Is there anything worse than coming home on a cold winter day and then having your heater stop working? Before you panic and go out and buy a new furnace, you should check out your furnace. There is a good chance that the problem is very simple and you can fix it yourself, even if you are not at HVAC specialist. If you already know the problem is serious, check out http://www.homesmartcolorado.com/ for more information. If you aren't sure what's wrong with your furnace, try these two tests:
Check the Vents
The first thing you want to check is that your vents are open. This is a very obvious thing, but you would be surprised how many people call an HVAC specialist because of problems with airflow when the only issue is that the vents are not completely open. Some vent registers make it hard to see whether or not the vents are actually open. So, even if you can see that the control is in the open position, the vents might not be. Take a closer look with a flashlight. This often means that you will need to get up on a ladder to inspect the vents that are higher up.
Check the Furnace Hose
Every furnace will have a hose that runs from the back of the unit, into the wall where it feeds into the duct system. You want to inspect this hose at two points. First, look where it is connected to the furnace. Most hoses are attached with a clamp that can be loosened with a handheld screwdriver. Take the hose off and see if there are any clogs. This is a common area for clogs to form, especially if there is a kink in the hose. While the one end of the hose is removed, shake it and see if any dust or dirt falls out. Next, detach the end of the hose that is going into the actual wall. Shake it out in a similar fashion and use a flashlight to peer into the duct.
You can't easily snake a standard hose vacuum deep into the ducts to remove any loose dirt, so you will need a professional for that part. Also, at this point it is very important that you inspect your hose before you reattach it. Even if there are no clogs, holes in your hose can greatly reduce airflow into your duct system. If this is the case, the easiest answer is to just go get a new hose. They come in standard sizes and are available at most home improvement stores.
These simple checks will only take a matter of minutes, but they can instantly increase the airflow of your furnace system and make it much easier to warm your house up.