As temperatures drop and winter sets in, the last thing you want is a malfunctioning furnace. While calling a professional is always a safe bet, some minor fixes can be done by homeowners themselves. However, before taking on any DIY furnace repair, it’s important to understand the risks and limitations. So, can you fix your furnace yourself? Let’s find out.

1. Understanding the common causes of furnace malfunctions

Before attempting to repair your furnace, it’s important to understand some of the most common causes of furnace malfunctions. By doing so, you can better diagnose the problem and determine whether a DIY approach is appropriate or if you need to call in a professional.

One common problem is a dirty air filter. A clogged air filter can restrict airflow, causing your furnace to work harder and potentially overheat. Another cause of furnace malfunctions is a faulty thermostat, which can cause your furnace to turn on and off randomly, or even fail to turn on at all. In addition, issues with the ignition system, fan motor, or blower motor can all cause problems with your furnace’s operation.

It’s important to note that while some furnace problems can be safely and easily fixed with DIY techniques, others may require the expertise of a professional. If you’re not comfortable working with furnace components or aren’t sure what the problem is, it’s always best to contact a certified HVAC technician. Keep in mind that attempting repairs without the proper knowledge and equipment can be dangerous and can cause even more damage to your furnace.

2. Tools and Equipment Required for DIY Furnace Repair

If you’re confident that you can safely and effectively repair your furnace, you’ll need a few tools and pieces of equipment. Some of the most common items you’ll need include a multimeter (to test electrical components), screwdrivers (to remove panels and access components), and replacement parts (such as a new air filter or ignition control module).

It’s also important to have safety equipment on hand, including gloves, safety glasses, and a face mask to protect against dust and debris. And don’t forget to turn off power to your furnace before beginning any repairs!

By understanding common furnace malfunctions, you can better diagnose the problem and determine whether a DIY approach is appropriate or if you need to call in a professional. If you do decide to repair your furnace yourself, make sure you have the right tools and equipment and take all necessary safety precautions before starting.

2. Tools and equipment required for DIY furnace repair

Having the necessary tools and equipment is a crucial step in repairing your furnace. Here are the basic items you’ll need before you start repairing your furnace at home.


A multimeter is a handy tool that measures electrical resistance, voltage, and current. It is useful in diagnosing electrical issues in your furnace.


You will need different types of screwdrivers, including Phillips and flathead, to open and close your furnace cover, as well as to tighten loose screws.


A set of wrenches is essential for tightening or loosening bolts and nuts. A crescent wrench and an adjustable wrench are must-have items in your tool kit.


Pliers are essential for gripping, cutting, and pulling. Needle-nose pliers, cutting pliers, and channel lock pliers are the most commonly used for furnace repairs.

Heatproof gloves and safety glasses

Working on a furnace can be hazardous. Protect your hands and eyes by wearing heatproof gloves and safety glasses.

Note: Always make sure to turn off the power to your furnace before working on it. If you feel unsure about fixing your furnace, it’s best to call a professional. Safety always comes first when it comes to DIY furnace repair.

3. Safety precautions before attempting to fix your furnace

Attempting to fix your furnace without proper safety precautions can be dangerous. Before you start diagnosing and repairing your furnace, make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you. Here are some safety measures to keep in mind:

  • Turn off the power: Make sure to turn off the power supply to your furnace before attempting any repairs or maintenance. This can be done by turning off the circuit breaker or disconnect switch located near the furnace.
  • Understand the risks: Furnaces can pose potential risks and hazards, such as gas leaks and electrical shocks. If you’re not experienced or knowledgeable enough to handle these risks, it’s best to leave the repairs to a professional.
  • Wear protective gear: Make sure to wear protective gear such as gloves, safety glasses, and a mask to avoid inhaling harmful dust and toxins.
  • Check for gas leaks: If you smell gas, immediately leave the area and call a professional to diagnose the issue. Do not attempt to locate or fix the gas leak yourself.

By following these safety precautions, you can minimize the risks and ensure a safe DIY furnace repair experience. However, if you’re unsure about anything or encounter any unexpected issues, it’s always best to call a professional for help.

4. Step by step guide on how to fix common furnace issues

While DIY furnace repair may save you some money, it requires some basic knowledge and experience of mechanical work. Before attempting to fix your furnace, you need to know what needs to be fixed and how to fix it. Here is a :

1. Lack of Heat

  • Check the thermostat settings to make sure they are correct.
  • Check the furnace filter and replace if it is dirty.
  • Check the pilot light and relight if necessary.
  • Check the gas valve to ensure it is turned on.
  • Check the circuit breaker for the furnace and reset if necessary.

If none of these steps work, you may need to call a professional.

2. Noisy Furnace

  • Check the blower motor and lubricate if necessary.
  • Check the fan belt and replace if it is damaged.
  • Check the ductwork to ensure it is properly sealed.
  • Check the burner flame to ensure it is steady and blue.
  • Check for loose parts and tighten if necessary.

3. Short Cycling

  • Check the air filter and replace if it is dirty.
  • Check the thermostat settings to ensure they are correct.
  • Check the heat exchanger for cracks or damage.
  • Check the limit switch to ensure it is functioning properly.
  • Check the wiring for loose connections.

If you are not familiar with any of these steps, it is best to consult a professional.

Remember that DIY repairs may void your furnace warranty. Additionally, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with any aspect of the repair process, it is best to call a qualified technician. Your safety is always the top priority.

5. Signs you need to call a professional despite attempting DIY repairs

While fixing your furnace on your own can be an enjoyable experience, there are cases when it’s best to seek the help of a professional. Below are five signs that you should call a professional despite attempting DIY repairs:

  • Difficulties in identifying the problem: Sometimes, it may be challenging to figure out what’s causing your furnace to malfunction. If you’re having a hard time pinpointing the issue, it’s best to leave it to a professional. Otherwise, you might end up fixing the wrong problem, which can only make things worse.
  • Repair costs add up: While DIY repairs can save you on labor costs, things can still add up quickly. In some cases, it may make more financial sense to hire a professional instead of buying new tools and equipment for a one-time repair job.
  • Extensive damage: If you find that your furnace’s damage is extensive, it’s best to leave it to a professional. You don’t want to risk making the damage worse by tinkering with it yourself.

If you experience any of these signs, it’s best to call a professional. While it may cost you more upfront, it’s ultimately worth the investment as you’ll save time, money, and potentially avoid more significant damages.

6. Tips to prevent furnace breakdowns and increase its lifespan

Prevention is always better than cure. By following these tips, you can avoid most issues with your furnace and increase its lifespan significantly.

1. Schedule Regular Maintenance: It is crucial to get your furnace checked and maintained by a professional at least once a year. This will help identify any potential problems and address them before they turn into major issues.

2. Change Air Filters Regularly: Dirty air filters can cause your furnace to overheat and break down. Make sure to change your air filters every 1 to 3 months, depending on usage, to ensure proper airflow and prevent unnecessary strain on your furnace.

3. Keep Vents and Ducts Clean: Make sure all vents and ducts in your home are free from dust, debris, and other obstructions. This will ensure that hot air can freely circulate, reducing the strain on your furnace and increasing its efficiency.

4. Use a Programmable Thermostat: A programmable thermostat can help regulate the temperature in your home, reducing the workload on your furnace and increasing its lifespan. Make sure to set it to a lower temperature when you are out of the house or sleeping to save energy and reduce wear and tear on your furnace.

5. Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector: Furnaces can sometimes leak carbon monoxide, a potentially deadly gas. Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and check it regularly to make sure it is functioning correctly.

6. Address Issues Promptly: If you notice any issues with your furnace, such as unusual noises or reduced airflow, address them promptly. Waiting too long can result in more significant problems and costly repairs.

By following these tips, you can prevent most furnace breakdowns, increase its lifespan, and save money on energy bills. However, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with any aspect of your furnace’s maintenance or repair, always call a professional.

People Also Ask

What are some common furnace problems that can be fixed without a professional?

Common furnace problems that can be fixed without a professional include replacing the air filter, cleaning the burners, checking the thermostat settings, and ensuring the power supply is functioning properly.

Is it safe to repair a furnace by myself?

While it is possible to fix a furnace yourself, it is important to keep in mind that furnace repair can be dangerous. It is recommended that you have some experience working with HVAC systems, and that you take all necessary safety precautions, such as wearing protective gear and shutting off the power supply before beginning any repair work.

What tools do I need to fix my furnace?

To fix a furnace, you will likely need a variety of tools, such as a screwdriver, pliers, wire cutters, and a multimeter to test electrical connectivity. It is also helpful to have replacement parts on hand, such as fuses, switches, and thermocouples.

When should I call a professional to fix my furnace?

While some furnace problems can be fixed without a professional, there are certain issues that require the expertise of an HVAC technician, such as problems with the blower motor, gas line, or heat exchanger. It is also important to call a professional if you are uncomfortable working with your furnace or if you feel that your safety may be compromised.

What should I do if I am not comfortable fixing my furnace myself?

If you are uncomfortable fixing your furnace yourself, it is best to call a professional HVAC technician. Attempting to fix a complicated problem without proper training can be dangerous and may cause further damage to your furnace.


In conclusion, fixing a furnace yourself can be a cost-effective solution for minor problems, but it is important to have some experience working with HVAC systems and to take safety precautions. For more complicated problems or if you are uncomfortable working on your furnace, it is best to call a professional HVAC technician to ensure the repair is done safely and correctly.