Furnace Repair in Erie, Pennsylvania: How to Fix 9 Common Troubles

HVAC man working on a furnace

When your HVAC system won’t work, doing your own furnace repair in Erie, Pennsylvania, can feel daunting.

There are a few time-saving, inexpensive things you can do by yourself to skip a furnace repair bill.

If your heater doesn’t turn on, won’t keep running or won’t light, try the troubleshooting list below in advance of calling an HVAC expert.

If you come to the realization you need assistance from a heating and cooling expert and live in Erie, Patterson & Stirling Inc can assist you. We can repair most makes of furnaces.

CALL NOW 814-308-0416



If it’s time for a new heater, we also offer furnace installation.

While you’re talking with our team, think over a regular furnace maintenance plan from Patterson & Stirling Inc that might help you avoid breakdowns down the road. A team member can inform you about how often your heating system should be examined by one of our certified professionals.

Go through our straightforward checklist below to start troubleshooting your heating system. Most of these steps don’t have a need for mechanical skills.

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1. Check the Thermostat

First, make sure your thermostat is telling your heater to start.

Digital Thermostat

  • Change the batteries if the display is empty. If the digital screen is mixed up, the thermostat may need to be swapped out.
  • Ensure the switch is on “heat” instead of “off” or “cool.”
  • Make certain the program is showing the correct day and time and is scheduled to “run.” If you’re having trouble getting out of the schedule, set the temperature with the up/down arrows and using the “hold” button. This will force the heater to ignite if thermostat settings are a problem.
  • Increase the temperature setting to 5 degrees above the room temperature.

If your heating hasn’t started within several minutes, make sure it has electricity by changing the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t begin to run, your furnace could be without power.

Smart Thermostat

If you utilize a smart thermostat—for example one manufactured by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting is very model-specific. Refer to the manufacturer’s website for help. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to function, reachl us at 814-308-0416 for heating and cooling service.

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2. Check Breakers and Switches

Next, you ought to check if your breaker and furnace switch are on.

  • Find your house’s main electrical panel. If you don’t know where it is, keep an eye out for a gray metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
  • Make sure your hands and feet aren’t wet before using the panel or breakers.
  • Look for the breaker marked “furnace” or “heat,” and make sure it’s switched “on.” If you discover a tripped breaker, it will be in the middle or “off” area.
  • Using one hand, quickly flip the breaker to the “on” location. If the breaker instantly trips and pops back to “off,” don’t touch it and get in touch with a professional from Patterson & Stirling Inc at 814-308-0416 quickly.

Regardless of your furnace’s age or brand, it has at minimum one ordinary wall switch located on or close to it.

  • Make sure the switch is moved up in the “on” position. If it was switched off, expect your furnace to take up to five minutes to start. (If you’re unaware of where to locate your furnace, look in your basement, garage or utility closet. It can also be in a crawl space or attic.)
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3. Get a New Air Filter

When we consider furnace problems, a dirty, full air filter is often to blame.

If your filter is too dusty:

  • Your furnace won’t keep heating your home, or it could get too warm from reduced airflow.
  • Your energy expenses could go up because your furnace is working too often.
  • Your furnace might stop working prematurely since a filthy filter causes it to overwork.
  • Your heater can be disconnected from power if an excessively dirty filter is the cause of a tripped breaker.

Depending on what model of heating system you use, your air filter will be in the interior of the blower compartment of your furnace, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.

To replace your filter:

  • Switch off your heater.
  • Remove the filter and hold it up to the light. If you can’t see light through it, replace it.
  • Install the new filter with the arrow motioning toward the furnace to keep damage from happening.

Flat filters ought to be replaced once a month, while pleated filters should work about three months. You can also use a washable filter that you can use for about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you may have to change your filter more often.

To make changing your filter easier in the future, use a permanent writing tool on your heating system exterior or ductwork to indicate the airflow direction and filter size.

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4. Examine the Condensate Pan

Otherwise known as drain pans, condensate pans capture water your furnace removes from the air.

If moisture is seeping from within your heating system or its pan has too much water in it, use these steps.

  • If your pan has a drain (look for a PVC pipe), make sure that it isn’t full. If it needs to be drained, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can buy at home improvement or hardware stores.
  • If your pan contains a pump, take a look at the float switch. If the switch is stuck “up” with liquid in the pan, contact us at 814-308-0416, because you will probably have to install a new pump.
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5. Watch for Heating Error Codes

If failures keep on happening, take a look inside your heater’s plastic window to verify the blower motor’s status. Depending on the type, the light may also be fixed on the surface of your heating system.

If you notice anything other than a solid, colored light or twinkling green light, call us at 814-308-0416 for HVAC service. Your heating system could be emitting an error code that needs professional help.

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6. Clean the Flame Sensor

If your heater makes an effort to operate but switches off without blowing heated air, a dirty flame sensor could be to blame. When this happens, your heater will make an attempt to turn on three times before a safety feature shuts it down for around an hour.

If you feel confident with removing the panels from your furnace, cleaning your flame sensor is something you have the ability to do personally. Or, one of our heating service specialists can finish it for you.

If you are confident cleaning the sensor personally, you should have:

  • A 1/4” hex screwdriver or wrench
  • Portion of light grit sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth
  • A fresh paper towel

As the next step:

  • Shut off the heating system’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If you don’t have an electric gas valve, you will need to switch off the gas as well.
  • Remove the heating system’s front panel and follow the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Unscrew the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to gently clean the metal rod.
  • Wipe off the rod with a paper towel.
  • Screw the sensor back in.
  • Secure the furnace doors.
  • Turn the furnace’s power back on. It might run through a set of inspections before continuing regular heating. If your heating system doesn’t ignite, the sensor may have to be replaced or something else might be causing a problem. If this happens, get in touch with us at 814-308-0416 for heating and cooling repair support.
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7. Light the Pilot Light

If you own an aging heater, the pilot light could be out. To light it, locate the directions on a sticker on your heater, or follow these steps.

  • Locate the toggle beneath your heater labeled “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
  • Move the switch to the “off” position.
  • Take a break for at least five minutes to limit the possibility for starting a fire.
  • Push the dial to “pilot.”
  • Push the “reset” button as you move the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
  • Release the “reset” lever once the pilot light is burning.
  • If you have gone through the guide twice and the pilot light still won’t burn or keep burning, contact us at 814-308-0416 for furnace service.

condensate pan icon

Examine Your Energy Delivery System

Try turning on another gas appliance. If it doesn’t work, your natural gas delivery may be switched off, or you could be out of propane.

We Can Assist With HVAC Repair

Gone through our troubleshooting list but your heater still refuses to heat?

Reach us now at 814-308-0416 or contact us online. We’ll visit your house and diagnose the trouble.

CALL FOR SERVICE NOW 814-308-0416

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