When your furnace won’t start, doing your own furnace repair in Cache Valley, Utah, can feel pretty overwhelming.

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

There are a few speedy, inexpensive fixes you can do on your own to prevent 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 contacting an HVAC professional.

If you find you need help from a heating and cooling pro and live in Cache Valley, Western Mechanical, Inc. can assist you. We can repair most makes of heating systems and also provide emergency furnace repair.

If it’s time for a new heating system, we also provide furnace installation.

While you’re talking with us, consider an annual furnace maintenance plan that could help you avoid problems in the future. We can tell you how frequently your furnace should be inspected by one of our certified professionals.

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

Furnace Repair Checklist

1. Check the Thermostat

First, make sure your thermostat is signaling your furnace to ignite.

Digital Thermostat

Swap out 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” as opposed to “off” or “cool.”

Ensure the program is displaying the right day and time and is set to “run.” If you’re having problems overriding the program, set the temperature by using the up/down arrows and press the “hold” button. This will force the furnace to ignite if thermostat programming is causing an issue.

Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees warmer than the room temperature.

If your furnace hasn’t started within few minutes, make sure it has power by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t start, your furnace could be without power.

Smart Thermostat

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, call us at 435-753-5515 for heating and cooling service.

2. Examine Breakers and Switches

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

Look for your house’s main electrical panel. If you have no idea where it is, search 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.

Locate 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 touch it and contact a professional from Western Mechanical, Inc. at 435-753-5515 right away.

No matter your furnace’s age or brand, it has at least one standard wall switch located on or close to it.

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

3. Replace the Air Filter

When it comes to furnace breakdown, a dirty, 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 limited airflow.
  • Your energy bills could increase because your furnace is turning on more than it should.
  • Your furnace could stop working sooner than it should because a dirty filter causes it to overwork.
  • Your furnace can be disconnected from power if an overly dirty filter causes the breaker to trip.

Depending on what make of furnace you own, your air filter is located inside the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.

To replace your filter:

  1. Turn off your furnace.
  2. Take out the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, use a new one.
  3. Put in the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the furnace to avoid damage.

Flat filters should be replaced monthly, while pleated filters should last about three months. You can also buy 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 go more quickly in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace housing or ductwork to show the airflow direction and filter size.

4. Inspect the Condensate Pan

Otherwise known as drain pans, condensate pans hold water your furnace removes from the air.

If water is dripping 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’s clear. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can buy at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan uses a pump, check the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with liquid in the pan, contact us at 435-753-5515, because you will possibly need a new pump.

5. Check for Furnace Error Codes

If malfunctions continue, peek inside your furnace’s plastic window to verify the status of the blower motor. Depending on the model, the light could also be attached on the outside of your furnace.

If you see anything except a steady, colored light or blinking green light, call us at 435-753-5515 for HVAC service. Your furnace may be giving an error code that requires professional service.