Most homeowners simply turn on their heat and enjoy the warmth during the winter. Many don’t think about how a furnace operates or if it needs replacing. Here, our heating experts share five signs to look for that can indicate you’re in need of a new furnace:
Fall is officially here and while temperatures are still pretty warm, they won’t stay that way for much longer. Once the cool, crisp nights kick in, you’ll want your heater to take the chill off. But if you wait until you’re cold to turn it on for the first time, you may find out that there’s something wrong with it and be stuck waiting for a repair.
At our heating company, we always tell our customers It’s not too early to make sure your heater is working properly. Here are some things you can do to prep it for the cold months:
Replace the filter
Start your heater off with a fresh, clean filter for the winter months and it’ll trap more dirt, dust, and allergens to help you stay healthy.
Inspect the exhaust flue
The exhaust flue is what carries gasses away from your home and outside, so inspect it to make sure it’s clear and that nothing is obstructing it (like leaves, nests, branches, etc.).
Clear away the area
If you have any storage items (boxes, furniture, paints, etc.) near or on top of your heater, make sure you move them away from the unit. You don’t want anything catching on fire.
Check your vents
Check the vents around your home and make sure that nothing is obstructing the path of airflow. It’s also a good idea to give your vents a good dusting; simply remove the vent covers and use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any dust and dirt that may have collected over the summer.
Our West Chester heating experts will do a seasonal inspection to make sure that your heater is good to go. We’ll check for problems like leaks, cracked belts, motor issues, and more, and if we find anything that needs addressed, we’ll fix it up quickly.
Nothing feels better than the safety of your own home, but there are actually a wide array of hazards that could compromise your well-being. While you may think of children when it comes to safety hazards, individuals of any age can be affected. To keep you and your family safe, remember these risks and take actions to prevent them:
Believe it or not, there are fire hazards all over your home, and many of them are electrical. Our electrical repair specialists advise against overloading your electrical outlets. In fact, you should unplug any small appliances that are not in use. In addition, check all of your appliances on a regular basis for frayed or damaged cords that can lead to an electrical fire.
As far as other fire hazards, make sure you regularly clean out the lint in your dryer vent. Lint buildup can easily spark a fire. Also, always blow out candles when you’re not in the room, and never light them close to flammable materials.
Every year, around 200 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning. This gas is both colorless and odorless (hence the nickname “the silent killer”), and is often produced when fuel-burning appliances malfunction. These include fireplaces, portable generators, stoves, clothing dryers, and more. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, install detectors near bedrooms and in other places they can be easily heard if triggered. Also, never block the exhaust system of a fuel-burning appliance or try to repair one on your own. Instead, call a professional.
Make sure any sharp objects in your home are safely out of the reach of children and are properly protected. These include common kitchen items like knives, cheese graters, scissors, blender or food processor blades, skewers, corkscrews, and peelers. It also includes things in your garage or shed, such as rakes, shears, nails and screws, and saw blades.
Toxic substances can be harmful to not only children, but pets as well. Safely store things like paint, paint thinner, bleach, detergents, cleaners, pesticides, furniture polish, air fresheners, and other dangerous items in a locked cabinet or on a high shelf. Also be sure to keep them out of range of heat and flames.
The number one reason a stove is dangerous is because it can potentially burn your family members, but in addition, an improperly installed stove can cause even bigger problems. If the stove wasn’t installed on a level surface, it has the potential to tip over and crush fingers or toes, and if a gas stove isn’t hooked up properly, it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
There are several different things outside that could lead to an injury. Staircases are a major culprit for falls, so make sure your stairs aren’t cracked, uneven, or missing pieces. Also make sure they’re well lit at nighttime and have a banister for balance.
While fun, swing sets can also pose a threat. Look for rusted pieces, splintered wood, and sharp objects. Also, if the swing set is old, consider reinforcing it to prevent parts of it collapsing.
In addition, if you have a pool, make sure there is a secure fence around it to prevent children from falling in and that any ladders that aren’t in use are removed.
Even though it’s one of the smallest places in your home, your bathroom can be more dangerous than you may think. Bathtubs and showers can be very slippery when wet, and can therefore be a threat to family members of any age. Install grab bars for balance and anti-slip floor mats for grip. Your medicine cabinet should also be locked to prevent children and other members from accessing potentially dangerous medication. Things like nail polish, nail polish remover, hairspray, hair dyes, and mouthwash should also be out of reach.
When you run a business or organization, your heating system is probably the last thing you worry about. However, there’s always the possibility that something can go wrong and that your system will be in need of a repair. Take a minute and observe. If you see or hear any of the following things, your system is probably due for a repair.
If your business uses a boiler, it means that your heating system uses water to heat the area. You may find small spots of water every once in awhile, but if you experience leaking (which could include a wet ceiling, dripping noises, or water around your radiator or baseboard), call our heating experts right away.
Commercial heating systems tend to make a lot of noise, but there are some noises that simply aren’t normal. If you hear things like grinding or “boom”ing, you could have a problem with your air handler motor bearings or a burner may be misfiring. Other noises include hissing and gurgling. If you hear any of these noises, it’s a good idea to contact us.
If the rooms in your building simply aren’t warming up like they should, your heating system could be experiencing a variety of problems, including burner issues, piping system issues, air duct issues, and more. Our experts will take a look at your system and determine what’s causing the under-par performance.
Higher Heating Bills
If the weather is colder than usual, then you can definitely expect a higher heating bill, but if the bill gives you sticker shock or it’s at a high price even when the weather is warmer, something may be wrong. It’s most likely an issue of wear and tear – as the years go by, the parts that make up a heating system slowly start to wear down and can decrease the efficiency of the system. Let us figure out what the problem is and fix it for you.
While it’s normal for commercial heating systems to run more when the temperature drops, short cycles could indicate there’s an underlying issue. If you notice your system turns itself on and off over and over throughout the day, it could be overheating. When a system overheats, it activates a “shut-off” switch, and if it overheats every time it turns on, you’ll hear it turn off fairly quickly.
No matter what the problem, our commercial heating experts can fix it. Give us a call at 1-877-757-1141 and set up an appointment.
Winter is far from over, and we know you’ve probably been cherishing the warmth that your furnace provides on these cold nights. However, if your beloved furnace has been malfunctioning or making strange noises, there could be something that needs fixed as soon as possible. Here are some signs of trouble:
If your furnace whines while it’s running, it may have a damaged blower motor, which is the most common cause of whining noises. At Oliver, our furnace repair specialists can take a look at it. We’ll also inspect your blower belt, which could whine if it’s slipping or loose. Depending on the damage, we’ll repair or replace the equipment causing the issue.
There’s a loud sound when you turn it on
Loud bangs, pops, or grinding noises are signs that something is loose or broken. If you hear scraping or grinding, you may have a problem with your blower wheel or one of the burners. If you hear a bang or pop, it may mean that your furnace burners are dirty. Dirt causes a delay in ignition, which leads to excess gas buildup. Once the gas ignites, you’ll hear a loud noise. None of these noises should be ignored – call us right away.
It runs constantly
If your furnace has a tendency to run all the time or constantly turns on for just a few minutes, check to make sure the air filter isn’t clogged. If it’s not, it could be a number of problems, including your thermostat, air seal, or something in the unit itself. If you can’t identify the problem, our furnace repair experts would be glad to help.
There’s no heat
A furnace is supposed to provide heat, right? If it’s not, you may have a problem with your pilot light, gas valve, circuit breaker, thermostat, fan blower belt, or ignition. Once you call us, we’ll examine your unit and determine what the problem is. Furnace troubles can vary, depending on the air that’s coming from them (whether it’s cold air or no air at all).
You’ve repaired it recently
If you’ve had your furnace repaired in the last 18 months and you need another repair, it may be time to invest in a new furnace. This is especially true if yours is 15-20 years old. You could be in for even more repairs and a decrease in efficiency (which leads to higher energy bills). At Oliver, we can help you find a furnace that fits your needs and your budget.
Welcome back to our guest bloggers series! Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Thompson Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling. Thompson is located in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area, and graciously allowed us to republish this list of five problems people commonly encounter with gas furnaces. We hope that these tips are helpful in keeping your home comfortable this winter!
It’s that time of year — temperatures have dipped and you’re using your heating system on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many people find that their natural gas-powered furnace isn’t operating properly once they start using it again in the fall or winter. The problem may be fixed with something as simple as relighting the pilot light or replacing the filter, or you may need a more complex furnace repair. Here are five common gas furnace problems, along with possible causes and repairs.
1. Furnace is not producing heat.
Possible causes include a broken thermostat; the thermostat being set too low; an out pilot light; a blown fuse or circuit breaker; a closed gas valve; or electronic ignition problems.
Depending on the cause of the problem, you may need to make sure the thermostat is in “heat mode” and adjust it up a few degrees; relight the pilot light; replace a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker; troubleshoot the thermostat; or troubleshoot electronic ignition problems.
2. Furnace is not producing enough heat.
This may be caused by obstructed airflow or dirty or misaligned gas burners. In some cases, airflow is obstructed by a dirty furnace air filter, and if it is replaced, the problem is solved.
To troubleshoot the problem, try replacing the air filter, and if that doesn’t solve the problem, have a technician come out to clean/adjust the burners and make sure airflow to the combustion air chamber isn’t obstructed.
3. Blower always running
The thermostat may be set to the “fan continuous” setting, or, in cases where the thermostat has no fan setting, your furnace may have a faulty fan limit control switch.
To fix the problem, you might only need to adjust the thermostat fan setting, or it may be necessary to reset or replace the fan limit control switch on your furnace.
4. Furnace coming on and off too quickly
This behavior could be caused by a problem with the heat anticipator in the thermostat, a problem with the blower motor, or a dirty furnace air filter.
Start by replacing the air filter. If this doesn’t solve the issue, you may need to adjust the thermostat heat anticipator or troubleshoot the blower motor. The blower motor may need to be oiled at lubrication points, or have its belt adjusted (if it is too loose) or replaced (if it is frayed).
5. Noisy Operation
You may be able to determine the cause of a loud furnace by the pitch of the sound it is making: a high-pitched noise may indicate shaft bearings need oiling or that the blower belt is slipping; a low-pitched sound can mean that the pilot light is poorly adjusted or that the gas burners are dirty.
To troubleshoot, try oiling blower motor lubrication ports and checking for proper belt tension and that the belt is not frayed. You can also try adjusting the pilot light and having a furnace service technician clean or adjust your gas burners.
In many cases, troubleshooting and furnace repairs will require the services of an HVAC systems professional. Even if your gas furnace seems to be operating fine now, it’s important to schedule an annual heating tune-up to ensure that it will continue to function properly throughout the entire cold season.
Thanks again to Thompson for contributing this article! To learn more about the Thompson company, please visit their website.