Furnace Repair in Des Moines, Iowa: How to Handle 9 Regular Issues

HVAC man working on a furnace

When your heater won’t kick on, doing your own furnace repair in Des Moines, Iowa, can feel overwhelming.

There are several fast, reasonable things you can take on on your own to avoid a heater service bill.

If your heater doesn’t turn on, won’t stay on or won’t ignite, try the troubleshooting guide below prior to contacting an HVAC expert.

If you come to the realization you need support from a heating and cooling professional and live in Des Moines, Heartland Heating & Cooling is able to help you. We are able to repair most types of furnaces.

CALL NOW 515-344-3579



If you’re ready for a new furnace, we also offer furnace installation.

While you’re talking with our team, consider a regular furnace maintenance plan from Heartland Heating & Cooling that might help you avoid breakdowns down the line. We can let you know how often your HVAC system needs to be checked by one of our NATE-Certified professionals.

Use our easy list as demonstrated to get to work on troubleshooting your HVAC system. Most of these procedures don’t require mechanical know-how.

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1. Check the Thermostat

First, make sure your thermostat is instructing your heat to start.

Digital Thermostat

  • Change the batteries if the monitor is empty. If the digital screen is mixed up, the thermostat could need to be replaced.
  • Make sure the switch is set to “heat” instead of “off” or “cool.”
  • Make certain the program is showing the appropriate day and time and is scheduled to “run.” If you’re having a hard time overriding the program, set the temperature with the up/down arrows and using the “hold” button. This will cause the furnace to turn on if thermostat settings are an issue.
  • Set the temperature setting to 5 degrees hotter than what the room temperature currently is.

If your furnace hasn’t kicked on within a couple minutes, ensure it has juice by toggling the fan switch from “auto” to “on.” If the fan doesn’t operate, your furnace might not have power.

Smart Thermostat

If you have a smart thermostat—like one made by Nest, Ecobee, Lux, Honeywell or Bosch—troubleshooting will depend on your model. Refer to the manufacturer’s website for help. If you’re still unable to get your Wi-Fi thermostat to operate, reachl us at 515-344-3579 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.

  • Locate your residence’s main electrical panel. If you aren’t sure where it is, search for a silver metal box in your basement, garage or closet.
  • Ensure your hands and feet aren’t moist prior to touching the panel or breakers.
  • Look for the breaker marked “furnace” or “heat,” and make sure it’s moved to “on.” If you find that the breaker tripped, it will be in the middle or “off” position.
  • With one hand, firmly turn the breaker to the “on” position. If the breaker trips right away and pops back to “off,” leave it alone and call a professional from Heartland Heating & Cooling at 515-344-3579 quickly.

No matter your furnace’s age or brand, it has no less than one ordinary wall switch installed on or by it.

  • Ensure the lever is flipped up in the “on” placement. If it was shut off, it could take your furnace up to five minutes to start. (If you don’t know where to find your furnace, check your basement, garage or utility closet. It may also be in a crawl space or attic.)
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3. Buy a New Air Filter

When we think about heating problems, a filthy, blocked air filter is regularly the top offender.

If your filter is too dusty:

  • Your furnace won’t stay on, or it might get too hot from restricted airflow.
  • Your gas bills could increase because your heat is operating too often.
  • Your heat could fail sooner than it should since a filthy filter forces it to overwork.
  • Your heating might lose power if an excessively clogged filter causes the breaker to trip.

While it depends on what model of heating system you have, your air filter is located within the blower compartment of your heating system, an attached filter case or wall-mounted return air grille.

To replace your filter:

  • Switch off your furnace.
  • Remove the filter and tilt it toward the light. If you can’t see light through it, replace it.
  • Put in the new filter with the arrow facing toward the heating system to avoid damage.

Flat filters need to be replaced every month, while pleated filters should be used for around three months. You may also buy a washable filter that will last about 10 years. If you have children or pets, you might have to replace your filter more often.

To make changing your filter smoother down the line, write with a permanent writing tool on your heater housing or ductwork to indicate the airflow direction and filter size.

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4. Examine the Condensate Pan

Also known as drain pans, condensate pans hold water your heater removes from the air.

If liquid is dripping from within your heating system or its pan has too much water in it, follow these steps.

  • If your pan contains a drain (look for a PVC pipe), check that it isn’t clogged. If it requires draining, use a special pan-cleaning tablet you can get at home improvement or hardware shops.
  • 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, contact us at 515-344-3579, because you will likely have to get a new pump.
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5. Look for Furnace Error Codes

If malfunctions continue, peek within your heating system’s plastic window to verify the blower motor’s status. Depending on the brand, the light could also be attached on the outside of your heater.

If you notice anything other than an uninterrupted, colored light or flickering green light, contact us at 515-344-3579 for HVAC service. Your furnace could be communicating an error code that requires expert assistance.

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6. Clean the Flame Sensor

If your heater attempts to operate but shuts off without putting out warmth, a grimy flame sensor might be to blame. When this takes place, your furnace will make an attempt to turn on three times before a safety mechanism shuts it down for around an hour.

If you feel okay with opening up your heater, gently scrubbing your flame sensor is work you can do yourself. Or, one of our heating service specialists has the ability to do it for you.

If you want to clean the sensor on your own, 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:

  • Turn off the furnace’s power by using its wall switch or breaker. If your furnace’s gas valve isn’t electric, you must shut off the gas as well.
  • Lift off the furnace’s front panel and track the wire to the flame sensor.
  • Take off the rod and use your sandpaper, steel wool or emery cloth to carefully scrub the metal rod.
  • Wipe off the rod with a paper towel.
  • Put the sensor back in.
  • Secure the furnace doors.
  • Switch the furnace’s power back on. It could proceed through a set of inspections before resuming normal operation. If your furnace doesn’t ignite, the sensor could require replacement or something else might be creating an issue. If this happens, contact us at 515-344-3579 for heating and cooling repair assistance.
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7. Light the Pilot Light

If you have an outdated furnace, the pilot light could be turned off. To relight it, find the steps on a label on your furnace, or follow these steps.

  • Locate the toggle below your heater that says “pilot,” “on” and “off.”
  • Move the switch to the “off” position.
  • Don’t do anything for at least five minutes to limit the possibility for starting a fire.
  • Push the dial to “pilot.”
  • Press the “reset” switch as you push the flame of a long lighter to the pilot light opening.
  • Depress the “reset” lever once the pilot light is ignited.
  • If you have gone through the instructions twice and the pilot light still won’t burn or remain lit, contact us at 515-344-3579 for furnace service.

condensate pan icon

Inspect Your Fuel Source

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

We Can Assist With HVAC Repair

Used our troubleshooting list but your heating system still refuses to work?

Call us today at 515-344-3579 or contact us online. We’ll come to your house and diagnose the problem.

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