Furnace Repair in Rocky Mount, Virginia: How to Handle 9 Common Troubles

HVAC man working on a furnace

When your heater won’t kick on, doing your own furnace repair in Rocky Mount, Virginia, can seem like a big undertaking.

There are a couple of quick, reasonable fixes you can take care of by yourself to prevent a heating service call.

If your furnace refuses to turn on, won’t stay on or won’t ignite, check the troubleshooting list below before calling an HVAC expert.

If you realize you need help from a heating and cooling pro and live in Rocky Mount, Davis Heating & Air Conditioning is able to assist you. We have the ability to repair most types of heaters.

CALL NOW 540-369-3790

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

While you’re talking with our team, think about a routine furnace maintenance plan from Davis Heating & Air Conditioning that might help you avoid breakdowns down the line. A team member can inform you about how frequently your heater should be examined by one of our professionals.

Use our simple list as follows to start troubleshooting your furnace. Most of these processes don’t have a need for mechanical skills.

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1. Inspect the Thermostat

To start, make certain that your thermostat is instructing your heat to ignite.

Digital Thermostat

  • Swap out the batteries if the screen is empty. If the digital display is scrambled, the thermostat could need to be swapped out.
  • Make sure the button is set to “heat” rather than “off” or “cool.”
  • Ensure the program is set to 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 holding the “hold” button. This will make the furnace to start if thermostat settings are an issue.
  • Turn the temperature setting to 5 degrees above the temperature of the room.

If your furnace hasn’t started within several minutes, ensure it has power by changing the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t operate, your heating system could be without power.

Smart Thermostat

If you utilize a smart thermostat—for example one manufactured by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting will be determined by the model you have. Check the manufacturer’s website for assistance. If you still can’t get your Wi-Fi thermostat to operate, contactl us at 540-369-3790 for heating and cooling service.

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2. Check Breakers and Switches

Next, you should verify your breaker and furnace switch are on.

  • Look for your house’s main electrical panel. If you have no idea where it is, look for a silver metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
  • Make sure your hands and feet aren’t moist prior to opening the panel or breakers.
  • Look for the breaker marked “furnace” or “heat,” and ensure it’s moved to “on.” If the breaker has tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
  • Using one hand, steadily turn the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker trips right away and pops back to “off,” don’t try to reset it and contact a team member from Davis Heating & Air Conditioning at 540-369-3790 immediately.

No matter your furnace’s age or brand, it has no less than one regular wall switch located on or close to it.

  • Ensure the control is facing up in the “on” position. If it was shut off, expect your furnace to take up to five minutes to ignite. (If you’re unaware of where your furnace is located, check your basement, garage or utility closet. It may also be in a crawl space or attic.)
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3. Replace the Air Filter

When it comes to heating problems, a grungy, blocked air filter is regularly the top culprit.

If your filter is too grungy:

  • Your heating system won’t keep heating your home, or it might overheat from restricted airflow.
  • Your energy bills may be higher because your heating system is running more than it should.
  • Your furnace may stop working too soon since a dusty filter forces it to work harder.
  • Your heating system may lose power if an excessively filthy filter causes the breaker to trip.

Based on what type of heating system you use, your air filter will be inside the blower compartment of your heating system, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.

To put in a new filter:

  • Switch off your furnace.
  • Take out the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t view light through it, get a new one.
  • Insert the new filter with the arrow pointing toward the heating system to keep damage from happening.

Flat filters need to be replaced monthly, while pleated filters should work somewhere in the vicinity of three months. You could also get a washable filter that will work for about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you might have to replace your filter sooner.

To make changing your filter easier in the future, use a permanent marker on your furnace outside or ductwork to indicate the airflow direction and filter size.

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4. Inspect the Condensate Pan

Also known as drain pans, condensate pans capture moisture your heating system draws from the air.

If liquid is leaking from your furnace or its pan is overflowing, use these steps.

  • If your pan includes a drain (look for a PVC pipe), check that it’s clear. If it should be drained, drop in a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware retailers.
  • If your pan uses a pump, take a look at the float switch. If the button can’t be moved from the “up” position with water in the pan, reach us at 540-369-3790, because you will probably have to get a new pump.
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5. Look for Heating Error Codes

If faults persist, look within your furnace’s plastic window to verify the blower motor’s status. Depending on the brand, the light may also be attached on the surface of your furnace.

If you note anything other than a solid, colored light or twinkling green light, contact us at 540-369-3790 for HVAC service. Your furnace might be emitting an error code that needs professional help.

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6. Brush off the Flame Sensor

If your furnace attempts to start but shuts off without distributing warm air, a dusty flame sensor can be to blame. When this occurs, your furnace will make an attempt to start three times before a safety mechanism powers it down for approximately an hour.

If you feel confident with removing the panels from your heater, gently scrubbing your flame sensor is work you are able to do yourself. Or, one of our heating service professionals has the ability to complete it for you.

If you are fine with cleaning the sensor on your own, you should have:

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


  • Disable the heater’s power through its wall switch or breaker. If your furnace’s gas valve isn’t electric, you must turn off the gas in addition.
  • Take off the furnace’s front panel and follow the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Take off the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to lightly scrub the metal rod.
  • Clear the rod with a paper towel.
  • Put the sensor back in.
  • Put the furnace doors back on.
  • Turn the furnace’s power back on. It could run through a set of checks before continuing normal heating. If your furnace doesn’t turn on, the sensor could need to be replaced or something else may be creating an issue. If this occurs, contact us at 540-369-3790 for heating and cooling repair assistance.
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7. Light the Pilot Light

If you own an older furnace, the pilot light could be out. To light it, locate the directions on a label on your furnace, or use these steps.

  • Locate the toggle beneath your furnace that says “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
  • Push the switch to the “off” position.
  • Take a break for at least five minutes to limit the possibility for sparking a fire.
  • Turn the dial to “pilot.”
  • Press the “reset” switch as you move the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
  • Let go of the “reset” switch once the pilot light is burning.
  • If you have tried the list twice and the pilot light still won’t ignite or stay lit, contact us at 540-369-3790 for furnace service.

condensate pan icon

Examine Your Energy Source

Try turning on a second gas appliance. If it doesn’t work, your natural gas source may be turned off, or you could be out of propane.

We Can Help with HVAC Repair

Used our troubleshooting sheet but your heater still won’t operate?

Call us today at 540-369-3790 or contact us online. We’ll come out and figure out the trouble.


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