Before You Call About Heat or Air Conditioning
"We always ask, is the furnace switch turned on? You'd be surprised how many times someone in the house accidentally switches the furnace off," says furnace repairman Bob Schmahl.
If you live in an area with snow and have a furnace that vents out through the side wall, make sure the vent pipes aren't plugged with frost or snow. Plugged vents cause the furnace to shut off automatically. Once you've unplugged the vents, reset the furnace by switching off the power: Either turn off the switch located on or near the furnace, or flip the circuit breaker that controls the furnace. Wait a minute, then switch the power back on.
Not getting enough heat?
Check the furnace filter. Schmahl says, "When I ask people when's the last time you changed the furnace filter and they give me that deer-in-the-headlights stare, I know what the problem is."
One of the most common causes of insufficient heat or cooled air is a plugged furnace filter. Change inexpensive woven fiberglass filters once a month or buy a better-quality pleated filter and change it every three months to avoid heating and cooling problems.
Another common cause of cold rooms during heating season is a blocked cold air return. Be sure your couch or an area rug isn't covering a cold air return vent because this can slow the entry of heated air into the room.