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Top Seven “No Heat” Troubleshooting Tips

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Your heating system will become the most valuable asset to you on those super cold days and if you turn on your heat and nothing happens you will have what we can in the heating industry a “no heat” situation. Having no heat can mean that for some reason your boiler, heat pump or furnace has had a mechanical or electrical failure. When your heat goes down sometimes its something as simply as pushing a reset button or it can be as difficult as shelling out a few hundred bucks to repair the heating unit.
Top Seven No Heat Troubleshooting Tips

Spending a few minutes on learning how to troubleshoot your heating unit can save you hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. Listed below are the ten most common reasons why your heating unit will fail as well as some simple solutions to get the heat back on. There are a few different types of heating systems and they include, steam heat, forced hot water heater, and also electric heat. It can also get a bit tricky since forced hot water heater can be powered by steam , oil, or even natural gas. Then you also have gravity systems as well.

If you have no idea what type of heat you have and are not comfortable at all troubleshooting your home heating system, it may be best that you just call a certified or licensed heating professional to diagnose and possibly fix your heating problem.
Beckett Oil Burner
Let’s find out why you have no heat!

Problem: “I turned my thermostat all the way up but the heat won’t come on”

Solution: This is a very statement and could easily be many things. The first thing to do is determine what the source of fuel is for your heat. For example if you had a oil fired heating unit, it could be something simple like you are out of fuel oil, or something more complex like a bad thermo-coupling if you have a gas unit. The best thing to do is to make sure you have a fuel supply and then keep on reading the other no-heat solutions here.

Problem: “I ran out of oil and just got more but my burner will not light”

Solution: Most of the time when you run out of oil the safety on the burner will trip and you will have to hit the reset button to start the burner back up again. The reset button is located on the actual burner itself.

Problem: “I am getting a no-flow warning on my furnace and it won’t run”

Solution: Depending on what brand of heating furnace you have will depend on the exact phrase, for example some units might say “no-flo” , “low air flow” etc. This means you need to replace the filter element on your furnace.

Problem: “I have so much air in my pipes that I have no heat”

Solution: If you have a lot of air in your heat loops or feed and return pipes you will have to bleed the air out of the lines manually. After you bleed the air out of the lines manually make sure to see if your airtol and air expansion valves are OK.

Problem: “I am producing tons of steam but my radiators don’t stay hot”

Solution: This sounds like the steam traps are bad. When steam traps go bad the steam just goes in one side of the radiator and right out of the other. The steam traps job is to hold the steam in until it cools. If your steam traps are bad, you will not hold heat.

Problem: “I have not enough heat in some of my rooms, I have forced hot air”

Solution: Air is just like anything else and will take the easiest path of resistance. What you will need to do is adjust all the heating registers in each room, by opening or closing the fins, so that the flow of air is equal between all the rooms.

Problem: “I hit the reset button on my burner over and over and it keeps tripping”

Solution: Usually when the burner trips there is a problem big or small, sometimes just resetting the burner will make it start again, but if you experience the burner tripping after hitting the reset then there is a larger problem and a certified serviceman will have to work on the heating unit.

8 Comments

  1. burner running intermitently burner runs fine after we hit the reset button but when we go to sleep the burner won’t turn back on and we loose all heat and have to hit the button again sometimes a couple of times to get it started again

  2. burner running intermitently burner runs fine after we hit the reset button but when we go to sleep the burner won’t turn back on and we loose all heat and have to hit the button again burner fires right up when reset button is pressed – electrodes replaced, cad cell replaced, oil primary control replaced, nozzle replaced, filter and screen replaced – what’s left? – still having issues…

  3. no reason to change some of those parts but none the less, the motor could have a dead spot, fuel pump may not be up to par (cut-off not working), and finally your transformer may have to go (spark isn’t strong). Are you self diagnosing this, cause sometimes I get it right the first time, but the fuel pump and trans should be noticed within the first five minutes of working on it, and sometimes I keep going back.
    Hope that helps.

  4. We had a problem last year where are slant’ fin baseboard heaters were frozen from the cold and we had to hire someone to come in and take care of the leaks. He got it back up though and some of the solutions above was done to to fix the problem.

  5. My heater stop blowing hot air last night. It was just running cold air and the unit did not want to turn off. I checked the thermostate and it was functioning fine. Finnaly I turned it off at the main switch until I determine the problem, any suggestions?

    • if the blower keeps blowing cold air at all times..its a open limit switch(meaning bad) need a new limit switch..its usually located on front of furnace with just 2 wires to the switch ..newer units usually blue wires with push on style female clips..with male off the switch on the unit..some limits are resetable by a little button in the middle..some just need to be replaced ..but that’s pretty much ur problem ..open limit switch..(of course that’s without looking at the unit)but I’m a tech and just cold air and blower won’t shut off that’s usually what it is!!!! Hope this info helps

  6. The “hydrostat” (digital temperature box) attached to the front of my boiler keeps failing on me about every one to two heating seasons. It won’t regulate the heat called for from the house thermostat and other times just doesn’t turn the boiler on when called for period. I have replaced the thing twice and still they keep failing on me. Any ideas?

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