furnace repair

Williamsport is Getting Cold, but My Furnace Wont Turn On

Troubleshooting your furnace might feel like an overwhelming job when your heat won’t work. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

There are several fast, inexpensive fixes you can do by yourself to skip a furnace repair call.

If your furnace won’t turn on, won’t stay on or won’t ignite, try the troubleshooting list below before getting in touch with an HVAC professional.

If you find you need help from someone who is experienced and live in Williamsport, Lycoming Heating Company can help you. We repair most brands of heating systems.

If it’s time for a new heating system, we also offer furnace replacement in Williamsport.

While you’re chatting with us, think over a regular furnace maintenance plan from Lycoming Heating Company that might help you avoid problems in the future. We can tell you how regularly your furnace should be checked by one of our NATE-certified specialists.

Follow our easy guide below to get to work on troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these steps don’t require mechanical abilities.

Steps for Furnace Troubleshooting

Check the Thermostat

To begin, make sure your thermostat is signaling your furnace to ignite.

If you have a digital thermostat:

  • Change the batteries if the screen is blank. If the digital screen is jumbled, the thermostat may need to be replaced.
  • Make sure the switch is set to “heat” instead of “off” or “cool.”
  • Ensure the program is set to the correct day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having a hard time overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to start if thermostat programming is causing trouble.
  • Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.
Digital Thermostat

If your furnace hasn’t kicked on within a couple minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t start, your furnace might not have power.

If you have a smart thermostat—like one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Refer to the manufacturer’s website for help. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to work, contact us for assistance.

Lennox Smart Thermostat

Examine Breakers and Switches

Next, you will need to check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.

  • Find your house’s main electrical panel. If you aren’t sure where it is, look for a gray metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
  • Make sure your hands and feet are dry before touching the panel or breakers.
  • Look for the breaker labeled “furnace” or “heat,” and make sure it’s switched “on.” If the breaker has tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
  • Using one hand, firmly switch the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker immediately trips and pops back to “off,” don’t try to reset it and get in touch with a professional from Lycoming Heating Company at 570-244-2510 right away.

Regardless of your furnace’s age or brand, it has at least one standard wall switch located on or near it.

  • Make sure the switch is flipped up in the “on” position. If it was turned off, anticipate your furnace could take up to five minutes to ignite. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, take a look at your basement, garage or utility closet. It could also be in a crawl space or attic.)

Replace Your Furnace’s Air Filter

When it comes to furnace problems, a filthy, clogged air filter is regularly the top offender.

If your filter is too dirty:

  • Your furnace won’t stay on, or it could overheat from reduced airflow.
  • Your energy bills could go up because your furnace is turning on more often.
  • Your furnace could break down too soon because a dirty filter causes it to work overtime.
  • Your furnace can be cut off from power if an extremely dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what model of furnace you use, your air filter can be found inside the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.

Replacing a furnace filter

To replace your filter:

  • Turn off your furnace.
  • Remove the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, replace it.
  • Install the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.

Flat filters should be replaced once a month, while pleated filters should last about three months. You can also get a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to replace your filter more often.

To make the process smoother in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace housing or ductwork to indicate the airflow direction and filter size.

Examine the Condensate Pan

Otherwise known as drain pans, condensate pans catch water your furnace pulls from the air.

If water is seeping out of your furnace or its pan has standing water in it, follow these steps.

  • If your pan has a drain (look for a PVC pipe), check that it isn’t full. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan has a pump, take a look at the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with standing water in the pan, contact Lycoming Heating Company at 570-244-2510, because you will likely need a new pump.

Peek Inside Your Furnace

If malfunctions keep on happening, look inside your furnace’s plastic window to verify the status of the blower motor. Depending on the model, the light could also be mounted on the outside of your furnace.

If you see anything else besides a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call Lycoming Heating Company at 570-244-2510. Your furnace may be communicating an error code that is calling for professional assistance.

Clean the Flame Sensor

If your furnace tries to start but shuts off without putting out heat, a dirty flame sensor could be responsible. When this occurs, your furnace will attempt to start three times before a safety feature powers it down for about an hour.

If you feel comfortable with opening up your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you can do by yourself. Or, one of our HVAC professionals at Lycoming Heating Company can do it for you.

If you want to clean the sensor yourself, you’ll need:

  • A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
  • Piece of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
  • A dry, clean paper towel

Next:

  • Turn off the furnace’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If your gas valve is not electric, you will need to shut off the gas as well.
  • Take off the furnace’s front panel and trace the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to gently rub the metal rod.
  • Wipe off the rod with a paper towel.
  • Remount the sensor.
  • Replace the furnace doors.
  • Turn the furnace’s power back on. It may go through a set of checks before proceeding with normal operation. If your furnace doesn’t turn on, the sensor may need to be replaced or something else could be wrong. If this happens, get in touch with Lycoming Heating Company at 570-244-2510 for assistance.

Relight the Pilot Light

If you are using an older furnace, the pilot light could be out. To relight it, find the instructions on a label on your furnace, or follow these steps.

  • Find the switch on the bottom of your furnace labeled “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
  • Turn the switch to the “off” position.
  • Wait at least five minutes to avoid possibly creating a fire.
  • Turn the knob to “pilot.”
  • Push the “reset” button as you bring the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
  • Release the “reset” button once the pilot light is lit.

If you have followed the instructions twice and the pilot light still won’t light or stay lit, get in touch with Lycoming Heating Company at 570-244-2510.

Check Your Fuel Source

Try switching on another gas appliance. If it doesn’t work, your natural gas service could be turned off, or you could be out of propane.

Lycoming Heating Company Can Help with Furnace Problems

Followed our troubleshooting guide but your furnace still won’t work?

Call us today at 570-244-2510 or use our online scheduler. We’ll come out and pinpoint the problem.

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