What to do if your heat is not working, thermostat broken, furnace broken

Heat Not Working? 8 Steps to Troubleshoot

The cold weather is a reminder that a reliable heating system is essential for a cozy home during the colder months. However, if you find yourself facing a no-heat situation, it can be both inconvenient and uncomfortable. Before reaching for the phone to call a professional, consider these eight tips to troubleshoot and potentially resolve no-heat issues:


  1. Have Reasonable Expectations:

During extreme cold weather, it’s important to set realistic expectations for indoor temperature levels. Understand that your home may not be equipped to maintain a cozy temperature above 72 degrees Fahrenheit during severe cold spells. Heating systems may struggle to keep up with extremely low temperatures, and it’s crucial to be prepared for slightly cooler indoor conditions


  1. Check the Thermostat:

Start with the basics. Ensure that your thermostat is set to the desired temperature and is in the “heat” mode. Replace the batteries if needed.


  1. Inspect the Circuit Breaker:

A tripped circuit breaker can easily disrupt the heating system. Check the breaker box to make sure the circuit for your heating system is not tripped. Reset it if necessary and monitor for any further issues.


  1. Examine the Air Filter:

A clogged or dirty air filter can restrict airflow and strain your heating system. Replace or clean the filter regularly to maintain optimal performance. This simple task can make a significant difference in heat distribution. (Learn how to change your furnace filter here.)


  1. Pilot Light Inspection:

For gas furnaces, check the pilot light. If it’s out, relight it following the manufacturer’s instructions. If it doesn’t stay lit or if you smell gas, it’s crucial to call a professional immediately.


  1. Inspect Vents and Registers:

Ensure that all vents and registers are open and unobstructed. Blocked airflow can lead to uneven heating or no heat at all. Arrange furniture and remove any obstacles that may be restricting air circulation.


  1. Check for Frozen Pipes:

In extremely cold conditions, pipes leading to or from your heating system may freeze. Inspect visible pipes for signs of freezing, such as frost or ice buildup. Thaw the pipes gently using a hairdryer, but avoid using open flames.


Check out our blog with 8 tips to prevent frozen pipes!


  1. Consider External Factors:

External factors like heavy snowfall or ice accumulation around external vents or the intake/exhaust pipes can impede the proper functioning of your heating system. Clear away any snow or ice to ensure proper ventilation.


If you’re unable to identify or fix the problem, or if you encounter any issues with gas appliances, it’s best to call a professional HVAC technician. Remember that Welcome Home Milwaukee is here to help, if you need help with an emergency you can call our emergency line at 414.216.3024

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