What would cause a heater to stop working?

hvac system outside of house

Causes of a broken heater

Well, here in the Northeast, winter has already made its appearance. Was your heater ready or did you find yourself searching the internet for ‘heater repair company near me’ for last minute heater repair service?  If so, you weren’t the only one, most homeowners don’t have a maintenance program for their furnace or HVAC system.  

The purpose of the maintenance program is for possible issues and problems to be caught and repaired before winter hits. By having a professional heater repair technician handling your maintenance, they will have the heater repair parts immediately available and can usually make the heat repairs needed on the spot. 

In this piece, we are going to discuss heater repair and service calls for the heater repairman by answering a few questions that are results of having to make that heater repair phone call. Like the most common question,” Why is cold air blowing when the heat is on?”, to which there are several possible reasons. 

If you have turned on the heater and there is cold air blowing out of it, check the following things: 

  • The Thermostat:  Check the thermostat and make sure the fan is on the “auto” setting so that the fan turns on when the heater starts up and it is set on “heat”. This is what keeps warm air moving through the air ducts and heats the house.  
  • The Pilot Light: If your heat is gas powered, the pilot light may have blown out. Following the instructions in the owner’s manual, this is typically easy to light, but you’re not comfortable or confident, then call a professional heater repair service. 
  • The Flame Sensor: If the flame sensor is dirty, it cannot sense if the burner is producing warmth that signals the fan to start blowing the air through the air ducts. You can do your own heater repair by turning the heating unit off then back on to reset it. If the air blows warm for a few minutes then goes back to cold air, the flame sensor probably needs cleaning. This is not a DIY heater repair, so you’ll need to make a service call. 
  • The Filter: A common problem that technicians find when called for heater repair is a clogged filter.  This is one thing you can do is to keep the filter changed or cleaned every 30 days. When the filter is clogged, the warm air the flame sensor tells the fan to blow can’t get through to the air ducts. So if you’re getting cold air, check the filter and change it or clean it and see if that helps before making a heater repair service call. 

How do I fix my heater?

When it comes to furnaces and heaters, there possibilities of problems are many with these complex systems. Maintenance and upkeep are a must because of the many different parts and pieces. Here are a few things you can try for heater repair before calling a professional: 

  • Thermostat: Move it up a degree or two and see if that gets warm air blowing again. If not, make sure the fan is set at auto and heat. 
  • Air filter: Dirty air filters are the number one cause of heater repair calls and that service call could be avoided by changing the filter every 30 days. So, if you haven’t changed it in the last 30 days, do it now and see if that heats up the air coming from your furnace or heater. 
  • Leaking ductwork: Leaking ductwork is another common problem on heater repair calls, but because ductwork is  virtually invisible, it can be hard for a homeowner to realize there is a problem. This is one area that a maintenance program would take care, keeping it repaired or replaced as needed.  
  • Pilot light: A furnace or heater is gas powered, the pilot light may be out. If it is getting gas, relight it and allow it to heat up the system then try the heat again.  If that didn’t fix it, you’ll need professional heater repair service. 

How do I know if my heater core is clogged?

Because of the complexity of the internal working of a furnace or heater, it is recommended to have a professional heater repair service unclog any part of the system.  A boiler system can be filled with scalding hot water and should only be cleaned and unclogged by an experienced contractor. 

How do I reset my heater?

A furnace that is 30 years old or less  can be reset easily by pressing the reset button on the motor. The following steps can guide you through the process: 

  1. Turn the furnace power off at the circuit breaker.
  2. Remove the cover from the blower compartment (this may need a screwdriver) 
  3. On the blower motor there is a small red or yellow button – press it down.
  4. Replace the cover and turn the power back on at the breaker. 
HVAC heater repair parts

How many times can I hit the reset button on my furnace?

Twice should be the maximum number of times you press the reset button. If that has not restarted the heater, then there is an issue internally and technically that requires a professional heater repair service.

The heater is a complex system, but with a little patience and making time, you can maintain your heater without a professional heater repair call every time. However, when you have made the efforts we’ve described here, calling a professional service is the safest decision that will get your home warm. Call (240) 640-6578 today for heater repair in Lanham, MD.