Learning About Furnaces

3 Tips For Addressing A Malfunctioning Furnace

During the cold winter months, having a properly functioning heating system is not only recommended, it is necessary. If your heating system is not working properly, or worse yet, not at all, there might be a few things you can do for it. However, if your system consistently fails or refuses to work properly, it is highly recommended that you call upon the services of a heating system repair professional. Throughout the course of this brief guide, you'll learn of a few tips for how to address a malfunctioning furnace.

Control Board

Many furnaces manufactured over the last 15 or so years have a digital, centralized control board that controls the functions of the entire furnace. Usually, somewhere located on the control board, is either a red or green light. This light will usually be steady, or will turn off and on as a series of pulses. For example, it might blink three times, then remain static for a few seconds. Consult your user's guide or manual that came with your furnace, and the way that this light blinks (or simply remains static), can usually tell you precisely what is malfunctioning in your furnace.  

Check Gas Output

If your house doesn't seem to be heating up, the first thing that you should do is to make sure that you are receiving gas throughout the house. Ensure that you have gas running to your stove and that you're able to use hot water. You should also check the pilot light on your furnace. This is usually located at the bottom of the furnace, in the center, facing you. Relighting the pilot light will require you to push a pilot light button located on the gas valve, or light a match in order to rekindle the flame.


If your furnace kicks on, but refuses to stay on, or shuts down shortly after turning on, this could be an issue with one of the sensors. Check near the pilot light to examine your pilot sensor. This object is a small rod that, depending on your furnace model, will either be straight or L-shaped. Ensure that it is free of corrosion or is not being blocked by any debris. It is recommended that you wipe down the sensor with sand paper, and try turning the pilot light on.

Dealing with your furnace when it isn't working can be a bit of an annoying experience. Hopefully, you have learned how to troubleshoot your furnace when it is not working properly.