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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

Heating Emergency! What to Do If Your Heating System Suddenly Stops Working


A home heating system breaking down during winter is a serious problem in Minnesota—our winters do not play nice! If your furnace, heat pump, or other heater suddenly stops working in the middle of a cold winter day or night, you’ll want the problem fixed as fast as possible.

The most reliable way to get your heater working again is to call our expert technicians. We offer heating repair in Plymouth, MN and throughout the Twin Cities, and all our techs are NATE-certified. However, you can take several steps before calling us to see if you can get your heater working again.

Safety First!

This is important: please do not attempt to make any repairs to your heating system on your own. We’ll outline troubleshooting steps, but these aren’t repairs. Anything that involves opening up your heater and using tools is off the table. It’s not just because you’ll risk doing the job incorrectly. You’ll put your health and safety, as well as that of your household, at risk. When it’s time for repairs, leave the work to licensed professionals.

Troubleshooting Steps

Now take a deep breath, put on a coat, and let’s walk through basic troubleshooting to see if we can get your heater working again.

1. Check the thermostat.

A basic first step: is the thermostat set accurately? Someone in the household may have accidentally changed the settings so the heater won’t turn on when you expect. If you have a heat pump, is the thermostat set for heating mode? See if any older program has been activated.

2 Check the electrical panel.

Yes, even if you have a gas-powered heating system, you need to check the electrical panel for tripped circuit breakers. All modern heating systems rely on electronic components and control boards to operate. Your heater may have tripped its breaker. Reset any tripped breakers and then try the heater again.

3. Put in a clean air filter.

If you have a forced-air heating system (such as a heat pump or furnace), its air filter may be clogged up. If this filter becomes too dirty, it will block airflow into the system, possibly leading to the unit overheating and tripping the limit switch. Put in a clean filter—and make sure to put in a clean filter every 1-3 months.

4. Examine the room vents and registers.

If the vents and registers from the ventilation system are blocked or closed, it can cause the heating system to shut down. (No, it doesn’t help save energy to close these vents!) Go around the room to see if anything has blocked up the vents. 

5 Reset the system.

Some heating systems can be manually reset with a reset button. Before attempting to reset the heater, check with the manual for instructions. In some cases, this reset will get the heater working again.

Call the Professionals

At this point, you’ve done all you can to get your heater working on your own. Now it’s time to contact our team and let us take over. We’ll find out what’s wrong with your heating system and get your house warm again.

Rely on Residential Heating and Air Conditioning and you’ll “Feel the Difference”! Serving The Twin Cities Since 1991. 

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