Heating Repair DIY Tips

  Posted on May 22, 2017

Working on your heating system is better left to professionals. 

Homeowners may find the task confusing at best, and dangerous at worst. That said, an understanding of your heating system will help you figure
out probable causes of any malfunctions before you call a serviceman,
potentially saving you time, money, and a headache as you proceed. A
little working knowledge will also help you recognize when repairs are
warranted and when to call in a pro.

Before contacting us for service, you may wish to try some tips listed below.

Relighting A Gas Furnace Pilot Light

Modern furnaces won’t have a visible pilot light and instead use an electric ignition system to light the furnace. These are more efficient as a rule but are not for the novice to work on when something goes wrong (which will typically be the thermocouple failing).

Older furnaces do have pilot lights that occasionally go out. If you have a manual for the furnace, well, congratulations–you are indeed a wonderful record-keeper. Most people lose theirs about, say, a week after they move into their home. If this situation applies to you, you can use the following steps as a guide.

Relighting Your Furnace’s Pilot Light

  • Turn off the gas at the main valve at your utility box
  • Wait five to ten minutes for gas fumes to waft away
  • Get a long match–yes, a fireplace match, not a standard match
  • Set the gas valve on your furnace to “pilot”
  • Press the red button as you hold the match to the pilot valve
  • Keep pressing the red button for 30-60 seconds so the pilot can heat the thermocouple. Release the button and see if the pilot remains lit
  • If pilot goes out, wait five to ten minutes and repeat the process
  • Once the pilot stays lit, turn the main gas valve back on
  • If the pilot light continues to go out, call Ber’s for service.  We may need to adjust or replace your thermocouple or adjust your pilot.

Replacing batteries in your thermostat

Most thermostats have batteries that need replaced approximately every three years.  There is usually an indicator light on the thermostat that the shows the remaining life of the battery.  Some thermostat will flash “low battery”.

Replacing the battery in a thermostat is a simple process.  Remove the front cover of the thermostat by placing an index finger on the bottom left and right corners of the front lid.  Gently pull the cover towards you.  On most thermostats, the batteries are located at the top of the thermostat.  Remove the existing batteries and replace with news ones of the same size.  Reinstall the front cover by clipping it onto the top of the thermostat and gently push down on the bottom of the cover.  The cover should click into place with little effort.

Cleaning a flame rod

If your furnace flame is lighting for one to two seconds, then shutting off, most likely your flame rod is dirty.  Flame rods must be cleaned annually and should be done by a professional technician.  However, in most cases, it is a simple procedure.

A flame rod is located is located in the burner compartment on the left side of the furnace, in front of the last burner.  Remove the wire by gently pulling it off of the connector.  Remove the 1/4″ screw that holds it in place and remove the flame rod from its housing.  Using a piece of steel wool or very fine sandpaper, clean the metal rod.  Install the flame rod back in its housing and secure with the screw.  Reinstall wire.