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“Fix My Heater! Why Is The Heater Not Working In My House?”

Fix my heater. What to check if your heater stops working.

Taking care of the heater in our house is something many of us don’t think about – until we have to. We depend on our furnace or heat pump to keep us warm and comfortable when the weather turns cold, but what happens when it stops working? Here are some tips to help you avoid emergency heating repairs, some steps you can take to fix the heater yourself, and how to know when to call a pro.

How To Avoid Many Problems That Cause A Heater To Stop Working

Remember the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Nothing could be more true than when it comes to your home heating system. Our communities in Cumming, Northern Metro Atlanta and North Georgia are well known for long, hot summers and infrequent severe winter weather. But when it is cold (and it does get COLD), we need for our home heater to work!

Suffering through nights of cold weather in a home without heat is uncomfortable, and can be dangerous for us, our families and even our pets. Here are some tips to help you avoid sudden heater breakdowns and unexpected heating problems, and how to handle the need for repairs.

Replace your air filters regularly. “How often?” you ask. That depends. The general rules of thumb is to change filters every three months, but your filters may need to be replaced more frequently. Factors that impact how often you need to replace the air filters include having pets, the age of your HVAC system and equipment, and if you live in dusty location. The best way to know is to inspect your filter visually once a month. If you notice any buildup of dirt, debris, pet hair, dust, etc. then it’s best to replace the filter.

Keeping a fresh filter in place will help improve indoor air quality, and also helps your HVAC operate better. Dirty, clogged filters put extra strain on your forced air heating system, making it work harder than it should have to. This strain will cause problems, even breakdowns, over time if ignored.

Use your thermostat correctly. Make sure to keep your thermostat setting on “auto” instead of “on.” This will allow the system to run only when needed to establish and maintain your desired indoor temperature. Your home will stay comfortable without putting unnecessary stress on your HVAC system.

If you have a programmable thermostat, learn to use it. Many households will program their thermostats for a lower cold weather temperature during part of the day if no one is home. Others may like it cooler at night for sleeping. Whatever your preference, properly setting the thermostat according to your preferences will not only save you money on energy costs, but prevent your heater from having to run as much during those times, giving it a rest.

Don’t make big adjustments to your thermostat setting unless it’s absolutely necessary to test it. If you program your thermostat, or make manual adjustments to the set temperature, keep the adjustments small. It’s actually more energy efficient and far better for your heater to keep the overall temperature within a few degrees of your ideal setting. Cranking up your heater puts a lot of strain on it, and doing this often can cause parts to wear out more quickly.

Get annual checkups and maintenance performed by a professional. There’s a reason that warranty companies almost always require annual professional heater maintenance to keep the warranty intact. A thorough heating system cleaning, inspection and maintenance is needed every year, ideally during fall, to address small problems that, if left ignored, become big ones – even those dreaded and expensive full breakdowns!

There are lots of sources on the internet showing DIY HVAC maintenance, but in reality, only a trained professional should perform inspections and repairs. Sure, you can (and should) make sure the areas around all the parts of your heating system are kept clean and and clear of clutter, debris, and basically anything that can block air flow. But the rest should be handled by someone who is fully trained. Not only it is common for homeowners to damage their systems while attempting their own maintenance and repairs, there are very real health concerns to consider.

Electrical and gas components must be handled with precision and the vast majority of DIYers are not adequately equipped or knowledgeable to handle those aspects. Failing to identify faulty wiring or a gas leak, or causing these accidentally, can be very dangerous! It’s just not worth the risk.

Don’t ignore warning signs. If your system is running longer than it used to, or it’s cycling on and off frequently, that’s a good sign that it needs to be checked and undergo some maintenance. If your home’s temperature doesn’t match up with the thermostat setting or you have strange odors or sounds coming from your unit or ductwork, it’s best to have someone find and resolve the root issue before your heater becomes critically in need of repair. Waiting doesn’t make problems go away, and if you wait until they get worse you’ll likely end up needing costly repairs that might have been prevented with good regular maintenance.

What if your heater stopped working?

If your heater isn’t working well enough to keep you comfortable, or it shuts down entirely, there are a few things you can quickly check to try that might fix the problem.

Check your thermostat. It sounds crazy, but thermostats can get turned off or adjusted accidentally. It could happen during cleaning or while kids are playing. Someone may have turned it off during mild weather and never turned it back on. Sometimes a thermostat can reset without us knowing. It happens! If your heater isn’t working, start with the thermostat, it’s quick, easy, and this happens more than you might suspect.

Check your air filter, and replace it if needed. Look at the air filter and if you see any buildup, go ahead and change it out. Even if it’s not causing your immediate problem, if it’s dirty it needs to be replaced to prevent additional problems.

Check the circuit breakers. This isn’t electrical work so it’s perfectly safe. Check your breakers and make sure that the one controlling your heating unit is on. Even gas furnaces need power to run, so if the breaker is off simply flip it back on. Heat pumps have two breakers, one of the inside unit and one for the outdoors unit. Make sure you check both.

Check the ON/OFF switch. Furnaces typically have a power switch that looks similar to a wall light switch. For a furnace, the switch will be nearby wherever your furnace is located such as your attic, a closet, or basement. Heat pumps have power switches located inside a metal box next to the outside unit. Whichever type of heater you have, check to make sure it’s switched on.

What to do if your heater’s still not working

Check out a company’s webpage. Does it state the hours of operation? Can you call and speak with someone 24/7? Does it provide a good description of the services they offer? Great companies offer a variety of services related to taking care of your whole HVAC system. Not only is this convenient for you for future needs, it means that they have the experience to see the whole picture when evaluating a furnace or heat pump for repairs. Where is the company headquartered? Local is best, these companies tend to be truly care about their reputation and are invested in their communities – not just after quick profit. Is the webpage professional and helpful? Everyone has a website, but it should be easy to use and informative. A good website should answer your most important questions and give you an idea of what the company is like. It should help you quickly find the information you want and then contact them with ease.

Always read reviews! This is probably one of the best ways to find out what other people really think of a company is to look at their reviews. You can read others’ experiences with the company, get an accurate picture of customers’ overall satisfaction, and also see what is being said about things that are particularly important to you. That may be price, speed of service, the knowledge and professionalism of their customer service team and technicians, if they treat homeowners and their property respectfully, and if others feel the company is fair and honest. It is helpful to read specific comments about factors that are important to you and this can help you choose who to call. Big “brand” recognition doesn’t always mean a company is better. Sometimes it’s the one that’s not flashy, but quietly busy providing excellent service that’s a better fit for you.

Don’t let concerns about cost hold you back. Don’t let cost stand in the way, and don’t assume repairs are going to be expensive. At Kennon Heating and Air Conditioning, we recently had a technician discover a total system shutdown was caused simply by a couple of damaged screws. The homeowner was thrilled when five minutes and no repair charge later, their system was running perfectly again! If your problem isn’t that easy to fix and repairs are needed, a good company will be able to present multiple options to help you make a decision that works for you. Good companies will also have access to fair HVAC financing options.

Final thoughts on fixing a heater in your house

At some point or another, we all need heater repair. If you’ve ever had to go without heat for even a couple of days you know how miserable it is! It can also be dangerous for young children, the elderly, and people with underlying health problems. Waiting doesn’t make a problem go away, it will only become worse. Try to have regular maintenance performed and call your local HVAC company when you first notice issues. Even with the best upkeep, sometimes unexpected repairs are needed.

You can be proactive and check for easy – and common – causes, such as dirty air filters, incorrect thermostat settings, and making sure the power is on. As tempting as it may be to try to tackle actual repairs, in reality it doesn’t usually turn out how you want it to. All of those videos online make it look easy to do things like line flushes and fixing ductwork, but keep in mind that the person showing you how to do it is an experienced professional. That will make it appear fast and simple, but you may find that in reality, doing something you’ve never done and only partially understand is not so easy after all. It might be worth giving it a try if not for the fact that you could further damage your heater or furnace and even create hazards that are dangerous to you, your family and your property.

We’re Here To Help When You Need Us

At Kennon Heating and Air Conditioning, we hope that you don’t experience a sudden breakdown or have your comfort at home reduced by problems with the heater in your house. However, if you do find yourself in need of a qualified expert technician, please give us a call at 678-251-9776 or complete the form below.

Five Star Reviews

"Of course my furnace stopped working on one of the few cold days we have had this new year. I was very grateful that this company has emergency Sunday hours because that is when I needed them. The technician was exceptional. He found the problem in less than a minute and fixed it. He also took the time to make sure the rest of the unit was in good shape. I will definitely be using the company in the future for both furnace and AC. Derek Anders rocks!"
Tiff L.

"They have been Great! Both of my systems were over 20 years old and needed replacing. I gathered several quotes from other companies and was impressed with their attention to detail, professionalism. My new systems are awesome. I am very pleased with them and my decision to go with Kennon."
Bill Walker


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