The middle of winter is the most inconvenient time of the year for the furnace to stop working. Before you call in a professional, a number of easy checks exist to find out what the cause is.
First, check the thermostat. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the thermostat is not set to heat. If that is the case, set the device to heat, and make sure that the temperature setting is to the comfort of you and your family.
Second, make sure that the thermostat is powered either by batteries or by a connection to your house’s electric power. If it is the former, change the batteries and then see if the heat comes back on.
Third, a major cause of furnace failure are dirty filters. Filters, which are meant to trap dust and other particulates, tend to build up heat and pressure in the furnace. Some modern furnaces are designed to shut down before the reduced air flow causes difficulties. Older furnaces will just work at reduced air flow and heat. In either case, change your filters, and see if that fixes the problem. Indeed, you should change your filters once a month as a rule.
Fourth, you should check to see if the circuit breaker for your furnace has tripped for any reason. If it has, push it all the way off and then back on to see if that causes the furnace to start working again.
If none of these easy fixes works, it is likely time to call in a professional to trace down what the problem might be.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure where your home heating system is concerned. Have a technician come out every autumn before the snows of winter arrive and check out your heating system and furnace for any potential problems. The precaution may be the difference between you and your family shivering beneath layers of blankets and spending a nice, comfortable, toasty winter at home.