Having a heater break down can be an incredibly stressful experience. However, before you commit to calling a technician, you might want to take a glance yourself. There are quite a few different problems that can be fixed if you simply know where to look.
The heater is working, but it isn't generating enough heat
If this is the case, then you might want to consider your ventilation first. With a couple of simple tests, you can figure out if the problem is actually with your heater or if your ventilation is the culprit. Even if you can't solve the problem yourself, this can give you a good idea of what kind of professional you need to hire.
First of all, you should close up as many windows and doors as possible and then crank up the heater. Let it run for about an hour and then check each room that has a vent. You should be able to tell which rooms got heat and which did not quite easily. Based on this information, you can get a good idea of which areas of the house are affected and where the blockage might be.
If only a single room is affected, then you might be in luck. This could mean that the blockage is very close to that vent and easily accessible. Open up the vent and shine a flashlight to get a better idea of where the blockage is. If you can see it, try to pull it out with a broom or other such long, thin object. If you can't find the blockage, but if you are pretty sure that the problem lies with your ventilation, then you now know that you need to hire a professional ventilation cleaning service.
The heater is not working at all
In this case, you should take a look at the power for the heater. In many cases, this means looking at the circuit breaker. It's pretty easy for a switch to get accidentally flipped, so you should check to make sure that everything is in working order. If that still doesn't solve your problem, you might want to take a look at the power line to the heater.
By tracing the path of electricity to the heater, you might be able to find a frayed cord or some setting that is wrong on the heater's control panel. If you still can't find the problem, then it might be something inside the heater itself. If you don't feel comfortable opening it up or if you are inexperienced, then it's a good idea to hire a professional, like those at Fred's Plumbing & Heating Repairs. Heaters use a lot of electricity and can be pretty dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.