Troubleshooting a Finicky Heating System

Published On: January 19, 20230 Comments on Troubleshooting a Finicky Heating SystemTags: Last Updated: January 27, 20245.5 min read

So your heat isn’t working so well. Maybe it isn’t heating rooms evenly throughout the house, or maybe there are strange sounds coming from the furnace. Before calling in the professionals there are a few ways you can troubleshoot the issue yourself first.

heating system

Wear and Tear of Time

Everything suffers and wears down over the course of time. Your heating and furnace are no different. Most furnaces can last 20 years or more before having to be replaced, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be an occasional repair or replacement along the way. Doing routine maintenance work every year can go a long way towards lengthening the life of your heating systems as well as cutting down on really expensive fixes. These troubleshooting tips double as ways you can routinely check up on the overall health of your heating system and catch issues before they get too serious.

What to Check For and How to Fix It

As with any at-home fix-it jobs, care should always be taken when dealing with gas and electrical components and if at any time it seems unsafe to continue troubleshooting on your own, call in the professionals so they can safely take a closer look, such as from a company named All Heating will do this professionally. If you find your heating system is not working as efficiently as it once did, here are a few things to check and solutions to try at home first.


To start troubleshooting, being with the thermostat. It may seem too easy, but oftentimes heating issues all come down to some issue or misunderstanding of the thermostat. Check to ensure that your system is set to heat, not cool. Give the system a minute to kick on. Check the batteries in the thermostat and replace them if needed. Check for wire breaks along from the thermostat to the heating system. Splice any breaks with electrical tape if you can do so safely. Thermostats can sometimes be affected by nearby sources of heat and give false temperature readings which prevent the heat from ever kicking on. Check for nearby lamps, radiators, space heaters, or alliances that may be affecting the thermostat’s accuracy.


If you can access the motor there are a few things you can do to improve your heating’s functioning. Vacuum the furnace’s blower, clean the fan blades, and look for oil ports in which you can add a few drops of non-detergent oil into the motor shaft. Regular motor maintenance throughout the year can really help a furnace to run more smoothly in the winter so you may want to make it a habit to check, clean, and oil your furnace’s motor once or twice a year.


Another easy way to troubleshoot a finicky heating system is to check on the filters. Filters can become clogged and dirty and this will reduce the effectiveness of your heating system. Check your furnace’s manual to locate where the filters are and see if they need to be replaced. Generally speaking, flat filters need to be replaced every month and pleated filtered need to be changed every three months. This will not only help your heating system to work better, but may also see a drop in your heating bill since the system won’t have to work so hard.

troubleshooting heating system


Next, you will want to check the gas components of your furnace. Make sure the gas is on and if you can see the pilot light, make sure the flame is blue. If the flame is yellow, red, purple, or green something is not right and there may be a gas leak or high levels of carbon monoxide. If you smell gas at any point there may be a leak and you should call in a professional to fix that.

Electric Components

Next, check the electrical components of your heating system, mostly checking for wire breakage or blown fuses. These may be able to be spliced with electrical tape, but you may need to call in an electrician to ensure everything is wired up safely again.

Outside Vents

The vents that lead to the outdoors can sometimes become clogged by leaves, sticks, and other debris, so it may be helpful to clear those vents if you have access to them.

Indoor Registers

The registers that help distribute air through the rooms in your house can also become clogged with dust and debris and make the heating system work too hard to heat your house. Dust these periodically to ensure that air can move through them unencumbered.

Air Ducts

Your heating system may be struggling due to a broken seal somewhere along your air ducts. These can be a bit tricky to find but if you do notice a gap in the ducts, use some metal duct tape to seal it back up.

Panels and Access Points

Some furnaces are programmed to not turn on if access panels are not properly secured back in place. Ensure that all access panels are mounted, fastened, and secured.

When to Call a Contractor

For some troubleshooting, your furnace has to be on to check, but for others, it needs to be off to avoid injury. Using the user’s manual for your furnace can help a great deal in knowing what to look for, but there will be times when even after all your best efforts, the heating system is still not right. There may be situations that are just too dangerous for anyone but a professional to handle. You never want to make an issue worse by trying to fix something you don’t know how to do, so if you ever have doubts or are stumped about a solution, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional heating and air company. A company like Watson Heating & Air in Richmond KY is here to find and fix issues with your heating system so that it provides dependable heat through the colder months. They will know how to check and repair your furnace in a safe and timely fashion.

In Closing

By all means, do some troubleshooting and checking on your own if you find your heating system is not working right. It may be you find an easy problem with a quick solution that could save you a lot, both in energy bills and repair costs. But always use your best judgment and get professional help when you need it.

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