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Posts Tagged ‘Furnace maintenance tips’

 

Simple Furnace Fixes

If your furnace quits or breaks down try these eight simple solutions before you call for service help. You can solve the problem and avoid a $200 service call.

  • Solution 1: Check the thermostat to make sure it’s on
  • Solution 2: Check shutoff switches and breakers
  • Solution 3: Change filters
  • Solution 4: Make sure the gas is on
  • Solution 5: Make sure the chimney exhaust flue is clear
  • Solution 6: Flush out drain lines
  • Solution 7: Look for blocked or leaky ducts that can restrict airflow
  • Solution 8: Clean away leaves and debris from heat pumps or intake and exhaust vents.

Solution 1: Check the thermostat to make sure it’s on

Move the thermostat setting to “heat.”
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Thermostat controls

Move the thermostat setting to “heat.”

A furnace can be intimidating—especially when it’s not working. However, there is good news from furnace repair pros. Roughly a quarter of all service calls could be avoided with easy fixes that cost little or nothing. In this article, we’ll focus on the common culprits and show you what to do about them.

Before you assume you have a furnace problem, check the thermostat to make sure it’s actually telling the furnace to come on. Thermostats, especially programmable ones, cann be complicated, and the more options a thermostat has, the more that can go wrong.

  • Make sure the switch is on “Heat” rather than on “Cool.”
  • Check the temperature setting.
  • Compare the temperature setting to the room temperature. Set the temperature five degrees higher than the room temperature and see if the furnace kicks on.
  • Make sure the program is displaying the right day and time, as well as a.m. and p.m. settings.
  • Trace the thermostat wires back to the furnace to check for breaks, especially if you’ve done any remodeling recently. If you find a break in one of the thin wires, splice the line back together and wrap it with electrical tape.
  • Replace the battery. If you have a power outage with a dead battery, you’ll lose your settings and the thermostat will revert to the default program.
  • Open the thermostat and gently blow out any dust or debris. Make sure it’s level and firmly attached on the wall, and that none of the wires coming into it are loose.
  • If you can’t make the program settings work, you can bypass them altogether. Simply punch in the temperature you want with the up/down control and then press the hold button. That will switch on the furnace if the thermostat programming is the problem.

Tip: Lost your owner’s manual? Most major-brand manuals are on the Web—just go to the manufacturer’s Web site.

Furnace trouble spots

Furnace trouble spots

High efficiency furnace trouble spots

High efficiency furnace trouble spots

Figure A: 8 Things to Check Before You Call a Repair Service

You can check and correct all eight items in just a few minutes. We show a gas-fired, forced-air furnace here, but most of the same checks apply to electric systems and hot water boilers.

Note: You can download Figure A and enlarge it in Additional Information below.

Solution 2: Check shutoff switches and breakers

It sounds unbelievable, but furnace technicians often find that the only “repair” a furnace needs is to be turned on. Look for a standard wall switch on or near the furnace—all furnaces, no matter what age or type, have one somewhere. Check the circuit breaker or fuse for the furnace as well. Make sure the front panel covering the blower motor is securely fastened—there’s a push-in switch under it that must be fully depressed for the furnace to operate.

Solution 3: Change filters

A clogged furnace filter can cause a furnace to shut off.
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Furnace filters

A clogged furnace filter can cause a furnace to shut off.

Dirty filters are the most common cause of furnace problems. Dust and dirt restrict airflow—and if the filter gets too clogged, the heat exchanger will overheat and shut off too quickly, and your house won’t warm up. If the blower is running but no heat is coming out, replace the filter. A dirty filter also causes soot buildup on the heat exchanger, reducing the efficiency of the furnace and shortening its life.

The owner’s manual shows where the filter is and how to remove it. Change inexpensive flat filters at least once a month. Make sure that the arrow points toward the furnace. Inspect pleated filters once a month. Hold them up to the light and if you can’t see the light clearly through them, replace them. Manufacturers say pleated filters are good for three months, but change them more frequently if you have pets, kids or generate lots of dust.

CAUTION!

Always turn off the shutoff switch (see Solution 2) and turn the thermostat off or all the way down before changing the filter or working on the thermostat or furnace.

Solution 4: Make sure the gas is on

Just as with switches, someone may have turned off a gas valve and then forgotten to turn it back on. Trace the gas line back from the furnace to the meter, and if you see a handle that’s perpendicular to the gas pipe, turn it so it’s parallel. If you have an old furnace or boiler, you may have a pilot light. Remove the front panel and the burner cover and check to make sure it’s lit.

Solution 5: Make sure the chimney exhaust flue is clear

Drawn by the warmth, birds sometimes fall into the chimney exhaust flue. Turn the furnace off and the thermostat all the way down, then dismantle the duct where it exits the furnace and check for debris. Be sure to reassemble the sections in the same order and direction that you took them out.

Solution 6: Flush out drain lines

High-efficiency furnaces can drain off several gallons of water a day in heating season. If the drain lines become restricted by sediment or mold growth, the furnace will shut down. If the drain hose looks dirty, remove the hose, fill it with a mixture of bleach and water (25 percent bleach), then flush it after several minutes.

Solution 7: Look for blocked or leaky ducts that can restrict airflow

If your furnace comes on but one or two rooms are cold, first make sure all the room registers are open. Then examine any ductwork you can get access to and look for gaps between sections or branching points. Seal any gaps between sections of duct with special metal duct tape. Don’t use standard cloth duct tape—it quickly deteriorates, and it may also cause ducts to leak if it was used to seal sections in the past.

Also check for handles protruding from the ductwork. These are dampers or air conditioner bypasses—make sure they’re open.

Solution 8: Clean away leaves and debris from heat pumps or intake and exhaust vents.

If you have a furnace that vents out the side of the house, make sure nothing is blocking the intake or exhaust. If either of the pipes is covered with screen mesh (like window screen), replace it with 1/2-in.-mesh hardware cloth. If ice is clogging one of the pipes, you have a bigger problem somewhere in the system. Clear it off and call a technician to find out why it’s happening.

If you have a heat pump, clear away grass and leaves from the fins of the outdoor compressor unit. Before heating season starts, hose it down gently from the top to rinse dirt and debris out of the housing.

Thanks to Family Handy Man

Please share your tips and suggestion to check if furnace not working in the comments section below. Rent a brand new High Eff Furnace from morEnergy for $59.95/month and get a GE appliance (Fridge/Stove/Dishwasher) Call us today for more details 1-866-225-7204.

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Furnace Maintenance

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Furnace maintenance is extremely important to the life of your furnace; proper cleaning and repair will ensure that your furnace works its best and lasts as long as you own your home. Here are some tips to help you keep your furnace in good running order so that you don’t have to replace before its time.

Furnace Care and Maintenance

Start by considering your furnace filters – do they need changing or replacing? Furnace filters catch all the dust, debris and hair that run through your ducts and help to purify the heat that comes out of your vents. When the filter gets clogged, your furnace stops running as well and exerts more energy than necessary. In extreme cases, the blower may be affected, triggering the need for costly repairs. Replace your disposable filters as the first part of heating maintenance.

Schedule a tune-up yearly by a licensed HVAC repair specialist to keep your furnace in good running order. It’s a good idea to schedule this in early fall, before you have to turn on your furnace, to give you time to schedule any furnace repairs that need to be done. A technician will check your flues, ducts and temperature settings, examine your heat exchanger for cracks or other damage, and double-check all safety mechanisms to ensure proper furnace efficiency. HVAC maintenance should take place regularly if you want to avoid emergency furnace repairs.

Some HVAC technicians will offer furnace maintenance packages. It may be a good idea to look into these if you don’t feel up to maintaining your furnace yourself. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can keep your furnace running efficiently by checking your owner’s manual regularly. Tasks you can do yourself include checking to see if the blower motor needs to be lubricated, replacing frayed belts, checking for visible cracks or blockages, and more.

Proper furnace maintenance allows you to keep your furnace running longer and put off any expensive repairs. Always make sure to check your furnace annually for any of the problems mentioned above and keep your equipment in good running order.

How to Practice Safe Furnace Cleaning

When you are cleaning your furnace, three things should be cleaned:

  • The filter system
  • The blower
  • The motor

Replace your furnace filter at the beginning of the heating season to keep your home cleaner and to keep dirt and debris from flying into your blower and ruining it. Check the filter by holding it up to the light. You’ll be able to see if it’s clogged just by looking at it. If it’s disposable, replace it. If it’s a permanent filter, follow the instructions on the side of your furnace to learn how to clean it.

Clean your blower by removing the panel that covers the filter to gain access to the blower or the panel on the front of the furnace. Slide out the fan unit to gain access to the blower and clean it out. If you are not comfortable doing this, hire a certified HVAC specialist to clean all three parts of your furnace for you. HVAC specialists have a complete range of experience with gas furnace cleaning, oil furnace cleaning, and electric furnace cleaning. It is a good idea to get your furnace serviced by a professional even if you are willing to clean it yourself.

You should also clean your furnace’s duct system. Furnace duct cleaning is a huge industry and it actually does improve the quality of the air in your home as well as the efficiency of your furnace. Benefits of duct cleaning include:

    • It can provide you with better indoor air quality (or IAQ)
    • It reduces the presence of house molds and allergens
    • It eliminates extraneous dust in your home
    • It provides better airflow in your home
    • It helps to reduce energy costs

Furnace cleaning is extremely important to the life of your furnace. Schedule your furnace cleaning before the heating season starts to put your furnace in sound running order.

Furnace Filters

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Since the average person breathes in over 35,000 pints of air a day, all of which is filled with billions of particles of dust, furnace filters clean the air significantly so that the air we breathe is better for us. Furnace filters remove allergens and dust from the air, purifying the air in our homes.

Furnace filters need to be changed several times a year to maintain their benefits. While they don’t necessarily lower your energy bill, the health benefits are numerous, and it has been proven that, over time, a well-maintained furnace with special attention paid to replacing the filter will prolong the life of your furnace and cut down on unnecessary repairs to the blower or mechanisms due to dust damage.

Types of Furnace Filters

Furnace filters come in different sizes, types and shapes to fit your individual furnace. Some types include:

  • HEPA furnace filters. These are filters that block allergens. While they work for people with extreme allergies, they can also block airflow, so ensure that your furnace can handle a HEPA filter before you use one.
  • 3M furnace filters. These disposable filters fit most furnaces and provide medium-level protection against allergens and dust.
  • Electrostatic furnace filters. These filters attract dirt and dust for a cleaner airflow, but don’t block allergens.
  • Washable furnace filters. Extremely durable, washable filters are probably the best option for both airflow and allergens, if the filter carries a high MERV rating.

Whatever filter you choose, make sure you do your research and choose the best one for your furnace. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to find the filter you need to protect yourself, your family and your furnace.

Hope all these tips helps you to keep your furnace in good condition ready for the season. If you have any please share in the comments section below.

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Contact us today at 1-866-225-7204 to book your new furnace. 

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