We’ve been experiencing frigid temperatures this winter and the cold weather shows no sign of slowing down. When the mercury dips, that’s often when furnaces have issues or break down. Last winter in Ontario, when the temperature fell below -15°C, we saw a steep increase in heating system calls compared to days when the temperature was -14°C or warmer.
While it’s important to have your furnace maintained regularly in order to prevent future problems from occurring, furnace breakdowns that happen unexpectedly can disrupt your life. Here are five steps to take if you realize your furnace may not be working properly:
Step one: know the warning signs. Keep your eyes and ears out for signs that may signal your furnace is on the verge of breaking down: strange noises, frequent cycling, leaks and trouble reaching set temperature.
Step two: check the power. Your furnace needs electricity to run, so check to make sure the breaker is on at the panel. As well, check that your thermostat batteries (if you have them) are good. Some thermostat screens will display “Lo Bat” if the batteries need replacing.
Step three: change your furnace filter. Filters clogged with dust and debris put a furnace at risk of shutting down. It’s best to replace filters every three months to help air flow through your system and ensure your furnace isn’t being over worked.
Step four: hire an expert. If your furnace does break down and you get stuck in the cold, call a highly-trained technician to properly inspect and service your heating equipment to get it working again fast.
Step five: stay warm. Direct Energy technicians can be there as fast as the same day when you have a breakdown, but to stay warm while you wait make sure windows are closed properly, close off unused rooms and bundle up!
As always, it’s important to schedule a furnace inspection before winter hits from a professionally-trained technician to diagnose problem areas and detect potential issues with parts like the ignition, motor, belts or bearings that could cause a potential breakdown.