When the leaves start changing colors and the days start getting shorter, you know that the cold winds of Old Man Winter will soon be blowing in. When the forecast calls for an extreme drop in the temperature, the first thing you do is turn your thermostat on. However, after waiting for several minutes, you don't hear the furnace running and the vents are still cold.
Instead of panicking, take a deep breath and give one of these troubleshooting tips a try.
Check the Thermostat
It may sound silly, but double check the thermostat to make sure that you have it set correctly. The lack of heat could simply be because the thermostat isn't set to 'heat.' If it isn't switched to 'heat,' flip the setting, wait a few minutes and you should hear the furnace kick on and hot air should start pumping out of your heating vents.
Check the Batteries
Another reason why the heat may not be coming on is because the batteries in your thermostat have died. Some thermostats are powered by batteries, and when they run out of juice, the heat won't come on. You'll know that this is the problem if you see a low battery symbol on the display, or if you don't see anything on the display at all. Simply change the batteries and you should be up-and-running right away.
Check the Filter
Another issue that could be causing the problem with your heat is the filter in your furnace.
The filter is one of the most integral components of a furnace, as it cleans the air that goes into and out of the furnace. If the filter is dirty, it could cause the entire furnace to shut down, or the furnace may still run, but it won't produce an efficient amount of heat.
You'll know the issue is filter-related if the filter is filled with dirt, dust and debris. Simply replace the old, dirty filter with a new one. In the future, you can avoid this problem by replacing the furnace filter once a month.
Check the Breaker Box
Yet another common cause for a furnace to stop working is because the breaker that provides it with juice has tripped.
Take a look at your circuit breaker and locate the breaker that operates the furnace. If it's switched to 'off,' flip it back to 'on' and you should hear the furnace click back on.
If these troubleshooting tips don't work, give a reputable home heating company (such as Custom Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning Inc) a call. A technician will be able to assess your furnace, determine the cause of the problem and get your house toasty warm again.