Why You Have No Heat

During the cold months, your furnace is your best friend, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect it during the rest of the year. The purpose of this blog is for customers to better understand why their furnace isn’t working properly, or at all. Its also to educate homeowners and can also provide good information so you can understand what the technician is talking about when we come to fix your furnace.

Since oil is still prevalent on Vancouver Island, I’ll cover those furnaces. Since most homeowners are either on gas or switching to, when possible, ill cover that as well.

Gas Furnace

  1. Lack of maintenance: Just like a vehicle, maintenance is the pinnacle of a properly working furnace. “Maintenance” is a very broad topic though, so lets go into detail.
  • Air filer: Surprisingly enough, your furnace filters the air through the return air duct, making your homes air cleaner. But for it to do this properly the filter needs to be changed every 3 months. Since the filter is on the return air side, it is also important that the air coming back is at proper flow. If your furnace filter is clogged or dirty, your furnace is going to run improperly. Most of the time a no heat call or lack of heat is simply due to a clogged filter [Click for image of dirty vs clean filter]. Our technicians cannot stress enough – Replace your filter!
  • Thermostat: Just like replacing your air filters, another common issue that homeowners can fix is dead batteries in their thermostat. Upgrading your thermostat too can improve the operation of your gas furnace. New thermostats can be programmed to your lifestyle so your furnace can run more efficiently.
  • Hot Surface Ignitor: A hot surface ignitor is just what it sounds like. It’s a hot surface that ignites the gas flames during the initial start up of your gas furnace. The most common reason for a faulty hot surface ignitor is simply age. Another reason is because of the installer. When installing a hot surface ignitor, your fingers cant touch a certain part of it because of the oils on our fingers. Unfortunately these products aren’t life proof, and they do need replacing. With a faulty ignitor the gas is simply not being lit, resulting in no flame.

Essentially, a properly running furnace is because it has a service done annually. Obviously they are more complicated then what is above, but I’ve outlined the most common issues and the issues you can even manage yourself.


Oil Furnace

  1. Lack of Maintenance: That’s right, just like gas furnaces, oil furnaces need annual maintenance.
  • Air Filter: Who saw this one coming? I think you get the gist of it. Proper air flow results in proper furnace operation.
  • Oil Pump: During operation, oil flows from the tank to the pump to which the pump pumps the oil into the furnace. If it’s not pumping enough oil then it wont spray enough oil into the blast tube. These are a common replacement part, which we stock for your convenience.
  • Transformer: A transformer on an oil furnace uses electric voltage to ignite oil spray. When a transformer fails its not producing enough voltage to ignite the oil spray, resulting in no heat. We also stock these.
  • Nozzle: The nozzle on an oil furnace sprays the oil in a certain angle [to match the burner requirement] into the blast tube. As much as we want our oil to be perfectly clean, it isn’t. As the oil passes through the nozzle, particles also pass through causing it to clog up. This is the most common issue we find with no heat oil furnace calls.
  • Oil filter: Because your oil tank and the oil you receive is never perfect, it is imperative that your oil filter gets changed every 3 months along with your air filter. You would be surprised how dirty your filter can get.
  • No oil: It is surprising how many no heat calls we get just for us to show up to the house simply having no oil. Please double check you have oil before calling us out to fix your furnace, it will save you money.

Of course, other parts of your oil furnace can fail, but these are the most common reasons why your oil furnace isn’t working.


The moral of the story is this: An annual furnace service will save you time, money, hassle, and cold winter nights. We recommend you service your furnace at least once a year, preferably in September so you beat the cold. Here at Norms plumbing and Heating, we have 4+ gas specialists and 2+ oil specialists ready to serve you. If you are experiencing no heat, dot hesitate to call us. We make no heat call a priority, because comfort and warmth is essential for our client satisfaction.