Getting in out of the cold is one of the greatest elements of coming home during winter months. Unfortunately, there may come a day when you walk in the door and find that the inside of your home is nearly as cold as the temperatures outside. If you're forced air furnace has quit working, there are a few things that you can try as you wait for the furnace repair technician to arrive.
Check the Breaker
Even gas furnaces require electricity to function. If the breaker has tripped, the furnace will quit working, as it will not be able to blow the air through the home. Go to your breaker panel and check the breaker – if it's tripped, or half-way tripped, flip it the rest of the way off and flip it back on. Then test the furnace.
If you have an electric forced air furnace, the furnace itself has breakers on it. Check the breakers on the unit – typically, they're found right on the front of the unit, and you won't have to remove the access panel to see the breakers. Try flipping them off and then on again. This could reset the system and get things running again.
Note: If the breaker was tripped, you should still have the furnace serviced to find out what happened to cause the surge. The breaker won't trip unless there's a power surge, and it's likely to happen again unless you find the cause.
Check the Thermostat
Many homes are now equipped with electronic thermostats. These thermostats typically require batteries to operate. If the batteries are low, the thermostat will not function properly. Try replacing the old batteries with brand new batteries – not the used ones that you have stashed in your junk drawer. This could be the quick fix that you need.
Note: Make sure that you don't have anything covering your thermostat, like drapes or a bookcase – the thermostat needs free-air-flow in order to work accurately.
Check the Fuel
If your furnace is oil or propane-fueled, the problem could be that you're out of fuel. Take a trip out to the tank and check the levels – if you're still unsure, contact your oil or propane supplier to check when it was last filled. It's possible that the fuel meter is frozen and not accurately displaying how much fuel you have left.
Contact your local furnace repair professional. He or she will help you find out what's going on with your forced air furnace and make recommendations for repairs that may be needed.