7 Basic Tips For Fixing Your Heater Like a Pro

November 2, 2021

Heater problems can happen to anyone at the most inconvenient times. Fortunately, not every heating system issue needs a professional to fix it. Below, we’ve prepared some essential troubleshooting steps that you can use to solve your heater’s problem without ever needing to pick up the phone (although we’re only a phone call away if you do need us)!


Use these tips to get your home’s heating system up and running again.

1. See if the thermostat is responding.

We know this seems extremely basic, but you’d be surprised how many people discover that their thermostat was the source of the issue. In certain models, dead or dying batteries in the device can cause your system to go haywire or not respond. Your thermostat might also not be receiving power due to a tripped circuit breaker.

2. Check the thermostat settings.

Again, this may seem very basic. However, someone in the family might have unknowingly changed the settings, or the thermostat might have reset itself due to a glitch.

Most contemporary thermostats come with two main options in their settings:

  • Auto: This setting will “tell” your system to heat air and run the fan whenever your home drops below the designated temperature on the thermostat. Using “auto” has the potential to save you the most on your energy bills.
  • On: This setting is going to keep your system’s fan running continuously, even when your heater isn’t actively warming air. If your system is running, but you feel cold air coming out of your vents, your system is probably set to “on.” You may want to adjust the temperature or switch to “auto.”

3. Change the air filter.

How long has it been since you’ve placed a clean air filter inside your HVAC system? Keep in mind that the more often you run your system, the sooner you’ll need to replace the filter.

Dirty filters can cause numerous heater problems, including weak airflow, reduced heating power, and overheating equipment. If your heater’s components get too hot, the system may have an automatic shut-off switch that shuts the equipment down to prevent irreversible damage.

4. Check the circuit breakers.

Even if you own a gas- or oil-burning heating system, there is some part of it that relies on electricity. Go to your home’s circuit breaker panel, and check for any circuit breakers that may have tripped. If you have a heat pump, there will be a circuit breaker for the outside unit and another circuit breaker for the inside unit. If any of the switches have tripped, reset them.

5. Check the ON/OFF switch.

Whether your furnace is located in a utility closet or in the attic, it should have a power switch that will look similar to a light switch you’d find on a wall. If the switch is off, your furnace won’t run, so simply flip the switch back on to get your heating system running again.

Similarly, if you own a heat pump, there will be an ON/OFF switch located outside on your home’s exterior wall. It should be right next to your heat pump’s outdoor unit. Double-check that the switch is turned on. You’ll probably need to lift up a little metal flap to access the switch inside a box that keeps it protected from the elements.

6. Open and securely close the furnace door.

Some furnaces have extremely sensitive safety features built into the equipment. If the door to the furnace isn’t securely in place, some models simply won’t run.

7. Check the gas valve by your furnace.

If you own a gas-powered furnace, the gas may have been shut off by someone in your household at the end of the last heating season or by an HVAC professional who was servicing your equipment. If the gas valve is open, the valve’s ON/OFF lever will be parallel to the gas pipe. If the valve is closed, the lever will be perpendicular to the pipe (forming a cross). Turn the lever so that it is parallel to the pipe to allow gas to flow into your furnace.

Still Having Heater Trouble?

At Winters Home Services, we take pride in providing reliable heating system repairs throughout Boston, Cambridge, and the surrounding areas. Give us a call at 617-221-5899 or contact us online today to get warmth back into your home!