Now that it’s getting colder, you’ve probably started to switch from using cooling to heating to keep your home comfortable. So when your heater won’t turn on or isn’t heating your home properly, it makes sense if your first thought is to call an HVAC or heating company – though if you’re reading this article, it’s likely that your first instinct was to Google “Why isn’t my heater working?”.

Don’t worry – we’ve got your back. No need to have us or anyone else come do repairs if you can fix the problem yourself! We’re going to look at some of the most common reasons your heater won’t turn on – think of this as a troubleshooting guide of sorts. We’ll let you know which problems you can probably fix on your own, and which ones you might need our help with. 

Let’s get that heating fixed!


Heating problems you can fix yourself


The thermostat isn’t functioning properly

There can be a few potential problems with your thermostat. The first, and one of the most common, is that it isn’t set to heat. Make sure it’s set to heat mode, and adjust it to your desired temperature. 

There may also be an on/off switch on your thermostat – if there is, make sure it’s in the “on” position. 

Your thermostat might also be out of batteries – this is likely the case if the thermostat’s screen is blank. Replace the batteries, and you should be good to go!

If none of these things fixed your problem, then you’ll have to move on to the next step.


Your HVAC or furnace’s circuit breaker was tripped

Again, the solution to this problem is pretty straightforward – flip the breaker, and your heating unit should turn on again. If it doesn’t, there’s another problem.

It’s important to know that if your circuit breaker keeps tripping, it’s likely there’s some other problem with your heating unit. If you’ve got a heat pump, dirty condensers can cause your unit to start drawing too much power, which can trip a circuit breaker. 

Generally, if your condenser is so dirty that it’s causing your circuit breaker to trip, you’re beyond the point of being able to clean it yourself, and you should call a professional. Clogged filters can also cause problems. If your filter looks dirty, and you have the know-how, change it. 

It’s not a good idea to keep flipping the circuit breaker on if it keeps shutting off – there could be a larger issue at work, and the potential for electrical fires. Proceed with caution – we strongly recommend calling a professional.


Your unit is powered off, or needs to be reset

“Have you tried turning it off and on again” is the battle cry of many technicians, and HVAC technicians are no exception. Your unit may have been shut off by accident – check the switch. If it’s off, turn it on.

Another option is to reset your unit. Some units have a reset button, while for other units, it’s best to simply flip the circuit breaker off, then turn it back on in about 5 minutes. 

Those of you who have a furnace with a pilot light may find that your pilot light is off – with no pilot light, the furnace can’t operate. Your furnace should have instructions on how to relight the pilot light. If you follow those instructions, and they don’t work, there might be a problem with your thermocouple. If it’s dirty, make sure the furnace and gas are off, then carefully clean it. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may need to call us. 

Your indoor blower unit may also be shut off – there’s usually a switch in your attic that turns it on and off. If you’ve had guests over, or you have small children, they may have switched the blower unit off by mistake. Find the switch and turn it on – and if it’s not labelled, consider labelling it for next time.


Heating problems that you can’t fix yourself

If you’ve been through this whole list of solutions, and your unit still isn’t working, it’s likely a problem that needs to be fixed by a professional. There are all sorts of things that can stop your heating unit from turning on, including:

  • A blown fuse
  • Motor failure
  • A faulty power cord

All of these problems need to be addressed by an HVAC technician. We offer AC repair in San Marcos and the surrounding area. You can read more info here – give us a call if you’ve followed our troubleshooting tips and the problem still persists. We’re here to help.