Heating Not Working? Follow These Four Steps To Troubleshoot It

It's that time of year again. The days are getting longer and the weather is getting colder. The last thing you want is for your heater to break down. However, due to normal wear and tear, it could happen at any minute. You need to prepare in advance and learn how to troubleshoot the heating system so when it does break, you have a fair chance at fixing it instead of waiting for a professional to show up and handle it.

When the furnace is working correctly, it will draw in cold air, heat it up, and send it back out as hot air. If your furnace isn't producing hot air, then it is a sign that something is wrong with the appliance. This guide will walk you through the steps to troubleshooting this issue.

Step One

Check the pilot light. Sometimes the light will go out and needs to be re-lit in order for the furnace to work properly again.

Step Two

Check the thermostat. Make sure that it's set to the Heat setting instead of Cool. If it is on the correct setting, turn it up ten degrees and see if it switches the heat on. If it doesn't, you may need to replace the thermostat. If the thermostat is off, then it may be a problem with the power supply. Do a thorough check of the fuses and circuit breakers to make sure they are not tripped.

Step Three

Reset the furnace. Most furnaces have a reset button located on them. It is typically bright red and should be clearly labeled as Reset. Once you locate the button, push it to reset the furnace. If it works, the furnace will start running again.

Step Four

Clean the filter. A lot of the time, a dirty filter can be the culprit for furnace failure. When the filter gets too dirty, the appliance has to run harder than normal to push the air through the filter. It can make the entire system overheat and shut down. Clean the filter or replace it with a new one. Then hit the Reset button again. The furnace should start running again if the filter was the issue.


If you've exhausted all the steps to troubleshoot the issue and the furnace still isn't working, you may need to call a professional. The furnace might simply have lived out its life and need replacing. Or it may be another problem that an HVAC contractor, such as from Peterson Heating & Cooling, can diagnose and repair.