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Plumbing • Heating • Cooling Services Sewer and Water Replacement


Broken Heater? What to Do Before Calling for Repairs

cold-man-with-thermostatOne of the worst house emergencies you might run into during the winter is when the central heating system stops working. Whether you use a furnace, boiler, or heat pump to keep your family warm through the winter, you may suddenly find that you aren’t getting any heat at all from it. What do you do?

If your first thought is to call for heater repair from HVAC professionals, you’re definitely on the right track. In cases where the heater has suffered a breakdown due to a malfunction, you only want professionals to service it. Trying to do the work yourself is likely to fail, and it can even be dangerous!

However, before you reach for the phone, it’s worth it to make a few checks to see if there is a simple explanation for the problem.

Check on the power

Make sure that your whole house still has power. During the middle of the day, you might not notice the loss of power to other parts of the house, only the heater stopping.

See if the thermostat is set correctly

This may seem silly, but mis-set or mis-programmed thermostats are frequently behind non-functioning heaters. Someone else in the house may have changed the program so the heater isn’t coming on when it normally should. You may find the thermostat screen is blank, which could be due to depleted batteries or some other trouble.

Check on the gas valve to the heater

For gas-powered boilers and furnaces, the problem may be the burners aren’t getting any fuel because of a shut valve. You should find the gas valve on the pipe next to the heating system. It might be stuck. If adjusting the gas valve doesn’t restore the heater, don’t attempt to tamper any further with the gas line.

Change the air filter if it’s clogged

A central forced-air system (furnace or heat pump) has a filter in it to prevent debris from getting into the cabinet through the return air ducts. The filter will eventually clog up, and if it’s not changed regularly for a new filter, the blockage can lead to the heater losing heating power. If you find the filter is completely clogged, put in a new one and see if this solves the issue.

See if any circuit breakers have tripped

Open the electrical panel and check on the circuit breaker to see if one has tripped. The electrical demand from the heater may have spiked and tripped the breaker. Yes, this applies to gas-powered furnaces as well! The blower fan that sends air through the furnace runs on electricity, and if this fails, the furnace won’t deliver any heat.

Once you reset the breaker, turn the heater on again to see if it works. If the heater trips the breaker again, it’s time to call for repairs.

You can trust our team to have your heater back in shape ASAP. One of our technicians can give you advice about replacement options if repairs are no longer cost-effective.

When it’s time for repairs, give us a call! Wm. Henderson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. serves Delaware County and The Main Line, PA.

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