Rochester NY Home Inspector Says Maintenance Matters

What do you do if you wake up to a cold house and the furnace isn’t running? Follow these checklists before you call the service company.

1. Check the thermostat. Is it set to “heat?” Is it set higher than the room temperature indicated on the dial? If it’s a digital thermostat, is the battery dead?

2. Check the on-off switch on the side of the furnace or near the furnace.

3. For a gas-fired furnace or boiler, check the furnace pilot light. If it’s out, light it, following the instructions on the furnace. If there is not pilot light, you have spark ignition or a hot surface igniter; the igniter should be hot or sparking as the furnace attempts to fire.

4. For a gas-fired furnace, is the gas off at the furnace or to your home? You can check this by seeing if the stove’s gas supply is on.

5. Is the breaker or fuse to the furnace turned off? Reset the breaker or re place the fuse; if it trips again, call a service technician.

6. Check the furnace fan compartment door. Some units have a safety switch that turns the furnace off when the door is ajar.

7. Check for a broken belt or a severely clogged air filter.

8. For an oil-fired furnace or boiler, follow the steps above and check the oil supply in the storage tank. If you are out of oil, arrange for oil delivery and burner service. An oil burner that runs out of oil will need service to restart.

9. For a heat pump, follow the steps above and check whether the outside unit is iced up. If it is, call for service. Check the main fuses or breaks on the disconnect at the unit and at the main distribution panel.

Make sure you tag the important items in your home so your family members can locate them in an emergency and contact a service company if needed.

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