5 Reasons Your Heater Won't Turn On

Written by Posted On Thursday, 17 October 2019 04:29

If you live in an area where temperatures get really low during the winter, you know how indispensible an HVAC is. Find out why your heater won't turn on.

It's a chilly winter night, snow is on the ground, and you've decided to spend the night in. 

Your plan is to make some delicious hot chocolate, put on your most comfortable pair of pajamas, and snuggle up watching your favorite movies at home. You're looking forward to a warm, relaxing evening. 

That is, until you realize that your heater won't turn on. 

Especially during the chillier months, a broken or malfunctioning heater is absolutely the last thing you want to deal with. 

However, if you don't properly diagnose the issue, you risk either overpaying for professional help or causing further damage to your HVAC system. 

In this post, we'll fill you in on some of the most common reasons why your home heater is not working—and what you can do to fix it.

1. Improper Installation

When your heater won't turn on, often your first instinct is to assume that a part is broken or that there's something wrong with your flame system. 

And while of course, these could be responsible for the issue, many times the problem is actually improper installation. You can save yourself a lot of money, time, and headaches if you first inspect the installation before taking your whole heating system apart.

Whether you have a new HVAC system or if you've had work done on your heater in the past year, poor ductwork design and mismatched unit sizing can cause a lot of issues. 

Improper installation makes it impossible for air to flow through your home and increases the likelihood of a short circuit. If you sense this is the reason for your home heater not working, call in the professionals to fix things. 

And check to see if past repairs or installation work came with a warranty.

2. Poor System Maintenance

Just like you should check to ensure that your system is installed properly before you panic, remember that another common reason your home heater is not working is due to a lack of maintenance. 

When was the last time you changed your air filter? Believe it or not, you should switch it out or clean it at least once every 90 days for best results. Are your burners or flame systems dirty, making it difficult for them to light? 

What about your blower motor? 

Remember that if the right amount of cool air can't get to it, the blower will quickly overheat and put your entire system at risk of permanent damage. 

Consider an annual HVAC maintenance plan to prevent these problems in the first place. Plus, proper maintenance will extend the overall life of your unit. 

3. Lack of Refrigerant

Still asking yourself, "Why is my heater not working?"

Next, make sure that you have enough refrigerant in your HVAC system–especially if you use a heat pump to power your system. 

If you suspect you don't have enough, you should ask yourself, "Is my heat pump frozen?"

Frozen pumps don't just wear down your HVAC unit's parts quickly, they can also increase your utility bills. 

Additionally, the frequent heat strips that come with a lack of refrigerant can destroy your system's compressor. Adding more refrigerant and checking for leaks in your pipes is much cheaper than having to get a new compressor.

4. A Crack in the Heat Exchanger

Even if a crack in your heat exchanger won't always completely destroy your furnace, it can lead to lots of costly and uncomfortable issues. 

First, your HVAC system won't be able to heat your home evenly or quickly. You may notice that, while one room of your home is freezing, the next one is way too hot to be comfortable. 

As with a lack of refrigerant, a cracked heat exchanger can lead to a sudden increase in your energy bills. Cracked heat exchangers can sometimes signal that your system's parts are either too old or too dirty to properly function. 

Above all, understand that a cracked heat exchanger can quickly become a health hazard. 


Because your heat exchangers contain carbon monoxide. This means that when there's a leak in yours, you put yourself and your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

It's just not worth the risk.

5. Burned Out Draft Motor

Your draft motor might be small, but it's also an essential part of your HVAC system. 

It's responsible for moving any leftover gas from the last time your heater kicked on and created during its combustion phase. If it's dirty and has to work harder to be effective, it can burn out fairly quickly. 

When your draft motor overheats, the safety switches shut off your HVAC unit automatically. 

You may need to replace it or simply clean it to fix the problem. You should also ensure that you're not using too much gas in your furnace. Improper gas calibration can cause irreparable damage to your system, as well as increase your energy bills. 

We suggest you call in an expert to take a look at your draft motor and possibly conduct a combustion analysis. This will ensure your unit is burning the proper amount of gas.

Get Professional Help When Your Heater Won't Turn On

When your heater won't turn on, you can start to feel miserable pretty quickly. 

Instead of putting off repairs or trying to fix the issue on your own, the best thing you can do is call in the experts to take a look. Not only can they properly diagnose and repair the issue, but they can also increase the system's overall efficiency and lifespan. 

That means lower bills for you. 

Need more tips and tricks on how to recognize the signs of a broken or old HVAC system? 

Keep checking back in with our blog posts for more invaluable home improvement advice you don't want to miss.

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Stacy Stein

stacy is a real estate writer, and she would like to real estate, business-related topics, she would like to go out with her friends. she studied business management from California University and she presently lives in California.  



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