or night, for HVAC repair problems near York, PA. with more than fifty years of combined experience, we’ll make sure your home stays comfortable and safe all winter long.