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What to Do When Your Heating System Won't Run

by Feride Halma

When the heating system in your home stops working unexpectedly, there are some things you can do to get it running again. If the problem is severe enough, you may need to call a heating system repair company to fix the problem.

1. Check Your Breakers

Before you call the heating repair company, check the breakers in the electrical panel of your home and make sure the one for your heating system is on. The breaker may have tripped and need to be reset. If the breaker goes out again, the heating repair service needs to check the heating system for electrical problems.

2. Check the Thermostat

Thermostat problems account for some ninety-percent of heating system failures. If the thermostat is not working correctly, the heating system will not know when to turn on or off, so the system just shuts down. 

Modern HVAC systems use a thermostat that operates the air conditioning and the heating system in your home, so checking the thermostat is one of the first things a heating system repair tech will check. Be sure you check that the thermostat is set to "heat" and that it is in the "on" position with the setpoint high enough to trigger the heat. 

If the thermostat is set right, the heating repair tech will check to make sure it is sending the proper electrical signals to the heating system and replace the thermostat if it is not functioning correctly. If your thermostat uses batteries, as many do, change the batteries on the unit before assuming the thermostat has gone bad.

3. Check Your Filters

Another common issue that can cause the heating system to stop running is dirty filters in the system. The filters must be clean and allow air to pass through them for the furnace to run correctly. If the system shuts down unexpectedly, check the air filters in the system to make sure they are letting air into the system. 

If air is not getting through the filter, there is a sensor inside the heating system that will shut the system down to avoid damage. If the system continued to try and pull air through a dirty filter, the filter could eventually collapse and end up inside the air intake, The heat exchanger depends on the incoming air to remove the heat from it as well, and if the filters re clogged, the heat exchanger could overheat. 

Replace dirty filters with new ones if you have them on hand, then see if the heat will come on. The heating repair company can replace the filters for you and clean it so that it runs more efficiently. Ask local heating system repair services if they offer seasonal maintenance as well as repair services.