Nothing can be more frustrating than to find your home cold and frosty on a winter day. What if you call a furnace repair technician only to be told the obvious? Well, that’s an absolute waste of money!

Your heating system may not warm up your home efficiently for many reasons. However, what you must remember is that a poor functioning furnace may not always be a reason to panic! In fact, most of the seemingly large heating problems have straightforward solutions.

Here are some of the most common, do-it-yourself tips for troubleshooting your furnace problems quickly!

• Check Your Thermostat

Sometimes, at the heart of your heating problem lies a thermostat that has reset on its own or is not giving the right commands to the heating system. Programmable thermostats can be complicated because of their tricky setting options. Apart from this, a loose wire, a dead battery, or excess dirt in the thermostat can also cause your heating system not to function properly.

• Look For Shutoff Switches And Breakers

Before you consider calling a technician, take a quick look at the switchboard and make sure that it is on. Remember to check the breaker or fuse for your furnace as well. There is a panel that covers the blower motor and has a push-in switch underneath. Make sure the switch is fully depressed for the furnace to operate properly.

• Change The Dirty Filters

In general, furnace filters need to be changed once every month during periods of heavy use. A clogged filter can restrict the airflow, causing the heat exchanger to overheat and shutdown. In such a situation, you may notice the blower running, but the house still remains cool. Dirty filters also result in soot buildup on the heat exchanger. As a result, both your furnace’s heating efficiency and life span is reduced!

• Make Sure The Gas Valve Is On

Just like switches, forgetting to turn on the gas valve is a common mistake. Track the gas line connecting the furnace and the meter. The handle has to be parallel to the gas pipe and not perpendicular to be on! If you have an older unit, it may have a pilot light. Take off the front panel and the burner cover to ensure that it is lit.

• Flush Out The Drain Lines

High-efficiency heating units let out several gallons of water every day through the drain lines. However, sediment or mold growth can clog these drain lines, causing the furnace to shut down. If the drain hose appears dirty, take it off and run a solution of bleach and water (25 percent bleach) through the hose. Do it several times before putting it back.

• Check The Ducts For Blockage And Leaks

If you notice reduced heating efficiency, increased utility bills, or poor air quality in one or two rooms, the culprit can be blocked or leaky ducts. First of all, check all the registers and make sure they are open. Now check the accessible ductwork and seal any gaps or leaks with a special metal duct tape. Also, take a look at the handles attached to the ductwork. These are called dampers, or air conditioner bypasses that regulate the flow of air inside a duct – make sure they’re open.

• Clean Up The Heat Pumps Or Intake And Exhaust Vents

If you own a furnace that vents out of the house, check both the intake and exhaust vents. Also, replace their screen mesh with ½ inch mesh hardware cloth. However, if any of them is blocked by ice, your system has some serious problems. Clear the ice and call a technician for repair.

In case your furnace has a heat pump, look at the fins of the outdoor compressor unit and clear away any grass and leaves. Also, let the dirt and debris rinse out of the housing by bending the unit slightly.

If you have followed the steps above and are still not satisfied with the heating efficiency of your unit, call A-1 Cooling & Refrigeration. Whether your unit needs repair or replacement, our experts will help you make the right choice.