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Heat Not Working in Your Portland Home? Here’s What to Do

heat not working here is what to do

​​One of the worst things for a homeowner to face in the middle of a cold Portland winter is no heat in the house. What do you do? Before you begin to panic, the first step is to see if the problem is a fix you can do yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide of how to troubleshoot and when to get an HVAC professional involved.

Common Reasons Heat is Not Working in Winter

When the winter cold hits hard and you go to turn on the heat, it is a huge problem to discover your heat isn’t working. There are a few common reasons your furnace isn’t working.

  • Air Flow
  • Thermostat Issues
  • Larger Issue with the Furnace System

Some of these issues are something you can deal with on your own and some are going to need a professional HVAC consultant.

Read next: Furnace Problems: 10 Common Issues & Easy Solutions

Check for Simple Problems with Your Heating System

Inevitably, your furnace stops working just when it is needed most. Winter turns on its cold blast and suddenly you are left looking for blankets to keep warm. With a little guidance there are some things you can do to try and problem solve some of your heating issues.

Step 1: Check Your Thermostat

The thermostat is an excellent starting place for troubleshooting since it controls when your heating system should turn on and off. First, make sure that your thermostat is set to “heat” rather than “cool.” Second, make sure that the temperature setting isn’t lower than the actual temperature of your house. Some thermostats also provide warning signals. If something goes wrong with your heating system, so check to see if there are any error codes.

Step 2: Check Your Circuit Breaker

Sometimes heat loss issues are caused by a tripped circuit breaker. A tripped breaker can happen for several reasons including electrical surges, faulty wiring and other overheating problems with your system. Regardless of the reason, you should check to see if any breakers have been triggered in your home’s main service panel or sub panels.

Step 3: Check Pilot Light and Gas

Some gas furnace models have a pilot light and it can go out for a few reasons from drafts to gas grid fluctuations. Some furnaces have an electrical relight system while others require a more hands on approach. Refer to your furnace manual on how to relight your pilot light and avoid further issues. It is also a good time to check your gas connection and, if it applies, your gas tank. 

Step 4: Check Your Air Filters

Another common cause of heat loss is clogged air filters. Some newer furnace models stop working if the air filters are dirty or can make heat inconsistent throughout the house. Check your filters and replace them if necessary.

You might also like: The Best Temperature to Set Your Thermostat to in Winter

When to Call an HVAC Professional

You have tried everything you could for an easy fix and you still don’t have heat? Now it’s time to call an HVAC professional. Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning can help identify your problem and determine what needs to be done to get your heat back.

Get a New Furnace ASAP!

If you have reached the end of your troubleshooting skills, a trained Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning consultant can help walk you through solutions.  If it is determined that your system is at the end of its life, Jacobs has a “no heat” replacement team that can install a new furnace for new or existing clients with a quick turnaround time.

With the fastest furnace turnaround time in Portland, Jacobs can get your home warm and comfortable in no time. There is no reason to struggle with a broken or aging furnace this winter. Call us today at 503-444-8734!

How to Stay Warm While Waiting

Meanwhile, while you wait for a new furnace here is how to stay warm. Similar to when you don’t have power there are ways to stay as comfortable as possible until your new furnace can be installed. 

Close Off Any Unused Rooms

If you close off any of the unused rooms in your house, it will help keep the heat more centralized. Also, close the vents in those areas to make the area you need to stay warm as small as possible.

Use Space Heaters Wisely

Space heaters are a good way to heat a room when you need warmth. However, keep in mind that they do use a lot of electricity so you may see your electric bill shoot up if you are using them regularly. Be sure to unplug your space heaters when not in use and put them away where children or pets cannot reach them. If you have a fireplace, now is a great time to use it.

Block Door and Window Leaks

If there are any leaks around your doors and windows, you can use towels or purchase weatherstripping or caulk to fix the issue. This will help keep the heat from escaping and make your home more comfortable. Also, keep curtains and blinds closed at night to retain the daytime heat from the sun.

Wear Layers

One of the best ways to stay warm when your heat is not working in the house is to wear layers. This will help trap heat close to your body. Some great items to layer up with are sweaters, socks, long underwear, and hats. You can also layer blankets on your bed and use electric blankets to keep warm. Soup and warm drinks like tea, coffee, and hot cocoa are always a great way to make the best of having no heat in your house in winter.

Boil Water

Another quick trick to making your home feel warmer is to boil water. Boiling water releases humidity into the air which can make your home feel warmer. For those without humidifiers living in dry, cold air climates, boiling some water on the stove can go a long way towards making your home more comfortable.

About the Author

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Amanda Jacobs, Internal Project Manager

Amanda Jacobs is an Internal Projects Manager and 3rd generation member of Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning. She received her MBA from Seattle University and has worked for a leading HVAC training and consulting firm. When not talking HVAC on the Jacobs Blog, you can find her on the golf course or whipping up her famous vegan chili.