Heat Not Working In House – What To Do?

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During winter, warm air needs to be circulated around the home. Heat not working properly can be uncomfortable and might even lead to health issues. If you're facing this problem and you're unsure of what to do, here's what HVAC professionals suggest you do. 

The filter is the first area you should check when a home's heat does not work. This is because a clogged or dirty filter will hinder the smooth running of your heating system. It must be cleaned and changed regularly. Other reasons why your home's heat might not work include: 

  • Improper Thermostat Settings
  • The Gas is Off
  • Debris in the Exhaust
  • Dirty Drain and Drain Lines
  • Blocked Ducts
  • Cracked Heat Exchanger

Apart from a clogged filter, you should troubleshoot these other reasons your heat might not be working. Keep reading to learn about these common issues and the best way to fix them. 

A Radiator heater on the side of the wall, Heat Not Working In House - What To Do?

Reasons Heat is Not Working at Home

There are several reasons heat would not work. Though each has its severity level and you can either resolve it yourself or with the help of an HVAC professional. Here are common reasons associated with the heat in your home now working:

Improper Thermostat Settings

White digital thermostat mounted on a concrete wall

Turning on your thermostat is one thing, and the other is setting it to heat. If your thermostat is not set correctly at the correct point, then the furnace might not produce heat. Perhaps at this point, there is no problem with your furnace yet; you just need to adjust the settings. 

Clogged Air Filter

Most homeowners do not follow the rules and terms in the manuals of their home devices. Cleaning your furnace or AC filter can increase their lifespan, but if you don't keep it clean, it can't work properly. A clogged filter has a thick layer of dirt and dust around it, which will block the proper functioning of the furnace.

The Gas is Off

You should check the gas if you notice your heat is not working properly. If the gas is not turned on, the furnace will not work either. If you are low on gas, you can also face the same problem.

Debris in the Exhaust 

Since you can't control where dirt and debris will settle, you should check the exhaust of your furnace too. Usually, you should find debris in the exhaust if you haven't cleaned it in a while. Once the exhaust is blocked, there is a possibility that your furnace won't function well since waste products aren't directed through the right channel. 

Dirty Drain Lines and Drain

The drain lines and drains are the passageways for the condensing moisture in the furnace. One of the residues of the furnace process is water condensing in the system when turning cold to warm air. Although, they will be pushed out of the system via the drain lines.

If the drain line is dirty and clogged, the condensed moisture might be unable to leave the furnace system. They accumulate and later affect the furnace working process.

Blocked Ducts

Metal ducting's at a building

Air moving in and out of the furnace is passed through the ducts. It functions as the arteries and veins of the furnace. If the ducts are blocked, air can not come in, and no process can take place afterward to provide warm air for you. 

Cracked Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger only becomes completely cracked after a while of not working properly. The most likely reason a heat exchanger can get cracked is the force of the pressure surrounding it when other systems are not entirely efficient. A cracked heat exchanger is a significant sign that you should check for other irregularities in your heat system. 

How to Fix Heat Not Working a Home

Woman changing the heater setting for the living room

The first step to solving a heat problem is discovering where the issue is coming from. Once you have done that, it is time to find a way to troubleshoot or resolve the problem.

If you have the right skills, you can fix any of the heat systems that are not working without paying an HVAC expert to fix them. If not, employ the services of a technician to avoid accidents or fire incidents. Here are ways you can try out. 

Set Your Thermostat

Once you notice the problem is from your thermostat, reset it and ensure it is back to the standard heat. And if you are using an automated thermostat, do not hesitate to put it on hold where the heat level is right for you. 

Meanwhile, if the problem persists even after making adjustments to your thermostat, then the thermostat might not be responding. If it's not dead batteries, maybe some parts of the inner component are damaged.

Also, a glitch in the thermostat from the changes of resetting the thermostat can result in its lag. The best you can do is to check the settings or ask for help in doing so.

Clean or Change The Air Filter

Just like all other HVAC systems around the home, you are required to clean your furnace or heater once in a while. You can even unscrew them to remove the dust on the inner parts. 

If the filters are clogged, you can clean them. Changing the filters might be the best remedy problems with filters. A clogged air filter is the reason for most of the failures and inefficiency in a heating system, and reduced heating power. 

Switch Off/On The Heating System

The problem with your heating system might be from a wire shorting. You can easily switch off the heating system for a while, then turn it on again. It should start heating properly. 

Switch On The Gas

As explained earlier, the gas valve powering your heating system might be turned off. And without the gas, the furnace will not work either. If it's not turned on, switch it off. If it was on earlier, switch it off and switch it on after some minutes. 

Clear The Exhaust

A blocked exhaust, too, might be the main reason your heat will not work. The first thing you should do to solve this is to clear the exhaust. After carrying out all these recommended solutions, if the problem persists, then you might need to meet with an HVAC expert to help with the problem.

How Long Will a House Stay Warm Without Heat? 

If your house has been without an efficient heat system for a while, you should expect the warm air to disappear quickly. Especially during winter, when the atmosphere will turn very cold in hours.

For the next 8-12 hours after the heating system has been off, the house might still be warm. After that, you might start to experience cold air. Meanwhile, it will take days for the whole house to become surmounted by cold air or the effect of winter.

What To Do If The Furnace Stops Working in Winter? 

Changing the heater setting

If your furnace stops working, you can check the thermostat too. The problem might be coming from there. If it's not a clogged filter, condensation drain, drain line, or lousy fuse, the circuit can be the cause. You can clear or clean the clogged part and repair the other parts.

Why is My Thermostat On But With No Heat? 

Below is the common reason your thermostat will be on but still not produce any heat:

  • A dirty filter
  • A lagging thermostat
  • A low battery in the thermostat
  • Wrong settings in the thermostat
  • The pilot ignitor is bad

How Do You Reset Your Heater? 

Here are the steps involved in resisting a heater:

  1. Turn off the gas control and ensure the thermostat is switched off.
  2. Cut off any electric circuit or gas supply from the heater. 
  3. Locate the reset button
  4. Hold down the button until you hear a click sound. 
  5. With this, you have successfully reset your heater.

Why Is My Heating System Blowing Cold Air? 

A furnace or any other heating system should be blowing warm air and not the other way round. Usually, the reason for the heating system blowing cold air are issues with the condensate lines, pilot light, air filters, flame detector, and heat supply.

The pilot light is supposed to ignite to convert the cold air, but if it is not working due to any of the reasons above, then the same air that goes in will surely come out. 

Where Is The Reset Button on a Furnace? 

Not all furnaces have a reset button. For those that have, it is usually located next to the furnace's motor or sometimes it can be located around the control panel of the furnace. You can use the reset button to completely switch off a furnace. 

In Summary

A Radiator heater on the side of the wall

The heating system in the home helps to manage the amount of heat that circulates in the air. Without them, it would be challenging to stay comfortable through the cold weather. If your heat isn't working properly, it would help if you tried some troubleshooting tips mentioned above. 

To learn more about heating systems, check out these articles: 

Heat Pumps Heats But Does Not Cool - What is Wrong? 

Where to Put Heat Registers in Basement 

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