Regular inspections of your furnace are important. By doing this task, you can help ensure the system is in the best condition possible to heat your home this winter. To inspect your furnace, start by taking a look at the filter and replace it if it is dirty. Regularly replacing the furnace filter is one of the easiest and most important things that you can do to help prevent problems with your furnace. A dirty filter means restricted air flow, which means less heat being dissipated from the heat exchanger. This can cause the furnace to run hotter than it is supposed to, which can lead to premature failure or complete shut-down of the furnace.
The first part is to make sure your furnace is operational. Set your thermostat to heat mode and turn up the heat about five degrees warmer than what the thermostat thinks the temperature is. Check the service switch to make sure it is on. This is typically a light switch that is either mounted to the furnace or located on a wall very close to the furnace. If this switch is off, the furnace will not run. Check the circuit breaker or fuse at the main electric panel. Also you can test or replace the batteries in the thermostat. Make sure the blower fan cover is in place. If the cover is removed, a safety switch on the blower compartment should prevent the furnace from turning on.
When the furnace fires up normally, it should stay running without shutting off until the thermostat is satisfied. If the furnace runs for a few minutes and then shuts off before satisfying the thermostat, it is short-cycling, which is a problem. This could be caused by an oversized system or a thermostat located in a poor location, like right above a heat register.
A poor furnace filter that is dirty can also cause a furnace to short-cycle. Go around your house and check to make sure the supply registers are open and unobstructed, and make sure there is warm air coming out of them. If too many registers are closed off or obstructed, the furnace probably will not operate properly. After the furnace has been running for about fifteen minutes, put your hand on the ductwork above the furnace. If you notice an issue with the furnace system, make sure to contact us for an appointment, so we can inspect it for you. By noticing an issue at the first sign, you can help save time, money, and stress in the long run.