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:
Heating repairs are never fun – especially if they happen in the dead of winter. At Oliver Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, & Electrical, we’re here for your repairs 24/7. From strange noises to uncommon sounds to too-little heat, we can figure out what’s wrong and get it back to right. Here’s why so many homeowners trust Oliver for their heating repairs:
Like home HVAC systems, commercial HVAC systems are important to the comfort of those inside the building, however, there are usually many more people to please. That’s why it’s important to know when you should replace your commercial HVAC system – you don’t want your students, employees, volunteers, etc. to have to work in an uncomfortable environment.
At Oliver, we’re always telling our customers how important HVAC maintenance is. A reliable HVAC maintenance plan can keep your unit running smoothly, improve its reliability, and extend its lifespan. Some of our service calls are made because the HVAC unit hasn’t been properly maintained. Here are some things that could happen when you don’t have a maintenance plan:
Improperly Functioning Thermostat
When your thermostat doesn’t function properly, your HVAC unit may not turn on when it’s supposed to or turn off when it’s supposed to. Not only is this bad for the unit, but it also affects the comfort of you and your family.
Your HVAC unit’s evaporator coil is located on your indoor unit and works much like a radiator to make sure that the air flowing through your ductwork is heated or cooled properly. A dirty evaporator coil can restrict airflow, which can also dramatically reduce your unit’s efficiency. The dirt can also harbor mold and mildew, giving your indoor air poor quality.
During the summer, your outside HVAC unit’s condenser coil is responsible for eliminating the hot air that is sent to it. The cleaner the coil, the more efficiently it can handle the hot air. If your condenser coil is dirty, your unit’s efficiency can dramatically drop, hiking up your energy bills and reducing the unit’s lifespan.
The role of an HVAC air filter is to filter out pollen, allergens, dander, and other airborne particles that can harm your health. A good air filter will give you high-quality indoor air that can not only prevent illnesses but also shorten them. When your air filter is dirty, airborne particles aren’t filtered; instead, they enter your home through your ductwork and are breathed in by you and your family.
Your condenser is one of the most important parts of your HVAC unit. It’s responsible for desuperheating, condensing, and subcooling to make sure the air that flows through your home is the right temperature. A blocked condenser means the heat transfer that usually occurs won’t be able to take place and the condenser’s temperature will rise. When this happens, your HVAC unit won’t operate efficiently and if not taken care of, your condenser could burn out.
Leaks in an HVAC unit can be caused by several common scenarios: the drain hole is blocked with dirt or debris, the condenser pump is broken, the seals on your unit aren’t tight, or your hose is clogged or blocked. All of these things can occur if you don’t properly maintain your HVAC unit.
As part of our maintenance plan, we’ll perform an annual 21-point inspection where we’ll make sure that your HVAC unit can power up properly and power down properly. If it can’t, you’ll run into a lot of frustration when your home is too warm or too cool and you can’t run your unit properly in order to adjust the thermostat.
The role of your HVAC’s blower is to circulate the warm or cool air throughout your home. When it gets dirty, it requires more energy to operate, which increases your energy bills. If a blower gets dirty enough, it will fail and once it fails, it’s a sign that more problems are to come. If this happens, many HVAC companies recommend replacing your entire HVAC system.
Unfortunately, heating systems only last so long and there comes a time when you’ll need to replace yours. If your system falls under one of these “if”s, it may be time to call our heating installation experts:
If it’s old and inefficient
Take a moment to determine how old your heating system is. If it’s between 15 and 20 years old, our Oliver heating service experts recommend replacing it. Over time, the efficiency of a system deteriorates and you could actually be paying more money than you need to to heat your home.
If you have humidity problems
Have you noticed that your home’s air is too humid in the summer or too dry in the winter? If so, the problem could be an inadequate heating system. Schedule an appointment with one of our experts. We can tell you whether you should replace your system or not.
If it needs frequent repairs
A heating system that is constantly in need of repairs should be a red flag to homeowners. Constant repairs not only cost you money, but they often mean that your system isn’t doing the best job of heating your home and you’re better off upgrading to a newer one.
If your heating bills are rising
If the price of your heating has stayed relatively the same but your bills have gone up, your heating system is using more energy than it should be. Switch to a more energy efficient system and you’ll be able to save your money.
If some rooms are cold and others are hot
Have you ever walked from one room in your home to another and wondered why the second room is so different in temperature? This is a sign that your heating system isn’t operating at its best and can’t properly distribute warm air to your home’s rooms.
If your heating system is making weird noises
One of the most obvious signs of a heating system that’s on it’s way to failure is one that makes weird noises like pops, rattles, squeals, and more. If you hear weird noises coming from your system, call our heating installation experts today.
If any of these scenarios apply to your heating system, you’re most likely better off upgrading it to a newer model. At Oliver, we carry a wide array of systems and can help you pick the right one to heat your home efficiently and help you save money on your bills.
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.
This past weekend, winter storm Jonas dropped well over two feet of snow in much of the Northeast and at Oliver, we were getting calls left and right because of it. One of the most popular issues in the area was a heater that simply stopped working, which can happen during a snowstorm. Here are four ways the snow can affect your heater:
Block Air Intakes
Our on-call managers fielded many questions about shut-down heaters due to snow that had piled up and blocked their fresh air intakes. When your heater’s intake is blocked due to snow or ice, it causes the unit to shut down.
While heaters need to take in fresh air in order to operate properly, they also need to expel air through an exhaust. If their exhaust gets blocked due to snow or ice, it can also cause the unit to shut down.
Gas furnaces and boilers both have controls that can be susceptible to water damage, especially during heavy rains or when snow starts to melt. If these elements experience enough water, they’ll begin to corrode and could cause reliability issues.
On some occasions, snow and ice could build up on your unit’s aluminum fan and coil fins. When this happens, the weight of the build-up could cause them to bend and eventually break. If you notice a loud sound while your heater is on, bent fins could be why.
How to Prevent Damage
If you know you’re going to get a snowstorm, be sure to include clearing the air intakes, exhaust, and space around outdoor heat pump units in your snow removal plan. Also make sure that after bad weather, there isn’t snow or ice accumulated on the top of the outdoor unit of your heat pump or air conditioner. If there is, turn off the unit and use warm water to melt it away. After it’s clear, turn it back on.
With a blizzard on the way, the heating service experts at Oliver Heating & Cooling just want to remind our customers that we’re here in case you need us. We know that snowstorms can bring unpredictable situations, like power outages or burst pipes, and we encourage you to call us at 1-877-757-1141 if you’re in need of heating or plumbing services.
If your heater malfunctions or stops working, our heating experts can come out and take a look at it. After we assess the problem, we’ll work quickly to get your heater back up and running so that you and your family can stay warm.
On the other hand, if you have a plumbing problem, we can send a plumbing specialist to your home. Whether it’s a clog, an air pocket, a burst pipe, or another situation, we’ll get it fixed and get your plumbing back to normal. We service the areas of Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; New Castle County in Delaware; and Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties in New Jersey.
On behalf of all of us here at Oliver, we urge you to be prepared for the upcoming blizzard and for the rest of the winter. We suggest you stock up on extra blankets, keep a few flashlights with fresh batteries on hand, have some candles and matches nearby, and invest in a battery-operated space heater in case of a power outage.
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.