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Safety Steps to Follow When Doing End-of-Season Furnace Maintenance

Broken Furnace 1Before you start work on a furnace that won’t run, take these preliminary steps every time because they usually solve your problem:

  • If your furnace won’t start up or run at all, first make sure the furnace is receiving power and then if need be to look for any blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers at the main entrance panel on the furnace or another heating unit. Some furnaces have a separate power entrance that’s commonly located at a secondary panel that sits close to the main panel. Some furnaces have fuses mounted in the areas just inside these panels so you always need to check for them.
  • If the unit has a reset button labeled “RESET” near the motor housing, wait 30 minutes to let the motor cool, then press the button to allow for a reset of the whole system.  If the unit still doesn’t start up or run like it should after resetting the unit, wait another 30 minutes and press the reset button again. If this doesn’t solve your problem, it’s time to call Super Plumbing, Heating, and Air to have a service tech handle things.
  • If the unit has a separate power switch, make sure the switch is turned on.  The best way to verify you have power and that it’s the right amount of power is to use a multimeter.  You can find a multimeter for under $20 at any big box store, or at any hardware store, you have locally.  It will definitively tell you if you have power or not, and if it’s safe to work on so you don’t have any risk of getting shocked.
  • Check to make sure the thermostat is properly set to a high enough temperature to signal the furnace that it needs to start up to satisfy the demand for heat.
  • If the unit uses gas, check to make sure the gas supply is turned on and the pilot light is lit.  Some furnaces also use oil so be sure to check the oil level and make sure it’s where it should be according to the manufacturer’s suggestions found in your unit’s manual.

 

There are also several important safety factors to remember ALL THE TIME (not just when doing maintenance on the furnace):

  • Before doing any work on your furnace or any other heater in your home, make sure all power to the system is turned off at the main breaker box to kill the source of its power supply.   Simply flip the circuit breaker or even remove the fuse that controls the power to the unit and you will be good concerning power. If you’re not sure which breaker the furnace runs on, just trip the top “main” breaker and cut off all power to the house to be on the safe side. Some furnaces have a separate power entrance through a secondary panel near the main entrance panel.  If a separate panel is present, remove the fuse or trip the breaker, there as well to be sure you don’t have any power left in the system anywhere.
  • If the fuse blows or the circuit keeps tripping when the furnace tries to start up once you turn it on, a problem in the electrical system is most likely the problem. In this case, do not try to fix the furnace yourself and just call Super Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning and let a professional get things fixed up safely and properly.
  • For gas furnaces, the smell of gas in your home IS NOT NORMAL and is very dangerous for a number of reasons.  It’s critical that you do not try to shut off the gas or turn any lights on or off as there could be a chance they’d cause an explosion.  Get out of the house immediately. Leave the door you exit through open to allow fresh air to enter the area with the gas. Call your gas company or the fire department to report a likely leak. Do not reenter your home.

 

To keep your heating as well as your cooling systems in top shape it is important that you have them professionally serviced once a year by your friends here at Super Plumbing, Heating , and Air Conditioning. The best time to have a furnace serviced is at the end of the heating season after it’s been run so often and hard, plus there’s the added benefit of discounts that may be available this time of year.  Call anytime to schedule your annual service checkup!