If your furnace breaks this winter, reading this little article might save you a lot of money. Before you call a professional, you should know that the most common causes for a breakdown in a furnace are actually easy fixes that any average person can attend to.

Professionals often get called out to attend to problems that only take a few minutes and sometimes no hardware to fix. They then still need to charge you for their driving time, and whatever the minimum service charge is, leaving you out hundreds of dollars for a problem that you could have fixed just as quickly yourself.

Here are 5 things to check before you call:

Is it turned on everywhere that it needs to be?

This is actually the most common problem that a service person gets called out for.

  1. Check your breaker to make sure that the heater has power.
  2. Check for a wall switch that needs to be turned on.
  3. Make sure the front panel of the heater covering the blower motor is fully in place, as heaters have a fail-safe switch that needs to be fully pressed in for the furnace to operate.

Change your filters

If your filters are clogged, you will have restricted airflow and it will cause overheating that can trigger a safety shut-off. Heater filters are inexpensive and should be changed every month during heavy use.

Read your owner’s manual to find out where your filter is and how to replace it.

Warning! : Always make sure that the furnace is shut off before you change the filter.

Check to see if your gas is on

You may have forgotten to open the valve to get gas to your furnace. Check the gas lines between your furnace and the meter, you’ll find a lever somewhere. Turn it so that it is parallel with the pipe.

If you have an old furnace, you may also need to make sure that your pilot light is lit.

Check your ductwork

If you simply aren’t getting heat in one or two rooms, you probably either have a blocked duct, or a hole in your ducts where the warm air is escaping.

Check the portions you can access, and if you find any holes, patch them up using metallic duct tape. Regular duct tape will deteriorate quickly, so make sure you use the metallic type.

If you find any blockages, clear them out.

Check your intake and exhaust vents

Your heating system draws air from the outside. If those vents are clogged with leaves or debris, your heater will not work properly.

Check your thermostat

Believe it or not, many calls also come in from people who simply didn’t set their thermostat from cool to heat. Make sure that the thermostat has power, and that the correct settings are entered. This may require changing a battery.


With these 5 tips, you may be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars this winter, so take your destiny into your own hands a little bit and make sure your issue isn’t something embarrassingly simple that you will regret having to spend money on.

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