Troubleshooting Your Home Heating System
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated February 11, 2022)
Troubleshooting your home heating system is something that anyone can do to, and should do, to prepare for the coming of winter. Instead of waiting till the middle of the first big snow storm, take some time to use these simple guidelines to see if your home heating system is up to snuff. Simply work on each of the bulleted items, and by the end of the list you will have covered the major reasons for a malfunctioning heating system
- Test the thermostat. Does your thermostat work? The easiest way to check this is by simply changing the temperature. Reset the thermostat to a higher setting, and see if your heater kicks in. If it does, great. If it doesn't, then you need to do a little further checking. Be sure that you also check to see if it works in the other direction as well. What this means is that after the heater comes on, and you let it run, turn the thermostat back down. The heater should either immediately stop, or stop within the next couple of minutes.
- Test your thermostat's thermometer. Every thermostat has a thermometer. The thermometer is what tells your thermostat what temperature your home is at. The easiest way to test if your thermostat's thermometer is working properly is through the use of an old fashioned thermometer and some tape. Tape your thermometer to the wall near your thermostat and wait. After a few minutes the thermometer should read the same temperature as your thermostat. If it doesn't then you need to have someone come and recalibrate it.
- Check the power source. Make sure that your thermostat is receiving the proper amount of power. If you need to have it plugged in, be sure that this is done so. However, most modern thermostats use a battery. When preparing your home for the winter, be sure that you always replace the batteries. This will ensure that your thermostat has a fresh electrical source, and should last through the winter.
- Check pilot lights. One of the major reasons for a home heating system to experience problems is through the pilot light being out. Simply taking the time to check and make sure that your pilot light is lit can ensure that you don't call a repairman out for any unnecessary (and expensive) work. On the average, you should check your pilot light once at the beginning of the season, and at least once a month till the end of the season.
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