Have you ever heard the saying, “You don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone?”

If you find yourself without a functioning heating unit on a bitterly cold winter day this year, you’ll deeply understand the truth of that old adage.

While no one ever really assumes their furnace will malfunction in the middle of winter, the reality is that it can happen at any time. And if it’s going to happen, Murphy’s Law says it’ll happen when you need your furnace most.

Luckily, you can still keep yourself warm if your heating system gets finicky when it’s cold outdoors. Read on to learn all about what you should do if your furnace breaks down in winter.

Troubleshoot Your Furnace in 7 Steps

If your furnace isn’t doing its job the way it normally does, here’s what you can do to try and diagnose the problem.

1. Check the Power

Look at your breaker box to ensure the furnace’s dedicated circuit didn’t flip the breaker. This is a common cause of what seems like a breakdown, but it’s easily fixable.

2. Test Your Thermostat

Is your thermostat set to heat? If so, put it five degrees warmer than its current setting. If you don’t hear the furnace turn on immediately, the thermostat may be the problem.

3. Examine the Furnace

Look at your unit to ensure the pilot light is on, the shut-off switch isn’t flipped, and the blower motor cover is secure.

4. Check Your Air Filter

Do you remember the last time you changed your HVAC filter? If it’s filthy, it could be affecting your furnace’s performance (check out how to improve your furnace efficiency).

5. Check Your Vents

Make sure all of the vents in your home are open. If any are closed, they can cause uneven heating and force the system to work unnecessarily hard.

6. Take a Whiff

Do you smell a gas-like odor? If so, you have a leak and should leave your house immediately. Turn off the gas at the supply valve and immediately call a furnace repair pro.

Want to get the most out of your heating system? Check out our top tips for extending the life of your furnace.

7. Check Your Fuses

If there’s an electrical short or too much strain on your system, blown fuses will happen, and the right one getting blown will shut down your furnace, especially if it has a higher electrical demand and your system isn’t updated to compensate for this.

Replacing the fuse can be an easy resolution, but if you are unfamiliar with the steps, it is recommended that you call for assistance.

Call a Furnace Repair Specialist

Call a pro to schedule a furnace inspection and repairs if your heating system malfunctions and DIY troubleshooting doesn’t help. Whether your furnace is blowing lukewarm air, heating your house unevenly, or blowing ice-cold air, a furnace repair expert can fix the issue.

Remember, though, that in the Twin Cities area, furnace service and repair companies can be super busy throughout the winter. You may be unable to have your unit serviced for several hours or, in an unfortunate scenario, an entire day. If you have to wait a bit, you must take measures to keep yourself warm.

Keep Warm While You Wait

If you can’t schedule emergency furnace repairs, placing a few space heaters around your house is the simplest thing you can do to stay warm while you wait.

Just ensure you unplug heaters when you aren’t paying attention to them and place them far away from any upholstered items or things that can melt.

Of course, if you have a backup wood stove that you keep well-maintained, you can use that, too. But if you have a fireplace or stove that hasn’t been properly cleaned and serviced in years, don’t use it in a pinch. It could put your house at risk for a fire.

Add Insulation to Your Space

If you have to wait for emergency repair, close all doors to rooms that are not in use to help keep as much warm air in the house as possible. Minimizing how much individuals are going inside and outside and hanging blankets and drapes across windows will reduce the cold air that flows in and help the warm air last longer until a technician arrives.

Turn on the Faucets and Wrap the Pipes

Dealing with a nonfunctioning furnace is challenging enough, and the last thing you want is to have to navigate frozen pipes on top of this. To prevent this, open cabinet doors under your kitchen and bathroom sinks and place a portable heater near them.

If it will be a while before a repair specialist can get there, wrap your pipes with at least an inch of foam, newspaper, or rags and reinforce them with aluminum foil or plastic wrap for additional protection.

Need Furnace Repairs in the Twin Cities?

If your furnace is due for routine cleaning and service, or you need to schedule furnace repairs this winter, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Dust Doctors for help! To get started, call our Little Canada office at 651-319-9777 or request a free service quote online, and we’ll get in touch.

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