When your furnace doesn't seem to be heating your home, there are several options to research before calling a furnace repair professional.
Furnaces are incredibly important to every home owner, especially during the cold winter months. They keep your home at a comfortable temperature while the weather outside may literally be freezing! As with any home appliance, furnace repair is sometimes required to maintain your home's heated temperatures.
If you have a gas heating system, it's important to be aware of any leaking problems which may come up. Usually you can smell a gas leak. If you do begin to smell natural gas, it's important to call your gas company right away. When the smell is strong, they'll advise that you leave the house both for your own health and to keep you out of danger in case the gas combusts. Any type of spark could cause drastic consequences.
When your pilot light simply will not stay lit, you may have one of many problems. The thermocouple may be loose, requiring a technician's repair. Or the orifice may be clogged, not allowing gas to come through. You can actually remedy this problem with a thin piece of wire and some do-it-yourself furnace repair. Turn off the gas and shut off the furnace at the circuit breaker first, then stick a thin piece of wire into the tiny hole where the gas comes through to feed the pilot light. This procedure should knock out any ash or other debris that is clogging the tube. Finally, your gas flow may be turned down too low to keep the flame lit. Your owner's manual will give information on how the flame should look and how to adjust the amount of gas to achieve the perfect flame.
If you feel that your furnace doesn't seem to be giving out enough heat, there are several aspects to check before you call the technician. Check to see if anything is blocking the flow of warm air - perhaps a piece of furniture, a child's toy bin, a pillow, or other random item. Make sure that your thermostat is set properly. You may want to raise the temperature about five degrees and see if that kicks the heat on. Check the room's heating registers. They may not be opened. You can also check on the filter, since a dirty filter may block the air flow. If you find a dirty filter, replace it with a new one and see if that improves the heating system. Finally, if all these measures prove fruitless, it's time to call a professional furnace repair technician.
Sometimes the heating unit may be turned off by a tripped circuit breaker or even a blown fuse, so if your unit doesn't seem to be working at all, there are a number of items you can check. First of all, make sure the thermostat is set to heat. If it's been switched to the cooling or off position, it won't trip the heat on. Look at the circuit breaker and make sure the switches are turned to the on position. Make sure that the heating unit switch is turned on, and possibly reset the motor if it needs to be reset. If all else fails, it's time to call your technician!
Looking for some quick tips on how to keep your gas furnace in tip-top shape this winter? The Ultimate Gas Furnace Troubleshooting Guide will answer all of your questions, including how to turn on a furnace, how to change a furnace filter, how to test a furnace's airflow, what to do if a furnace doesn't ignite, and much more.
We hope you find this guide to be useful -- and we hope you stay warm this winter!
A) How to Turn On Your Gas Furnace
It sounds easy, but believe it or not, many people don’t know how to turn their furnace on or off. Here’s a simple, step-by-step breakdown:
* Find the breaker for your furnace. It's part of the electrical panel, which is usually located in your basement, utility room or garage. The breaker should be clearly labeled with a gas furnace sticker. Turn the breaker to the "On" position.
* Locate and turn on the furnace switch. It is typically somewhere near the bottom of your basement stairs – sometimes in the ceiling, sometimes in the furnace room itself, and usually at eye level or slightly higher.
* Set your thermostat. Check that the furnace is on and then make sure that the selector switch is set to "Heat". Finally, adjust your set point temperature, and that’s it – your furnace is turned and ready to heat your home!
B) How to Check and Change Your Furnace Filter
Proper maintenance of your furnace filter can help optimize airflow from your furnace, which will keep it running efficiently and economically during the coldest months of the year. To prevent burnout of your furnace parts, we recommend inspecting your filter monthly and changing it every three to six months. Here’s how it’s done:
* Begin by carefully opening the furnace’s external rack or panel door.
* Remove the furnace filter by sliding it out. Take a look at the filter to see if there’s any darkness or discoloration.
* If you can’t see through the filter, it’s definitely time for a new one. Slide the new filter into the furnace, making sure that it is installed in the direction of the airflow. And that’s it – you’re done!
C) How to Test Your Furnace's Airflow
If a room in your house is too cold during the winer, it might be because your furnace isn't supplying enough warm air through the registers in that particular room. There's a simple way to test the airflow from your furnace registers to make sure they are working properly -- the garbage bag airflow test.
The test is a quick way to estimate airflow by determining how long it takes to fill a common plastic garbage bag. While it is not a precise measurement, it is better than no measurement at all and will give you a good ideas as to whether you need to call a technician to look at your ductwork.
To do the garbage bag airflow test:
* Tape the mouth of the garbage bag to a coat hanger or piece of cardboard to keep it open.
* Crush the bag flat and place it over the register or exhaust hood.
* Count the number of seconds it takes for the bag to fully inflate.
If the inflation time is:
* 2 seconds = 37 L/s (75 cfm)
* 4 seconds = 20 L/s (40 cfm)
* 10 seconds = 10 L/s (20 cfm)
If the measured airflow is less than 10 L/s, the furnace is delivering only a small amount of heat to a room and needs to be further inspected to determine why the heat is not going through.
The garbage bag airflow test is also useful if you have changed your heating or cooling systems or have made major renovations to your house.
D) If Your Gas Furnace Fails to Ignite
If you can hear that your furnace is on and the fan is running, but all you’re getting is cold air, you likely have ignition failure. Try resetting your furnace by turning the switch to off for at least ten seconds, then, turning it on again. If that doesn’t do the trick, give your HVAC contractor a call.
E) Furnace Troubleshooting Checklist
Think your gas furnace has quit? You could save yourself the cost of a no-heat service call by checking the following:
* Is the furnace switch in the on position? It may have been turned off by mistake.
* Is the thermostat properly set to the "heat" position and the temperature set to your normal heat setting?
* Is the furnace venting blocked by snow or ice? If so, try to remove the blockage.
* Are the programmable thermostat batteries fresh?
* Is the circuit breaker in the electric panel in the proper position?
* Is the furnace door properly closed?
* Has the filter been changed recently?
If you’ve checked everything on the list and your furnace still isn’t working, give your local HVAC contractor a call, and they'll get your furnace back up and running as soon as possible.
F) How to Properly Remove Vent Blockages
If you become aware of a furnace problem that might involve the exterior vent, do a quick inspection and see if any snow, ice or some common household item might be blocking the vent. If so, before removing the obstruction, head inside first and turn the off the power to your furnace. Now, you can safely clear away whatever is blocking your exterior vent. Once you’re done, turn your furnace back on using either the breaker or the switch.
A lack of airflow through the furnace’s interior vents could mean your furnace fan motor has seized. If this has happened, don’t try to fix the problem yourself – contact the expert furnace repair technicians at your local HVAC contractor.
G) How to Stop Air Leaks and Prevent Heat Loss
Air leaks account for a significant amount of a home's heat loss in winter – resulting in increased heating costs as your furnace constantly tries to replace the warm air that has escaped from your home. Fixing these leaks will save you money on your heating bills.
To stop leaks around windows and doors:
* Remove the trims carefully.
* Fill large cracks or gaps with foam backer rod, oakum, or expanding polyurethane foam.
* Replace the trims and caulk along the edges.
To stop leaks along baseboards:
* Caulk along the seams without removing the baseboard.
* Remove the baseboard and caulk between the wall and the floor.
To stop leaks around electrical outlets on outside walls:
* Turn off power to the outlet and remove the outlet cover.
* Install a foam insulating pad.
* Replace the outlet cover turn the power back on to the outlet.
To stop leaks in an unfinished basement:
* Caulk under the basement sill plate and around the joists with a rubber–based caulking or acoustical sealant.
* Caulk any gaps where ducts enter a wall or ceiling.
* Insulate ducts with preformed wraps or duct–taped insulation batts.
To stop leaks in your attic:
* Seal any cracks.
* Weather strip your attic door and close it tightly.
H) If a Gas Smell is Detected
In the unlikely event that you smell something like a rotten egg smell, you could have a gas leak. Don’t turn on any electrical switches and open all of your windows. Then, go to a neighbour’s house and contact your HVAC contractor or your local gas provider immediately.
An HVAC system ensures that your home is properly heated, ventilated, and air-conditioned, thereby enabling you to live in a comfortable environment – one that vents away stale air, and introduces fresh air from outside. On average, the cost of installing a new HVAC system is somewhere between $6,820 and $12,350, which includes a new central conditioner, new ductwork, and a new gas furnace. On the other hand, replacing such a system, without the ductwork costs, costs $4,820 to $9,350. But this depends on the size of your home of course, as well as the grade and brand of the equipment chosen. Ductwork alone, depending on the length, costs $2,000 to 3,000 to install, and when you decide to upgrade the humidifier, air cleaner, or zoning system, the price will increase by about $2,000 to $4,000. Let’s break these costs down for easier understanding:
HVAC installation costs
So, HVAC installation can be divided into three packages:
HVAC replacement costs
As we mentioned above, the average price for replacing an HVAC system, including a new furnace and an AC unit, is around $4,820 and $9,350, and when the ductwork is included, it goes up from $6,820 to around $12,350, depending on the size of your home, the length of the ductwork as well as the brand of your HVAC system. But let’s ask ourselves, what if the problem is just in one section of the system, do you really need to replace the entire system? The answer is no! You can repair or replace each part individually, and the costs for doing so can be broken down as follows:
System repair costs
Now that we have talked about replacing or installing an HVAC system, how about we take a look at the cost of repairing the system, in cases where it doesn’t need to be replaced? So, across the United States, the average cost for minor repairs of the HVAC system ranges between $50 and $150. It all depends on the company you choose to perform the repairs. This price only goes up if there is a need to replace any of the components.
Installation or replacement cost factors
Costly furnace repair bills can be avoided by having a qualified HVAC technician regularly perform maintenance check ups on your heating unit. You depend upon your system to keep you warm throughout the winter months so you need to treat it well and keep it clean.
Did you know if you don't regularly have your home or business heating system checked you could stand the chance of it breaking down in the dead of winter? This happened to me, and believe me, it was an unforgettable experience. I had to learn the hard way just how to care for my heating system unit properly.
Ways to avoid costly furnace repair:
1. The most important thing you can do, and it hardly costs anything to do it, is to change your filter about every three months although it should be visually checked every month. This is vital to the cleanliness of your system as dirt and dust can build up quickly choking your unit. Summer and winter are the two heaviest usage months, so it's a good rule to get into the habit of checking it good during those months.
2. Just like you get your automobile tuned up, it's essential you have a skilled HVAC technician pay a visit to your basement or crawl space regularly. Each fall and spring are the best months to do this because they simply aren't as busy during those months as they are at other times of the year. Have them do a thorough maintenance in order to prevent system failure.
3. During the maintenance checkup, the technician will check your thermostat, the electrical components, and completely lubricate all moving parts. When all the parts aren't lubricated sufficiently, more electricity is required to run the system effectively. Plus, it just causes more wear and tear on your system which can also lead to failure.
4. He will also check out the drain where condensation ends up and unplug it if it is clogged with dirt. This process will help eliminate the buildup of bacteria and mold in your condensation pan.
5. All the control switches and valves will be thoroughly checked and reviewed like the on and off and timing switches. It goes without saying these crucial switches must work properly to keep your system from needing costly furnace repair.
6. The air filter is another critical part of your heating system. It must be cleaned or changed if necessary. Actually, this is something you can do yourself and that will help you avoid the additional charge to have an HVAC person come out to your house or business.
7. A carbon monoxide test should be done to see if there is any seeping through into your home's interior.
There are many other parts of your heating system unit that a qualified HVAC technician is trained to check and maintain in order to ensure your heating unit will work as well as it possibly can and stay working.
With these proper and regular maintenance tips, you should be able to avoid costly furnace repair work. Don't try to do the work yourself if you discover parts need to be replaced. That may lead to a dangerous situation and may end up being even more expensive. Hire a qualified furnace repair technician today.
HVAC repair is best done in the summer months when you do not require the use of your furnace. There are some minor preventative forms of maintenance that you can do yourself.
One of the best times of the year to tackle HVAC repair and related maintenance is in the summer months. If you have a furnace in your home then it is much easier to find an available technician during the summer months than it is once it gets cold. Preventative maintenance is much easier to perform in the warmer months because it is not cold outside there is less stress involved in doing the work (both for you and the repair person!).
If you look around your community you may find that there are HVAC repair companies that offer deals and specials to have work done during the summertime. If you need preventative maintenance or you are aware that your furnace has a problem then getting it done during the months when you do not need it to keep warm is very smart. As well if you can find a HVAC dealer who has a special promotion on then you can save money at the same time!
Know Your Furnace
It is a very good idea to have some basic knowledge about your furnace. By doing so you may be able to do some minor preventative maintenance of your own. If you are up for it there are some tasks involving your furnace that you can do yourself. Think of these tips as HVAC repair made simple!
You want to know for a certainty that your furnace goes through the cycle that it is supposed to go through. You want to make sure that everything is all right from start-up to shutdown. You can confirm this by taking a close look at the thermostat.
But then you also need to be sure that the thermostat is working properly. To do this, first find out if the supply of warm air is reaching every room in your home. Check the grates in all rooms to determine this for yourself. You also need to check the return air in the house to get an idea of the temperature. To do this check the large grate in your home. In most houses it can be found in the hallway but yours might be somewhere else throughout your residence. You are checking these things so that you can be sure that your thermostat is as accurate as it should be.
A very simple HVAC repair maintenance tip is to clean and then level the thermostat in your residence. If you have an older thermostat that still works well doing this can keep it in top-notch shape. Many of the older ones contain liquid mercury switches and when you clean and level them it improves the appearance of them.
Every furnace door features a safety switch that comes out or in some cases pops right out when the door is taken off. What you want to do is to make sure that the door is as clean as possible and is also unobstructed.
Before you hire a company for heating installation, make sure you have considered important factors, such as the brand of unit you want, permits you will need for the job, and the services you want offered by the installer. Read on for some more details you will need to take into account.
When you are installing a new heater or HVAC system, there are some considerations you need to make about the project even before hiring a company to handle the job. Understanding these aspects of heating installation will help you find the best possible company for the job.
Because of the skill needed to install HVAC systems, you may need a permit for the job. When interviewing installers, ask them about the process of obtaining the necessary permits, regardless of if you have a residential or business property. You should choose a company that will handle this part of the heating installation process for you.
Take some time to research the different brands on the market, and figure out the one that you want. Each brand has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, and you will likely find one that seems it will work well for you. Once you have a brand in mind, choose an installer that handles that particular brand, and has significant experience in installing those units.
Not all properties have cut-and-dried ductwork layouts or fit the cookie cutter ductwork that is available. If you have a unique space, you need to consider looking into customized ductwork for your heating installation. If necessary, choose a company that will create a design specifically for your living space and your preferences that will include custom ductwork. You will only run into complications if you attempt to make a cookie cutter ductwork design fit in a home or business that doesn’t fit the mold the designs were created for.
All installers will give you an estimate on the job, and most will provide this service free of charge. Make sure you ask before you schedule someone to come for an estimate, as you should not be paying for this service.
If you have an oil furnace and need to switch to a gas furnace, a company skilled in heating installation may be able to help. Ask them if they have oil to gas conversion service. Making this switch can save you substantial amounts of money on your utility bills, but you need a company who is skilled in the conversion process to make the switch feasible.
Since you are not likely an expert on HVAC system, you have no way to ensure that the job is done right. Choose a company that includes post-installing inspections in their service. These inspections ensure that your system is running efficiently and safely. This is not something you should leave up to the untrained eye.
If saving money on your utility bills while helping to protect the environment is important to you, choose a company that installs Energy Star rated furnace systems. Most companies will handle these units, but make sure you specify that you want the energy efficient model. While it may cost more at the outset, you will be saving up to 30 percent on your energy costs for heat by making the switch to an energy efficient model for your heating installation.
Most likely the type of heating system you have in your home is a forced air system. This type of system typically will continue to run smoothly with regular maintenance. Without regular maintenance, your furnace can quickly wear out. Maintaining your furnace should cost you a few hundred a year, if not less. This is definitely more favorable than replacing the whole system. Proper maintenance will also keep your furnace operating efficiently. Efficiency is key to saving money on heating bills since heating accounts for about one-third of your energy bill. However, the biggest motivation for having your furnace serviced regularly should be safety. Your home furnace could be a source of a carbon monoxide leak if not properly maintained.
The number one thing you can do to keep your furnace in top working order is to clean it regularly! If you hire someone to do the job they will replace the air filter and clean the filter system, motor, and blower. If you’re cleaning the furnace yourself, you may use a toothbrush to clean the fan blades and any other small areas accumulating dust. Before providing any maintenance on your heater be sure to switch off the power to the appliance by locating a switch. Also, do not forget to shut off the gas to the furnace by locating the knob near the gas line. The gas line is a black pipe that will be connected to the furnace. Turn the knob so that it sits perpendicular to the line to shut it off. It is now safe to open the furnace door, and vacuum in all the crevices your vacuum attachment can reach. Remember to vacuum out the base and around the base of the furnace. Try to remove as much debris and dust as possible. After cleaning the actual unit, make sure the area around the furnace is clean and clear of clutter as well. Never store any flammable liquids nearby or even in your furnace room.
Once all debris is removed, remove the old filter and replace it with a new one. The filter on your heater should be replaced monthly during the heating season. Continue to check all fan belts. The fan belts help the furnace blower operate. If you ever find that your furnace is running but heat is not being pushed through the vents, check for broken or worn fan belts. Replace any that look frayed, cracked, or worn. Check the tautness of the belts by pushing on the center of the belt. If the belt gives in more than an inch, the belt needs to be tightened by adjusting the the attachment bracket. If at any point you smell a gas leak, this is a serious problem. Do not continue to work on the furnace but leave your home and report the gas leak to your fire department and gas company.
If the unit constantly shuts off whenever the furnace kicks on and trips the circuit, this is due to an electrical problem. In this case, it is necessary to call an electrician or service professional to take a look at the problem. They will know how to safely fix the issue.
When all inspections and cleaning has been completed. Replace the anything that you removed such as the access panel. Turn the gas line valve back on and return power to the unit. You may need to relight the pilot light as well. Allow your pilot light to continually run. This will keep condensation at bay even when the furnace is not being used. Finally, use your furnace only as much as you need. In the colder months, dress a little warmer so you can set your thermostat lower. You’d be surprised how much you could save over the season by dropping your thermostat a couple of degrees! Also, try turning down the temperature even more when no one is home to maximize your energy savings.
Furnace repair is something that home owners should not do by themselves unless they have enough experience. This part of the house provides heat and warmth for the area when the winter months come in. For the most part of the year, this gadget is not used until autumn comes in and its use may extend up to the middle of February if the weather is not cooperative.
The thermostat is what controls the furnace when it comes to the degree of heat that it should produce. This is controlled manually by the people inside the house and can be lowered or increased according to their needs. For a centralized home, the overall temperature in the house may be controlled by just one control unit. When the temperature of the house is not the right one as indicated in the thermostat control, there may be something wrong with the control unit itself or the ducts that deliver the warm air. Furnace repair for a broken thermostat requires that the home owner, at least, have some idea how to fix it.
The ducts and the pipes that deliver and retrieve the warm and cold air might also be obstructed. The obstruction may be the cause for the varying degrees of warmth in the house. Openings that provide the warmth can be scanned to check if there is some debris or obstruction close to it but for a more extensive search, professional help may be necessary. Professional furnace repair workers have the necessary equipment, gadgets and tools to fix the unit as well as scan the pipes and ducts to check for obstruction or damages.
The unit functions using gas to provide heat for most of the areas in the domicile. If there is no gas, then there is no heat. The pipes that provide gas for the heater can be damage or obstructed which can cause the lack of warmth. While it is easy to check is there is damage to the pipes, leaking gas is dangerous and can explode or cause suffocation if left unattended. Professional furnace repair workers should be called in when this appears to be the case. People with no safety background regarding the handling of gas can cause accidents and fatalities.
It is a good idea to learn how to replace a busted fuse. Sometimes, the heater does not work simply because of a blown fuse which can easily be replaced by a fresh one. The fuse box may have instructions regarding the replacement of the fuse but it is a good idea to have the maintenance people show how to replace one. Keeping extra fuses is also beneficial and saves a trip to the hardware store. It is also advisable to save on energy by staying in one area of the domicile as much as possible to conserve energy. Using too much heat can tax the unit and cause it to wear down faster. Furnace repair may also be prevented through regular maintenance and checkups.
Which climate control units offer the simplest heating installation, repair, and maintenance methods? Here is a comparison of some of the major types available today.
So which climate control system is the most efficient, easiest to install, and has low installation and heating repair fees? There is no one magic unit that is perfect for each individual or house, but regardless if you are living in a dorm for six months or planning on building your dream home, there is a system that will work best for your needs and expectations. Here is a comparison of the current types of heaters available on the market.
If you’re on a tight budget or just want to warm a small area, portable heaters, also known as space heaters, are affordable options, ranging from $30 to $100. They come in different sizes, but even the small ones, which no taller than one foot, can pack a punch. They require little maintenance and plug into the wall, so they can be moved room to room as needed. They come in electric, kerosene, and gas varieties. Regardless of type, one big problem is the fire risk. If left unattended or too close to an object, it can start a fire. Space heaters have been responsible for many homes burning down as well as deaths. One should never leave the unit unattended while plugged in, and it should always be stored safely when not in use.
These types of climate control systems require a boiler or furnace (generally located in an unused area of the home such as a basement) and a series of ducts that carries the heated area throughout the area. Water, electric, and gas are the most commonly found varieties in homes. Installing an entirely new system is expensive and will cost thousands of dollars as the ductwork will need to be customized. Even replacing a boiler will quickly drain your wallet, so heating repair costs need to be budgeted. Overall, however, the performance of a well-maintained and designed central heat system is much better than portable or limited area systems. They will also raise the value of a home. In warmer climates, they are generally unnecessary and are not as common unless combined with an air conditioning unit.
New homes and remodelers are looking towards under floor or radiation heaters for more efficiency. There are hydronic and electric systems which run either heated water or electricity below the surfaces of the home (while the floor is the most common, they can be used in walls and ceilings as well). Instead of warming the air, the heat warms the object that it touches. Installation and heating repair will be expensive, but this disadvantage tends to balance out with high performance and lower energy bills. Homes that utilize radiation heat are often more comfortable and retain a much steadier temperature than air-based systems.
Solar Water Heater
For those seeking an eco-friendly alternative to gas or electric options, solar power is the way to go. It works by harnessing the sun’s power to do the work for you without resorting to non-renewable resources. Water is collected and then heated by the sun, which is then pumped into the home. It is a popular method in several other countries, and might gain momentum in the US as well.
Sometimes you can handle heating repair tasks on your own, but other times your safety is at risk if you do. Learn when you need to hire a professional and when you can safely tackle something as a DIY project.
Heating repair is one form of home improvement that you need to be very careful with. Some aspects of your HVAC system you can easily fix on your own, but others are best left to a professional. As a good rule of thumb, if you are not confident in your ability to fix something, you should not do so.
Safe to Do Yourself
Some tasks are tasks the average homeowner can handle. For instance, changing the furnace filter in your unit takes just a few minutes and requires no special skill. Simply remove the old filter and replace it with a new one. You can also vacuum or brush the heat exchanger surfaces once per year. Just remember to power off the unit before performing these maintenance tasks.
Replacing a thermostat is another task that you might be able to handle on your own, if you are comfortable working with wiring. You may also be able to light the pilot light on your unit if it goes out. Before doing either of these somewhat simple tasks, check with the owner’s manual for your HVAC system, and follow all instructions carefully.
Repairs That Need a Professional
Sometimes you are safer if you hire a HVAC professional to deal with your heating repair needs. No matter what the situation, if you are unsure about the safest way to do something, call in a pro. However, certain situations almost always require the skill of a trained, licensed contractor.
If your furnace stops working, take the time to troubleshoot the situation before calling in a professional. Make sure the thermostat is set properly, and check to see that the pilot light is lit if the model has one. Check the batteries in your thermostat as well. If the furnace has an electrical switch that turns it on and off, make sure it is on. If you have an oil burner, check the oil levels. If none of these situations are the cause of the problem, then you need a professional contractor to look at the unit and determine what is wrong. Attempting to fix other situations in your furnace could put your safety at risk.
If you need to add ductwork or adjust the layout of your ductwork in your furnace system, consider at least consulting with a professional. Failure to install ductwork properly could lead to energy loss through leaks in the system.
Finally, if you have determined that heating repair is not the answer, but rather you need to install a new furnace or HVAC system, you must use a licensed professional. Doing so ensures that the job is done to code and your family is safe. It also ensures you will not run into problems when it comes time to sell your property.
Finding the Right Contractor
When you need heating repair services, take the time to find a highly recommended contractor. Ask others who have had heating work done, or look at reviews on third-party websites. These resources will help you find a contractor with excellent skills and a solid reputation.