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A Super Quick Guide to Heating System Troubleshooting

quick guide to heating system troubleshooting for masschusetts homeowners

heating system troubleshooting

Harsh winters make a well-functioning heating system a staple in every Massachusetts household. If your home isn’t as warm as you would like it to be, or if you suspect trouble, here is a quick heating system troubleshooting guide to help resolve a few common problems.

Common Furnace Problems

If your furnace isn’t running at all:

  • Your first stop should be the circuit breaker to be sure it is not tripped or that a fuse has not blown.
  • Next, visit your thermostat to be sure it is on and functioning properly.
  • Then, check all power supplies to your furnace including power cords and safety switches to be sure there are no interruptions of power.

Beyond power and thermostat trouble, the most common cause of furnace failures and heating issues is a lack of maintenance. Annual cleanings and inspections will make sure your furnace is running safely and efficiently. Dirty filters are another routine problem; they reduce airflow and cause your furnace to work harder than it needs to, even causing your furnace to cycle on and off frequently.

If you have a gas furnace that isn’t heating, check to be sure the pilot light hasn’t gone out. Beyond the pilot light, any suspected problems with the gas supply or combustion-related parts should only be serviced by a professional, as there is a high risk of fire or other dangerous conditions that can arise.

Some other common furnace troubles include:

  • Noisy Operation. Rattling and squeaking are not a part of proper furnace operation. If your furnace is too noisy, it’s time to call for service.
  • Continuous Operation. If the furnace–or just the blower–are continuously running, this could point to a faulty limit switch or trouble with the airflow. Both of these problems require a trained professional to resolve.
  • No Heat/Not Enough Heat. If you’ve eliminated the thermostat and the filter is the source of the problem, insufficient heating could be the result of an undersized furnace or problems with the airflow. Call for service to get to the bottom of these troubles.

Boiler Troubleshooting

If you home is heated with a central boiler system and you are experiencing trouble, the first step is to reset your boiler by turning it off, waiting a minute, and then turning it back on again. If this does not resolve the problem, your heating system troubleshooting checklist will include the following items:

  • Thermostat. Make sure that your thermostat is on and that the temperature is set higher than the actual room temperature. Thermostats will deteriorate over time, especially older analog models, so if yours is past its prime, consider replacing it. Bonus Tip: You can get a programmable thermostat included as part of your no-cost Mass Save home energy assessment.
  • Pilot Light. If your boiler is gas-powered, check to be sure the pilot light has not gone out. A pilot that continually goes out could point to a faulty thermocouple–a part that is easily replaced by a professional.
  • Pressure Gauge. Most boiler systems must be properly pressurized to work safely and efficiently. If your pressure readings are normal, it could point to air in the lines. Low and high pressure readings need to be inspected by a professional.

One-Stop Heating System Troubleshooting

If you’ve tried these basic heating system troubleshooting steps and your heating system is still not running as well as you would like, schedule a no-cost Mass Save home energy assessment with Energy Monster. In addition to a whole-house assessment:

  • A trained energy adviser will perform a safety and efficiency check of your home’s heating system.
  • The adviser will also help you figure out whether heating problems are due to some other cause unrelated to the heating system. For example, insufficient insulation or drafty windows could be thwarting the efforts of your heating system and making your home chilly.
  • Once the assessment is complete, you will receive a written report of all the problems found along with a list of recommendations to resolve them.

If you would like to learn more about what’s included with each home energy assessment, visit our Home Energy Assessment page. If you’re ready to jump in and start saving energy while cutting down heating expenses, schedule your energy audit today!

schedule mass save home energy audit



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