If you have a modern furnace in your home, resetting it is a fairly simple process that only takes a few seconds and doesn’t require any special tools. But if you have a furnace that’s over 30 years old in your house, resetting it is a slightly more detailed process. Fahnestock HVAC has been proud to provide top-quality heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical services in Wichita, Kansas, and the surrounding areas since 1946, and you can turn to us any time you have questions about your furnace or if you need to schedule service. Here’s a quick guide to resetting your home furnace or heat pump.
Resetting a Modern Furnace
If your furnace is less than 30 years old, it can be easily reset by simply turning the unit off and back on using the same procedure that you use to reset a computer or any other malfunctioning electronic device. All you have to do is locate the switch mounted on or near the furnace and flip it to the “off” position. If you can’t find the switch on the unit, you can also just turn off the circuit breaker at your house’s main circuit breaker panel. Wait for about 10 seconds, and then turn the switch or breaker back on and make sure that the furnace powers back up.
Resetting an Older Furnace
Homes that are more than 30 years old might still have an older furnace that requires relighting a pilot light to reset. Here are the basic steps to reset an older furnace or heat pump.
1. Check the Pilot Light
Before you get started, be sure that the pilot light is off. If the pilot light is already on, the good news is there’s no need to reset the unit. Unfortunately, it does indicate that something else is causing the problem, and it might be time to schedule a service call. We’ll be discussing troubleshooting shortly, but if the pilot light is already off, then you can proceed to the next step for the furnace reset.
2. Lower the Thermostat
Turn down the thermostat all the way to its lowest setting as a safety measure. In the highly unlikely event that the furnace suddenly switches back on in the middle of the reset, you’re far less likely to get blasted with very hot air if something goes wrong.
3. Relight the Furnace’s Pilot Light
Once the pilot is off and the thermostat is all the way down to its low setting, the next step is relighting the furnace’s pilot light. You can light a match or use a fireplace lighter and insert it into the small opening located right inside the furnace. Once the pilot light ignites, you can blow out the match and move on to the final step.
4. Set the Thermostat to the Desired Temperature
After you relight your pilot light, your thermostat will still be turned all the way down. Reset the thermostat to the desired temperature setting to complete the reset, and then enjoy the rest of your evening in comfort.
Common Furnace Problems
Now that you’re familiar with the procedures for resetting your furnace when the pilot light is out, you’re probably wondering what you should do if the pilot light is still on. We already mentioned that it might indicate more serious furnace problems and that it’s time to schedule an appointment for professional furnace service or new furnace installation. Even if your heater is still fully functional, it’s usually far more cost-effective to replace a heating system that’s nearing the end of its operational lifespan.
Some of the most common problems with an older furnace include uneven heating throughout the house or cold air coming out of the vents. Some homeowners with older furnaces might also have to deal with loud noises or musty smells from the ductwork. Many common furnace problems might only require a simple furnace reset, but you could have problems that can only be resolved by a licensed HVAC contractor. Here are some of the most common service problems that we encounter with older furnaces and what you should do when you encounter them with your own system.
No Heat Coming Out at All
If there’s no air coming out at all and your furnace’s pilot light is out, you should try resetting the furnace. If resetting your heater still doesn’t resolve your issue, you could have a problem with the thermostat setting, the power, or the gas line.
If you feel some heat coming out of your vents but your room still fails to come to the desired temperature, be sure to check your air filter. The furnace might also be performing at reduced efficiency, which is typical for a furnace operating near the end of its anticipated operational lifespan.
Blower Fan Running Constantly
If your blower is running constantly, that’s a pretty tell-tale sign that your furnace isn’t performing at peak efficiency. It could also be a problem with the unit’s limit switch. You’ll need a professional HVAC technician to diagnose and resolve either one of those problems.
Rattling, rumbling, and grinding noises aren’t just something that you have to get accustomed to because you have an older furnace. A normally functioning furnace shouldn’t make a lot of noise, no matter how old it might be. Grinding and rattling noises coming from your unit are typically caused by metal parts that are rubbing together. If you have a mechanical issue, it becomes much more expensive to fix if you don’t schedule professional service right away.
Musty or Sooty Smell
A mildew smell usually means that you have moisture accumulating somewhere, and it might mean that condensation is forming somewhere on or near your ductwork. A sooty smell indicates that solid material formed during the heating process is being circulated throughout your house. Contact a professional right away if the smells persist after you replace your air filter.
If your furnace is pushing out plenty of heat in some rooms but not others, you could have crushed ductwork or some of your seals may be cracked. The seals around your ducts have an operational lifespan of 10 to 15 years, and it’s usually more cost-effective to replace ductwork than to pay ongoing maintenance each time you have an airflow problem. If changing your air filter doesn’t resolve your airflow issues on an older unit, it’s probably time to start shopping for a new heating system.
Fahnestock HVAC has been providing professional heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical services in Wichita, KS, and the surrounding communities since 1946. Our NATE- and EPA-certified HVAC specialists service all makes and models of heating and cooling equipment. Contact Fahnestock HVAC today for more information about a new furnace or HVAC system for your home or to schedule an appointment for professional furnace service!