Ask Our Experts: What to do before placing a heating-related service call?

December 2, 2013 | 1:27 pm

Question for Our Experts:

“I appreciate Tuckey’s great service technicians, but I am always afraid of placing a service call unnecessarily. What should I do before placing a HEATING service call? Are there any simple troubleshooting steps that I can perform as a layperson in order to rule out the easy stuff?”

Our Experts’ Answer:

The Short Answer:

If your heating system seems to be on the fritz, there are certain easy checks to make before placing a service call.  These include 1) making sure that your thermostat is set properly, 2) making sure that power to the unit has not been cut off by a tripped circuit breaker, 3) making sure that your system has proper airflow via clean filters and unblocked grills, registers, and heating elements, and 4) making sure that your system has proper amounts of fuel if powered by gas or oil.  Always remember that Tuckey Mechanical Services technicians are happy to help with any of these basic troubleshooting steps and stand ready to serve you should a service visit from a qualified professional become necessary.  Finally, keep in mind that we highly recommend preventive maintenance (PM) plans for your heating system whereby our technicians will perform regular maintenance on your system to make sure that it’s ready for any season.

The Detailed Answer:

This is a great question – one that could potentially save you money by ruling out some easy troubleshooting steps before placing a service call.  Even if a service call is necessary, some proactive steps can streamline the process.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • Though it seems simple enough, first check to see that your thermostat is set for heating and turned UP to the desired temperature. When we change seasons, many people forget to readjust their thermostats for heating instead of cooling.
  • Secondly, if you have a gas or oil furnace, check your fuel supply.  We respond to many calls each heating season only to find out that the customer is out of oil, propane, or the gas meter has been shut off.  If your gas has been turned off by the gas company, be sure to check with them before turning it back on.  If you simply need more fuel, now is the time to fuel up!
  • Third, another good check is to look at your electric panel to see whether the breaker is on or tripped. If the breaker has been tripped, turn it back on and then monitor it closely.  If the breaker trips again within a few days, you need to have your system checked by a qualified service company like Tuckey Mechanical Services.
  • Fourth, always check your air filter.  We respond to many “no heat” calls only to find that a dirty air filter caused the unit to shut off due to the lack of proper air flow!
  • Fifth, check your registers, grills, or baseboard heating elements to be sure they are not blocked or shut.  If you have baseboard heating elements, it is a good idea to vacuum the element area to increase the efficiency of the baseboard. If you have electric baseboard heat, please make sure nothing is thrown on it that is combustible! In short, be sure to keep HVAC registers, elements, and grills free from obstruction at all times.  This simple step will allow your system to work more efficiently, keeping you safe and saving you money in the long run!
  • If you have a heat pump, feel the supply registers or grills to see if there is air coming out of them. If so check outside to see if the outdoor unit is running.  Is it covered with ice? If it is covered with ice, then you likely have an issue with the defrost control system or the Freon level is low due to a leak. Either scenario will require a qualified service technician from Tuckey Mechanical Services to address the problem.

The bottom line:

You can perform several simple checks on your own before placing a heat-related service call.  These include the following:

  1. Thermostat
  2. Fuel
  3. Power
  4. Airflow (filters, grills, debris)

If this is all looking normal (as described in the detailed answer above), then it’s time to call Tuckey Mechanical Services for a service visit.

That being said, we highly recommend that customers sign up for a budget-friendly preventive maintenance (PM) program from the Tuckey Companies.  If you are a PM customer, we perform regular maintenance checks that cover the main items mentioned above and much more.  Regular maintenance prevents costly breakdowns and emergency service visits.  Additionally, if you do ever require a service visit, PM customers get preferred scheduling and certain fees are waived.  To learn more about Tuckey preventive maintenance programs, visit

To learn more, visit our website at  To request further program information, place a service call, or sign-up for a PM agreement, contact us at (717) 524-1136 or

DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as a reference guide only. A qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies should handle all interior design, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, remodeling, metal fabrication, and restoration projects. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies.

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