When your heater starts acting up, you might want to consider a reset. Though a heater reset isn’t quite as effective as a computer reboot, there are still situations where turning it off and turning it back on again can be enough to make it start running. Our guide will go over all the details of resetting a heater so you can take proper care of your system.

What Is a Heater Reset?

A heater reset is more than just having your heater shut down for a moment and then turn back on. Typically, even when your heater is not running, it can be getting a small amount of power to do things like run a pilot light. Therefore, a hard shutdown involves more than just adjusting the thermostat momentarily.

To properly reset a heater, you will need to shut down all power sources to the heater. This turns it all the way off so it can start up again once you restore power. Keep in mind that most systems aren’t designed to be fully turned off all the time. Resetting them is usually a multi-step process.

When Do You Need to Reset Your Heater?

All heater problems cannot be easily fixed by resetting them. This heater repair is only helpful in situations where electrical problems or power supply interference is causing issues. For example, if a temporary power outage turned off your furnace, a reset will get it running again. If you have a gas, oil, or propane furnace, check the pilot light on the furnace. You only need to try resetting your heater if the pilot light is out.

For an electric furnace or heat pump, things are not quite as simple. It can be harder to tell if your heater is dealing with a power problem right away. In these cases, you might want to go ahead and reset the heater any time you are experiencing a problem. If your heater will not turn on, go ahead and give a reset a try.

Keep in mind that there are some situations where a reset is entirely ineffective. If your heater is running but not supplying warm air, a reset probably will not change anything. Resets are also usually useless for solving heaters that run but make weird noises or smells. Furthermore, if the issue is due to a broken thermostat, resetting the furnace will not make a change. Finally, before resetting any furnace, approach carefully and look for signs of a fuel leak. Do not attempt to reset it if a gas leak or other fuel leak is occurring.

How to Reset a Furnace

If you have a furnace that burns a fuel like gas or oil, you’ll need to first consider your furnace type. Many furnaces use a pilot light system where there is a tiny light always burning inside the furnace. However, some modern furnaces may use an electric ignition switch instead. The steps for resetting both types of furnaces are fairly similar. However, those who don’t have a pilot light should skip all steps that tell users to mess with the light.

Here is what you need to do to reset a furnace:

  • Make sure the pilot light is out: If the pilot light is on, there’s really no reason to go ahead with a reset. However, if you want to try anyway, make sure your heater isn’t running and then rotate the fuel valve to turn it off.
  • Turn your thermostat down low: Set your thermostat as low as it can go. This will keep it from turning your furnace on unnecessarily and blasting hot air at you during the restart.
  • Shut down power to the furnace: To do this, locate the furnace disconnect switch. It’s usually on the side of the furnace or a nearby wall. If you cannot find it, go to the circuit breaker to turn off the furnace power.
  • Turn the pilot switch back on: To light the pilot switch safely, first turn off the main gas supply to the furnace. Then open the pilot gas supply line and hold a match to the opening.
  • Restore power to the furnace: Toggle the furnace disconnect switch to restore electric power, then use the knob to open the main gas supply line again.
  • Press and hold the reset button: If your furnace has a reset button, press it and hold it for 30 seconds to complete the restart.
  • Raise the temperature on your thermostat: Now it’s time to see if your reset worked. Increase the thermostat temperature to a number that is higher than your interior temperature to see if the heater starts running.

How to Reset a Heat Pump

If you have a heat pump, the steps for restarting it are slightly different. Since heat pumps only have a single power source and no pilot light, they are simpler to restart.

All you need to do is follow these steps:

  • Turn the thermostat off: Set the thermostat temperature as low as it will go, and switch your heat pump off.
  • Power down the heat pump: Find the power button for your heat pump. This is usually on the edge of the outdoor unit, but sometimes it is on the wall near the outdoor unit.
  • Shut down the heat pump’s circuit breakers: Turn the electrical breakers for the heat pump to the off position. Most heat pumps have two breakers, so make sure you switch off both.
  • Wait a few moments: Avoid turning the heater back on immediately. Instead, wait around two to three minutes before proceeding.
  • Turn everything on in reverse order: Now you just need to reverse the steps you did before. Turn the two electrical breakers back on, and then flip the power switch on the heat pump.
  • Test your system: To see if the reset was effective, turn your thermostat back on and set it to a high setting. If your heater starts running, the reset has worked.

What Should You Do After a Reset?

If the reset is successful, you usually do not need to call your HVAC technicians. Little malfunctions due to a power outage, dirty filter, or other easily fixed issues are common. However, if your heater is repeatedly turning off and requiring a reset, it’s a good idea to get help. This could be a sign that there is a recurring electrical issue somewhere in your system.

If your heater won’t turn back on after the reset, you need to seek professional help. A heater that still won’t turn on after being reset has something else wrong with it. You might need to replace parts or alter your power system. The technician will be able to diagnose the issue and recommend some changes.

If you need heater repairs, turn to Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. As one of the leading HVAC experts of Atlanta, we provide a wide range of installation, maintenance, and repair services. We work on both heaters and air conditioners, and we also offer plumbing services as well. If you would like to schedule an appointment with our technicians, contact us today.

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