Make it a great day by contacting WM Buffington

Your local, trusted service company in Central Pennsylvania since 1952

What to Do if the Furnace Goes Out

With the end of the year comes inevitable cold weather, often with harsh wind and snow. While they might help make the holiday season festive and cozy, it can quickly become a nightmare if the furnace goes out. 

Furnaces are a critical component of the home as they help keep you comfortable and safe. That’s why it’s important to know at least a little bit about furnaces, why they tend to fail, and how to fix them. Whether you’re already experiencing trouble or just want to be ready if the time comes, read on for insight from the furnace installation experts at WM Buffington. 

Common Reasons Why a Furnace Stops Working

There are several reasons why a furnace may stop working. Although it can be frustrating, it doesn’t always mean that you’ll need to start looking for a new furnace. Sometimes there’s an easy fix that you can perform on your own or a minor fix that a furnace technician can take care of in a flash.

Thermostat Turned Off

Fortunately, one of the most common reasons a furnace stops working has nothing to do with the furnace at all. If your thermostat fails because it is unplugged or runs out of battery, it will be unable to register the cold temperature and subsequently it will not activate your furnace. 

Clogged Air Filter

Furnace filters get clogged for several reasons and most of the time happens naturally over time. Unfortunately (but also fortunately), most modern furnaces will automatically turn off and you must change it for it to work again. In some cases though, clogged air filters can lead to damaged HVAC components which can cause the furnace to stop working altogether. 

Water Leaks

If your furnace stops working, it might be due to a water leak. Condensation leaks, humidifier leaks, plumbing leaks, and clogged internal draining systems can all cause water to leak and damage your furnace. 

Furnace Heater Fan Stops Working

The furnace not working might be due to the heater fan shutting down. The reason the fan may shut down could be due to the fan itself being worn out or due to a malfunctioning motor or thermostat. 

Too Much Gas

Gas furnaces need to be calibrated correctly to burn the right amount of fuel, and if they burn too much gas, they may overheat and turn off mid-cycle. When installing a gas furnace, the technician will check that the calibration is correct, but ideally, an HVAC professional should also do a combustion analysis once a year to make sure your furnace is still burning the optimal amount of gas.

Lack of Maintenance

While furnaces are pretty self-sufficient, they do require routine maintenance. At a minimum, you should have your furnaced serviced at least once a year. Some of the most common issues related to lack of maintenance include the following:

  • If your blower motor is dirty, it won’t blow cool air over your heat exchanger, causing the exchanger to overheat and stop working. Overheating can also be caused by low refrigerant on the heat pumps. 
  • When your flame sensor doesn’t sense a flame, it cuts the flow of gas to your heater. Normally, this is a safety feature, but if your flame sensor is dirty, it can’t work properly, and it will cut the gas even when a flame is present.
  • A dirty or clogged filter can reduce the airflow to your HVAC system and make it work harder. Ultimately, this can reduce the lifespan of your furnace. 

What to Do if the Furnace Goes Out

The winter is no time to take chances. If your furnace has stopped working (or ever stops working in the future), the first thing you need to do is secure as much heat as possible that’s already in your home. This includes shutting the blinds and curtains or hanging towels and blankets over windows without coverings. Windows are the main way that heat will escape so covering them will help retain heat inside your house. 

Next, you’ll want to turn on your fireplace if you’re lucky enough to have one. If not, you should start securing one room to keep it warm. Use a space heater, layer on clothes and blankets, and close the door so that heat gets trapped as best as possible. If you are in any way concerned about your safety, contact emergency services instead of trying to brave the storm.

If the situation is not so dire, it is definitely worth your while to investigate the furnace and see if there is anything you can do to fix the issue and get it working again. Most fixes may require the expertise of a professional, but checking, for example, that the thermostat has new batteries and that the furnace filter is clean is an easy enough job for anyone to do. 

Ultimately, it’s recommended that you contact a professional right away to get a fix scheduled as soon as possible. 

Why You Should Call a Professional HVAC Company

Whether you think you’ve found the solution yourself or your furnace remains broken, it’s always smart to contact a professional to conduct an inspection. HVAC systems are made up of many components (both internal and external) and often require expert knowledge to understand what might be malfunctioning. By contacting an HVAC technician, you can ensure that your home will get a remedy to its heating issues promptly while avoiding putting yourself in harm's way by dealing with complex electrical equipment. 

How to Avoid Future Breakdowns

The one true way to avoid future breakdowns is through regular maintenance. All of the common reasons for furnace failure listed above in addition to many more sources of malfunctions are remedied through routine checks, tune-ups, and maintenance. Some of them you can do yourself, but there is a lot more to your furnace than meets the eye and it is likely for something to be overlooked if the maintenance is conducted by a non-professional. By signing up for a planned maintenance program with an HVAC company, you can have peace of mind knowing that all aspects of your system will be checked and kept up to date to the highest professional standards. 

It is very important to keep in mind that professionals can often fix the various malfunctions and furnace failures you may run into, but depending on the age and condition of your furnace, you may need to have a new one installed. In this case, always contact a team of licensed furnace installation experts as improper installation can lead to safety hazards. 

Contact WM Buffington for Furnace Installation in Harrisburg

If your furnace has gone out, there is one true solution you can always count on, and that is contacting your trusted, local experts in furnace installation. At WM Buffington, we’ll be there whenever you need us with 24/7 emergency services that will get your furnace back up and running in no time. We specialize in emergency repairs and new furnace installations so you won’t have to go long without heat. If your furnace stops working, don’t wait and potentially make a bad situation worse - give us a call! 

Areas We Serve

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram