What to Do When the Heat Isn't Working

If your heat is not working, the first thing to do is figure out why. In most cases, the cause of a furnace heating system not working is actually a malfunctioning thermostat or a tripped breaker (or blown fuse), and not a problem with the furnace itself.

Follow these steps to get to the source of the problem:

  1. Make sure your thermostat is set to heat mode.
  2. If your thermostat is battery-powered, try changing the batteries to see if it helps.
  3. Check that the circuit breaker is on and that the breaker for the furnace has not tripped.
  4. Be sure the furnace's power switch is turned on. It is usually located next to or inside the furnace cabinet. If it is off, turn the switch on and wait for the furnace to start up.
  5. The motor in your furnace may need to be reset if it was overloaded. There should be a reset button near the motor. Press the button. If nothing happens, wait a half hour and try again.
  6. Turn off the power to the furnace at the main electrical panel or sub-panel. Look for a fuse on the power switch. If there is one and it has blown, change it following the manufacturer's instruction manual.

If your heat is still not working, then you will probably need to hire an HVAC contractor to come out and repair your heating system.

Updated December 7, 2017.

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