Tips for Troubleshooting Your Payne Furnace Error Code 13

Did you just see a red light and an ominous error code on your furnace? If so, you’re probably worried about what that means. You might assume it’s evidence of a serious problem or even the end of your furnace’s life. The good news is that even if you have a small glitch once in a while, it probably isn’t anything to worry about. Most home heating systems are engineered with backup measures and fail-safes so these kinds of hiccups are pretty rare. Even if you do have some troubleshooting to do, the chances that your system needs to be replaced immediately are pretty slim. For instance, when you see Error Code 13 on your Payne furnace, it doesn’t mean much more than there was dust somewhere that kept the sensor from reading correctly. It also doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your thermostat or any other part of your system beyond this one little glitch. However, because every red light and troublesome code has some potential cause behind it, we want to give our readers some helpful tips for resolving their own Error Code 13 problems with their Payne furnaces.

Check the sensor isn’t blocked by dust or debris

The first thing you’ll want to do is check to see if the sensor is blocked by dust. If it is, you’ll need to clean it off. You might think this is a pretty silly thing to do, but it’s a very common cause of Error Code 13. The sensors inside your furnace aren’t just there to gauge the temperature or turn on the burners. They’re also there to shut off the burners when the temperature is ideal. If the sensor doesn’t get a clear reading because it’s blocked by dust, it won’t be able to turn off the burners. This can lead to overheating and eventually damaging your system as well as your house.

Troubleshoot your thermostat instructions

Sometimes, a thermostat can be misread and cause trouble. For instance, if your thermostat is too old, it may not be able to give the right reading any longer. If the wires are disconnected or broken, it could also be causing a problem. Finally, if your thermostat is improperly set, it could be giving an incorrect reading. Many of these problems can be resolved simply by reading the manual and following the instructions for your thermostat.

Reset your furnace and check the wiring

If you’ve already checked the sensor itself and you’ve confirmed that it’s clear of dust and debris, you may want to reset your furnace and check the wiring. Sometimes, these systems will give an error code because they don’t have the wiring properly connected. If this is the case, you’ll be able to trace the wiring back and see where it’s loose or broken. You’ll also want to check that it’s connected to the correct terminals on your furnace by following the instructions in your manual. You can usually find the terminals near the thermostat or on the outside of your furnace.

Check the airflow to ensure nothing is blocking it

If the sensor itself is clear and the wiring is correct, you’ll want to check the airflow to ensure nothing is blocking it. This is also another common problem with Error Code 13. If something has built up and is blocking the airflow, the sensor won’t be able to get a clear reading. It’s important to take a look at your filter and make sure it isn’t full of debris. You’ll also want to ensure that nothing is blocking the ventilation system. If you’ve checked all of these things and your furnace is still giving you this error, you may have a bad temperature sensor or control board.

You may have a bad temperature sensor or control board

If nothing you’ve tried has worked, your temperature sensor may be bad. If you’ve determined that the sensor is clear and there isn’t any dust blocking it, you may have a bad sensor. You can usually test this by cleaning the sensor off and trying again. If that doesn’t work, you may have a bad sensor. If the sensor is clean but you’re still getting an error code, you may have a bad control board. You can check this by shutting off the power to your furnace and checking the terminals for your control board again. If it’s still giving you an error code, you may want to call a professional.


The best way to avoid furnace problems is to schedule annual furnace maintenance. This will help you identify any furnace problems before they become major issues. It will also let you catch any potential problems early so they can be fixed before they become very costly. With that said, if you’re seeing an error code on your furnace, don’t panic. Most of these issues are easily fixable and won’t cost you a ton of money to correct. You can also prevent most of them from ever happening in the first place by making sure you’re following the maintenance instructions for your furnace.