How to Fix a Heater: A Guide for Homeowners

A lot of houses changed hands in the last year as the residential real estate market got very hot. While prices got a lot of attention, about 31 percent of people who bought a house in 2021 were first-time buyers. While exciting, it also means a lot of people are on the steep learning curve that goes with home maintenance.

A big question for many in the cold weather is how to fix a heater. After all, HVAC repair isn’t a class most people take in high school or college.

If you’re worried about how to fix a furnace in your new home, keep reading for our quick heating repair guide for homeowners.


Signs of Faulty Heaters

You can’t fix a faulty furnace unless you recognize some of the warning signs that things have gone wrong somehow. A few common problems include:

  • Furnace doesn’t turn on
  • Poor airflow
  • Poor heating
  • Noisy

Any of these signs can indicate that your heater has a problem or will develop a serious problem in the immediate future.


If possible, you should learn the age of your furnace. Most furnaces will hold up for around 15 and up to 20 years. As your furnace ages, however, it will develop more problems and develop them more frequently. If you own an older furnace, take that as a sign that you need to keep a close eye on it.

Simple Fixes

There are some simple fixes you should try before you call someone in to look at the heater. Right at the top, you should check the thermostat. You never know when someone might have adjusted it.

Sometimes, modern thermostats need a new battery, which can affect your HVAC system performance. If it won’t turn on, you can also check the breaker box.

If you use a natural gas or propane furnace, check on the gas valve. It’s always possible someone turned it off.

Switch out the air filter. Air filters that get clogged can affect the performance of the furnace.

Call a Pro

If you’ve tried all the fixes above and gotten nowhere, it’s time to call in an HVAC professional. They can typically diagnose the problem and let you know if a repair or heating replacement is the most viable option.

If a replacement is in order, you should make sure you know the HVAC installation costs. While it may prove a necessity, knowing what you’re in for can help soften the blow.


How to Fix a Heater as a Homeowner

As a homeowner, you likely want at least a few ideas about how to fix a heater yourself. You can try the things mentioned above.

Sometimes, it really is as simple as flipping a breaker or turning a gas valve from closed to open. People do fiddle with the thermostat sometimes. Thermostats do develop problems on occasion.

Once you get beyond those kinds of fixes, though, you really need professional HVAC help.

Looking for more tips? Check out the Cleaning & Maintenance posts in our Lifestyle section.

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