How to Troubleshoot a Heating System

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Troubleshooting a heat system differs for a gas or electric ignition. To fix problems in a heating system, check the pilot light, safety switch and gas valve. Discover how often a heating system should be inspected for safety reasons using this free video from a home repair specialist on maintaining and fixing houses.

Part of the Video Series: Basic Home Maintenance
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Tim Gipson, and I'm going to talk to you about troubleshooting your heating system. Now this is a typical heating system, it's part of a central HBAC system that you find in homes these days. Now the first thing that you want to do that I will say in working with your system, it's important to have it properly maintained, so the first thing I would say in troubleshooting it is make sure that you have inspections by a professional company at least once a year. With that said, there are some things that you can do as a homeowner to make sure that your HBAC unit is working properly. Now the first thing this is actually a gas fired system. So in this case, I have a valve down here and to make sure it's operating properly I want to make sure that this valve is on. Typically with these valves, if they're in line with the pipe, that means they're on, and if it's ninety degrees out from the pipe, that is off. So if your heat is not coming on, that's a good thing to check first. Next, we can access this unit by pulling this up. Now this particular unit here has electronic ignition, which means it does not have a pilot light. Now if it happened to be a unit that does have a pilot light, then you would have some kind of box here with a glass window on it. And you would simply look in that window to make sure the pilot light. This particular unit whenever it actually comes on, it has an electronic igniter that starts firing, and until the actual gas flames and the gas engine ignites. Now a common thing that you'll run into on these units if it's not running at all, and particularly if the air handler will not come on. There is a safety switch, this is called a maintenance switch and it's always located on the side of the unit. So if your unit is not working at all, it could be that this switch has been bumped. It's like a light switch, it's an on and off switch, so you want to make sure that it is in the on position. Many times when you find your unit is not operating it's because this switch has been has been bumped into the off position or perhaps when they performed maintenance on it last, they may have left that off by mistake. I'm Tim Gipson, and those are some tips for troubleshooting your heating system.

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