How To Troubleshoot an American Standard Furnace

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Troubleshoot your furnace to figure out if you need to call in a professional.
Image Credit: Marvin Samuel Tolentino Pineda/iStock/GettyImages

Is your American Standard furnace not working or heating enough? Scheduling regular furnace tune-ups helps keep your system running properly, but occasional problems can still happen. Many minor issues with your American Standard gas furnace are easy to troubleshoot and fix yourself. If it's something more serious, doing some initial troubleshooting can eliminate the minor stuff and help you decide if you need a professional inspection.

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Check the Power Source

Even though a gas furnace primarily needs natural gas to operate, it still uses electricity for several components, including the electronic ignition system and the blower fan motor. If there's a power source issue, your furnace won't work properly. Check the breaker box to ensure the circuit breakers powering the furnace aren't tripped.

Furnaces also have a power switch located on or near the furnace itself. Much like a regular light switch, it flips up and down to turn the furnace on and off. Verify that this switch is in the "on" position. If it's turned off, turn it on and wait several minutes as your furnace might have a delay before it starts running.

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Inspect the Thermostat

An issue with the thermostat can keep the furnace from working properly. Check the thermostat for power. It might need new batteries if it's not coming on or if it doesn't appear to work correctly.

Verify that the thermostat is turned to the heat setting. Increase the temperature setting by several degrees so it kicks on. If the temperature setting is at or below the actual room temperature, your furnace won't run. Turn the fan to the "on" setting on the thermostat to see if it runs. If it doesn't, there could be an issue with the power source or the motor on your furnace.

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Change the Filter

Your furnace filter might seem like a minor part, but it can play a major role in the unit's operation. If you haven't changed or cleaned the filter in a while, it could be clogged, which restricts airflow. Not only does this make your furnace less efficient, but it can also allow dust and debris to enter the furnace where it can cause issues with internal parts.

The timing of furnace filter changes varies depending on your situation. Most households need a new filter at least every three months, but you might need monthly changes if you have a large family with lots of pets or live in a dusty area. If your American Standard furnace isn't blowing well, check the filter to make sure it's not clogged. If it is, change it and see if that helps.

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Check the Pilot Light

Newer furnaces typically use an electronic ignition system, but older units, especially those made before the 1980s, might still have a standing pilot light. If this goes out, your furnace won't work correctly. Open the combustion chamber door to check the pilot light. You'll need to relight the pilot light if it's out.

Remove Outdoor Blockages

Your American Standard furnace needs proper venting not only for your safety but also to keep the system running properly. The ventilation gives the system enough airflow for combustion. If your furnace is running but doesn't seem to be working correctly, check the exterior furnace vents to make sure they're not blocked. Snow, ice, weeds and animal nests are examples of things that can block your furnace venting.

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Call a Professional

If your American Standard furnace still isn't working properly, contact an HVAC professional. Note the issues you're having and any troubleshooting you tried to help the repair professional narrow down the issue.

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Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.