Furnace Troubleshooting: How Outside Exhaust Vents Can Trip You Up

troubleshooting Long IslandMake Sure All Vents are Clear for Proper Exhaust of Fumes

When you’re in the midst of furnace troubleshooting, don’t forget to check your outside exhaust vents. The combination of warm air from the vents, exterior moisture and freezing winter temperatures can trip your furnace up.

A large percentage of winter service calls are linked to outside exhaust vents that have iced up, preventing furnaces from venting properly. Before you call a licensed HVAC technician, make a few assessments on your own to prevent an unnecessary call.

Simple furnace troubleshooting tips

  • Check your thermostat. Sometimes the thermostat is bumped accidentally and the setting is unintentionally changed from “heat” to “cool.” Verify that your thermostat is set correctly in case a simple push of a button is all you need to be comfortable again.
  • Verify that your system has power. It could be that your furnace breaker has tripped, in which case your system doesn’t have power. Verify that the breaker hasn’t tripped. Other issues which can cut power to your furnace include:
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  • The power switch is off. The furnace power switch is usually located on the ceiling above your furnace and looks like a light switch. Make sure it’s in the “on” position.
  • Furnace fan door has come loose. If the furnace fan door isn’t on properly, it will not operate. Call a professional if you’re not sure how to fix it.
  • Check outside exhaust vents. Do they look free and clear of debris and ice? Accumulated snow and melting water, which freezes overnight, can clog your vents. Make sure they’re 100 percent free of blockages.
  • Remove vent screens. It’s a good idea to remove the vent screens every winter. While they protect your system from debris, leaves and critters during the rest of the year, screens can act as a snow and ice trap during the winter months. Removing the screen will mitigate snow and ice accumulation in the first place. Don’t forget to replace them again in the spring.

If your furnace troubleshooting was ineffective, contact T.F. O’Brien Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided reliable service to Long Island customers since 1934. Our technicians will get your furnace operating efficiently in no time.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics,  download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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