What do you do when you start having trouble on a blistering cold day? It might begin with your furnace making a noise you do not recognize. Or maybe it came to a complete stop. What next?
Calling an HVAC service technician is an excellent next step, but often you have to wait a few days or more during the busy season. Meanwhile, you can light the fireplace, pull out the wool blankets, and dress in layers.
Signs Your Furnace Needs to Be Repaired
Your furnace might need to be repaired if the following occurs:
- Changes in airflow
- Short cycling
- Abnormal long runtime
- Abnormal sounds and smells
Airflow changes mean that sometimes a vent can become partially or entirely blocked. This may have to do with a reduction in force from the furnace or a blocked section of ductwork. Ductwork can be cleaned (it’s best to let a professional do this), and the furnace can be cleaned as well. The problem might lie with an excess amount of debris inside the furnace. A thorough inspection can find the root cause.
One solution that you can do on your own: Check your filter. If it’s clogged, it’s robbing your furnace of airflow, which can cause a variety of health and system problems. Most filters can be changed by the homeowner.
Short-cycling means your HVAC is turning on and off more than it should. When this happens, it doesn’t allow the hot and cold air in the house to mix and leaves stubborn hot and cold spots. This is also hard on your furnace. The more times it has to start, the quicker it will wear out.
If it’s continuing to run without shutting off, even though it’s not sub-zero outside, it might be a sign of trouble. You might need to keep a sharp eye on your utility bill; if it spikes and you can’t attribute it to the weather or some other factor, it may be that the furnace is underperforming.
If you’re hearing loud sounds and smelling something off, it might be a motor burning out or a buildup of mold inside the unit.
Leaks can indicate a few issues, including a damaged heat exchanger and a faulty seal on your evaporator coil.
If you think your system might need to be replaced, we recommend you check out our furnace replacement cost article here.
Practices to Prevent Furnace Repairs
You can never totally avoid furnace repairs. But you do have the power to minimize them.
- Change your HVAC system’s filter. How often you need to change your filter depends on the type of filter you have.
- Schedule regular maintenance. A tune-up, we recommend one every year, can ensure that your furnace is prepared to heat your home. And during an annual tune-up, your HVAC service technician can catch issues before leaving you without heat on the coldest day of the year. In addition, a good contractor will inspect the furnace inside and out.
- Have your HVAC contractor ensure your static pressure isn’t too high or low. An imbalance of static pressure can cause your system to work too hard to pull air through and cause parts to wear out faster than expected.
What Does a Furnace Inspection Include?
To make sure that your furnace is operating as it should, your HVAC technician must inspect for specific safety and performance benchmarks during your annual furnace tune-up.
At a minimum, furnace safety and performance benchmarks include:
- Carbon monoxide levels
- Satisfactory flue venting
- The condition of gas line components
- Safety shut-off equipment
- The state of your furnace’s heat exchanger(s)
- The state of your system’s filter
- The condition of your furnace’s flame sensor
- Your furnace’s temperature rise
- The condition of your system’s blower motor
What Does a Furnace Cleaning Include?
Once your technician confirms that your furnace is operating safely, they should also clean your furnace. This helps maintain your system’s performance and keeps the air in your home cleaner. Some HVAC companies offer maintenance packages with different levels of cleaning during your furnace tune-up. During a furnace tune-up, the components that your HVAC technician should clean include:
- The flame sensor. A flame sensor monitors whether a flame is burning inside the unit. With a gas furnace, when the flame sensor collects too much soot, it can prevent it from turning on and will need to be cleaned by your technician.
- The plenums. The plenum on your HVAC system is simply a box where your air ducts and the supply come together. You should have two plenums that connect directly to your furnace. They help move the air into your living spaces. Your HVAC technician should inspect these for mold, dust, insulation, and other debris.
- The furnace cabinet. Your furnace cabinet accumulates dust and other debris, affecting your system’s performance.
- Deep cleaning for your HVAC system. In some cases, your furnace may need a deeper level of cleaning than a standard tune-up offers. Regular deep cleaning can also benefit homeowners with an older, dusty house, pets, or ducts caked with debris.
Maintaining Furnaces in Gahanna, Ohio
Additionally, at Fire and Ice, we make sure that your products' function. A few weeks after installation, one of our representatives will make a return visit to your home to make sure everything is running properly. We also go over your comfort options with you and inspect the installation. We then report any issues back to our team and management.
We also utilize a service called Nexia Diagnostics allows us to remotely monitor your home’s HVAC. Using the data this system provides, we can provide proactive services and help to prevent some long-term performance issues.
Furnace Tune-Up in Gahanna, Ohio
Regularly changing your filter and scheduling routine maintenance are good practices for any system to keep it up and running. If you’re dealing with a system that’s not producing enough heat or not turning on at all, it’s time to schedule a visit from a technician.
If you’re in Gahanna, OH, or the surrounding area, reach out to us today.
At Fire & Ice, we take pride in doing the work correctly the first time, every time. Whether it’s a repair, a replacement, a new installation, or a cleaning, we have the expertise and knowledge to get your system working to provide maximum comfort to your home.
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