Furnaces tend to be the one thing in your home that can be neglected. Out of sight, out of mind as they say. However, your furnace may get your attention by making various sounds.
- If you hear a screeching noise, it may be that you have a problem with the motor, or it might be a bearing in the motor that is making the noise.
- If you hear a metallic chirping noise, it may just be a natural noise that the motor or the blower wheel of the fan makes when the heat first kicks on. You might be able to solve this problem yourself by wiggling the wheel, which may be out of alignment. You should also check that the mounting plate is not warped and rubbing against the blower wheel. As well, check that the motor mounts are not loose and the bearings are in good shape.
- If you hear a noisy rattling sound when your furnace shuts off, it is probably the metal parts to your furnace cooling down. However, it may be something more serious and you should call a furnace repairperson.
- If you hear a clanging noise, the problem is probably in the pipes, rather than the furnace itself. This may be caused by contraction of the pipes when the furnace turns off and the pipes cool down.
- A loud boom or thud may lead to the ducts, which can expand and contract in cold weather, especially if the basement is not heated. It might also indicate a problem with dirty burners in the furnace. You might be able to remove and clean these yourself with hot soapy water. Make sure they are completely dry before reinstalling them. If you determine that it is not the ducts or the burners, it may be that your gas valve is defective, which can cause a delayed ignition. In most cases, it is wise to call a service technician.
- A pinging or popping sound is most likely coming from one of the ducts and is not really something to worry about.
- If you hear an odd vibrating noise or whining, it may indicate a problem with your furnace and a technician really needs to check it out.
- A loud humming may come from the furnace burners light when temperatures dip outside. You can eliminate this noise by turning the off/pilot/on control to reduce the burner flame.
- If you hear a rattling noise when the furnace starts up, it might be a motor bearing.
- A crackling noise might just be the metal parts cooling down when the furnace shuts down.
- A clunking and bumping sound indicates a cracked belt.
If you have an older furnace, it is likely that you’ve experienced some of these noises. However, most of the newer gas furnaces have a noise-reduction system. If you determine that you need a professional to inspect your furnace and you live in the New Jersey area, you will want to get in contact with a Green Apple Mechanical technician as soon as possible. So feel free to call toll free at 888-611-7191
For example, you should always go with the most efficient furnace that you can afford. Furnace efficiency is a measurement of how much of the energy put into a furnace is converted into heating power for your home — measured in AFUE (the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency).
Minimum-efficiency furnaces must reach 80 percent AFUE in order to comply with regulations. At the other end of the spectrum, the iQ Drive® modulating gas furnace reaches 97 percent AFUE. With the iQ Drive gas furnace, only 3 percent of the energy you put into the unit escapes up the flue. Essentially, you are using less natural gas to heat your home, which can lower your monthly utility costs.
Here are a few more things you should keep in mind when purchasing your new home furnace:
Split systems are what people commonly associate with heating and air conditioning — comprised of a condensing unit, furnace and coil that sit on top of your furnace. However, many people who don’t have basements, crawl spaces and attics have to choose a system that can provide the same heating and cooling capabilities of a split system without having to find the room for a cumbersome indoor component. If this is the case in your home, you may want to explore your packaged system options.
These systems contain your heating and cooling components in one, convenient outdoor unit. If you currently have a split system, but want to free up some extra space in your home, you can always switch to a packaged unit. The same works for people who currently have packaged systems, but would like to switch to a split system. Your local contractor will be able to recommend the heating system that is right for your home.
Gas furnaces run off of natural gas and are the most economical way to heat your home when temperatures drop below freezing.
An oil or propane furnace is a powerful source of heat as well, but it requires more room for storage, is dirtier than a natural gas furnace, and can be significantly more expensive to operate (depending on oil prices). However, it is an alternative to a gas furnace in areas that don’t have gas lines — particularly older homes.
The third choice, the electric furnace, is also an alternative to natural gas furnaces, but they can be a drain on the bank account. Electric furnaces must create original heat from electricity, which can significantly run up your meter.
A most economical solution is the electric-powered heat pump. These systems transfer heat from one air stream to another — using less electricity. They also act as an air conditioner during the summer. So, for some homeowners, a heat pump can meet all heating and cooling demands.
A zoning system helps solve both of these problems. These systems divide your home into groups called “zones.” Each zone is controlled by a separate thermostat. Additionally, dampers within your ducts can open or shut off access to different zones in order to even out temperatures throughout your home and make sure you are using just the right amount of energy to keep your home comfortable.
Indoor Air Quality
Make sure that when you are having your furnace serviced or a new furnace installed, you have your contractor take a look at the filters. Your furnace filter should be changed approximately twice a year (right before the heating season and then again right before the cooling season). You will breathe easier knowing you have a clean filter.
Variable Speed Blowers
Variable-speed blowers can be beneficial if you want premium home comfort. Variable-speed blowers are able to do just what the name implies — vary the speed of your blower as it distributes air through your home. This means the air being distributed through your home can be a more consistent temperature and the unit will operate quietly.
Heating systems are complicated — meaning not just anyone is going to be able to install a heating system in your home. If you are investing in an efficient system, you should be able to expect the rated efficiency and a poorly installed unit may not be performing at its efficiency potential.
Other costs associated with furnace installation include: the size of the unit, additional fixes that may need to be made to the air distribution system, the costs of labor, indoor air quality features, and more.
Think of furnace costs as an investment in your home comfort. If you just throw a new system in your home without exploring your system options, you may be losing expected efficiency or could be compromising the quality of your indoor air.
Correct Sizing Matters
When your contractor comes to your home to give you a quote, they should perform a Manual J load calculation to find out the system size you need (measured in BTUs or tons). This calculation takes your entire home into account — from square footage to window efficiency.
If your contractor gives you a quote over the phone, without looking closely at your home, that is a big red flag. Systems that are too small or too large will never heat your home properly, could always be running, or burn out sooner than expected.
However, the costs of labor and refrigerant are not included. Make sure to talk to your contractor and ask whether they offer a labor warranty, like the Contractors’ Preferred Protection Plan, to round out your system warranty coverage.
Rebated and Incentives
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191
The springtime is an excellent time to have furnace repairs done. You won’t need to have the furnace running, so repairs will create no disruption. The repair technicians will have more open calendars to schedule your repairs, since they will have far fewer summer air conditioner breakdown emergencies.
Furnace issues to repair
- Uneven heating: At the end of the winter, during days when the furnace was still running, did you notice that some rooms felt cooler than they should? Uneven heating points to a number of possible malfunctions in a furnace, such as faulty air handlers or the system short-cycling. In an electric furnace, it could be failed heating elements. Repair technicians will find the root cause and repair it.
- Unusual odors from the vents: Whether the smell your nostrils detected from the vents was musty or acrid, anything out of the ordinary needs investigation. A motor might be on the edge of burning out. The vents might be broken, allowing in stale air. Too much dirt could have gathered along the burner in a gas furnace.
- Weak and intermittent burner ignition: Whether your gas furnace employs a standing pilot light or an electronic ignition, it should light up all the jets along the burner. But if the burner turns on and off, or not all of the jets come off, you may have trouble with gas flow, valves, dirt, or corrosion. Repair technicians will need to remove the burner to inspect it and find out what is causing the problem.
Schedule maintenance sooner rather than later
Something else to consider for spring: has your furnace had maintenance during the last year? Usually, technicians inspect furnaces during the fall, but if you didn’t schedule it for the previous fall, you should have it done now rather than waiting for the upcoming fall. Maintenance will help you discover repairs that you may not have realized were necessary.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical toll free at 888-611-7191
Following a consistent schedule throughout the season to ensure you stay on top of your home maintenance and repairs can help prevent potential problems before they occur.
Consider these helpful tips for your spring maintenance plan:
- Test all ground fault circuit interrupters in your washrooms, kitchens, outside receptacles and on the electrical panel
- Replace your furnace filters and have a technician inspect the furnace fan belt
- Inspect the roof visually from the ground if possible – if you have to go onto the roof, wear a safety harness or hire a contractor.
- Clean gutters and down-pipes, and make sure downspouts and splash pads drain away from walls and foundation
- Inspect caulking inside and out, and touch-up or replace where needed with products designed for the job
- Clean windows and window tracks, and make sure weep holes are not blocked (including sliding door tracks – lubricate openers and track rollers with silicone spray).
- Review flashing for damage or staining
- Turn on the interior water supply to hose bibs and exterior faucets, and check for leaks
Remember to always put safety first. Many home maintenance tasks are better left to the professionals so be sure to hire a contractor or technician if you are not able to handle the task on your own.
If you have any questions or concerns about your furnace maintenance or repairs feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191
The heat exchanger on a furnace is the section that keeps the combustion chamber and the breathing air separate. A heat exchanger is made of thin metal, and as it heats up from the combustion of the furnace, it transfers the heat to the air being distributed through the house by the blower. When a heat exchanger becomes damaged and the combustion fumes and gases mix with the clean air, serious consequences can result. Inspecting your heat exchanger regularly for damage is important to keep everything running safely and smoothly.
Visual Metal Cracks
The easiest way to tell if a heat exchanger is damaged is to inspect it and actually see cracks that have formed in the metal. Many companies use infrared light to detect cracks, but a flashlight is sufficient for more noticeable cracks. If you don’t notice damage from a visual inspection, it doesn’t mean there is no damage. Regular inspection by a professional is a wise idea.
Buildup and Discoloration
Often when cracks are present in a heat exchanger, soot from the combustion process will seep through and discolor the metal. The result will be a buildup of soot around the crack site and/or spots that are a darker color than the rest of the metal.
Carbon Monoxide Detection
Although you should certainly not wait until your carbon monoxide detector sounds to determine if your heat exchanger is broken, if you do get an alarm, it is a strong sign that damage is present. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the combustion process, and it can seep through the cracks of a damaged heat exchanger. Contact your local fire department right away if your carbon monoxide detector goes off.
Difference in Furnace Flame
Sometimes, if the heat exchanger is damaged and the fresh, breathing air mixes with the combustion air, the flame in your furnace can change. If you suspect damage, have someone turn the thermostat up to initiate the furnace, then sit and observe the flame. A damaged heat exchanger may produce a flame that jumps and dances after the blower fan has been on.
If you have any questions or concerns about your furnace or any of your HVAC needs fell free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191
If you live in a flood prone area, you should take preventative measures to protect your home against water damage. To save your furnace from water damage, you should elevate it and ensure that it is way higher than the highest possible flood water levels. Elevate your furnace to protect if from flood damage by following these three easy steps.
Step 1 – Measure the Height of Your Mounting Base
Check the highest flood elevation in your basement. Add at least one foot to this height to determine the right height for your mounting base.
Step 2 – Set Up the Base for Your Furnace
To constructing the mounting base of your furnace, measure the width of your furnace then add at least 6-inches on each side. Use this measurement to determine the size of your mounting base.
After taking measurements, mix the cement and construct the mounting base. To make the countertop for your mounting base, cut four pieces of lumber then nail them together to create a box. Put plywood under the box, nail it to the lumber then pour concrete into the box. Let the base and countertop cure for a few days before you install the furnace.
Step 3 – Install the Furnace
Set the furnace on top of the counter then connect the blower motor and the vent.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical toll free at 888-611-7191
It’s not a luxury or option to have your central heating working effectively and efficiently. When your central heating system can’t keep up and keep your home warm, everybody suffers. By performing routine maintenance to your furnace, you should be able to avoid costly problems.
As you’re maintaining or trouble-shooting your central heating system, visit the U.S. Department of Energy for helpful information about one of the important components of your heating system – the ductwork. Although you can’t see every part of the ductwork system, it’s an integral part of the heating system, delivering warm air throughout your home.
Once you know the top five central heating problems, you’ll be in the perfect position to keep your house warm and comfortable.
1.Complete Loss of Heat
If you turn on your furnace and get absolutely no response from the heating system, the first thing to do is try to isolate the problem – figure out where the issue lies. If the heating system isn’t getting electrical power, you should probably call an electrician. Check the pilot light – is it igniting? If not, the issue probably lies in the gas supply and you should call the company that supplies your gas. Check the thermostat to make sure it’s set to “on” and that the temperature is set high enough to activate the furnace.
If you turn on your furnace and get absolutely no response from the heating system, the first thing to do is try to isolate the problem.
2.Partial Loss of Heat
If you notice that you are still getting heat, but the furnace doesn’t seem to be operating at peak efficiency, you may have a few different issues going on. It’s possible that your ductwork system has problems with leaks or blockages. If you have radiators, it’s also possible that your radiators need bleeding to release trapped air.
Because the ductwork system is so extensive throughout your home, there are many places where blockages can occur from rodents or insects. A ductwork blockage will generally require the service of an expert, who can diagnose and fix the issue. Ductwork leaks, resulting in heat escaping from the ducts and not expelling where you want it, also requires expert service to repair.
If you notice that the temperature of your home begins to have wild extremes, with high temperatures one minute and freezing temperatures soon after, the thermostat may be malfunctioning. This could cause the furnace to misread the actual temperature of your home and run when it shouldn’t or fail to run when it should. Call a professional to come out and recalibrate your thermostat. If your thermostat can’t be repaired, consider replacing it with a programmable thermostat that will help you reduce your heating bills.
For proper heating, the pilot light of your furnace must be lit continuously. If you check and you don’t see it lit, you will need to reignite it. If you see that the pilot light is on, check to assess its strength. The pilot light flame should be strong and blue – not yellow and weak. A weak pilot light could be a dangerous situation, resulting in high levels of carbon monoxide in your home, which could be fatal. Call a professional if you see indications of pilot light problems.
While you may not be able to resolve central heating problems yourself, you can probably diagnose issues and get a Green Apple Mechanical NJ technician to come access the problem. Feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191
If the existing furnace already was installed when you moved into your home, you may not have a clue about its age. On the inside of the furnace cover or the combustion chamber door is the manufacturer’s serial number plate. Write down the number, contact the manufacturer’s customer service online or by telephone, and get a manufacture date. If it’s more than 15 years old, you’re past the average life expectancy for most gas-fired furnaces; this doesn’t guarantee a 12-year-old unit won’t fail tomorrow, nor that every 17-year-old unit is ready for the scrap heap. However, it does let you know if your furnace now has more service behind it than ahead. Upgrading may be a case of sooner rather than later.
Components in a furnace tend to have similar design life. As a furnace approaches the end of its service expectancy, the failure of one component may foreshadow the failure of others in the very near future. A good rule of thumb is that if the parts and service expense of keeping an existing furnace working exceeds 40 percent of the cost of upgrading, you’re better off going for the replacement unit. Some expensive repairs are, by themselves, deal breakers: The cost of replacing a heat exchanger in an aging furnace that’s out of warranty makes the decision a slam dunk: Start shopping for a new furnace.
A furnace 15 years old or older may have an AFUE (annualized fuel utilization efficiency) of 76 percent or less. The AFUE represents the percentage of fuel utilized to actually produce heat versus the amount lost in the combustion process. Switching the old-school unit for a new, high-efficiency furnace buys you an AFUE of 90 percent or more. The upfront sticker price is high, but that 21st-century unit starts saving gas from day one, and may pay for itself in a reasonable length of time from lowered gas bills. However, this depends on your local climate, the length of a typical heating season, and the overall energy efficiency of your home. Homeowners in warmer climates may not run the furnace enough on a daily basis to realize the kind of cost savings that will pay for a new high-efficiency unit in a meaningful time frame.
Gas furnaces combine an open flame with high temperatures plus the potential to produce deadly carbon monoxide. If you’re nursing a questionable, outmoded unit through another season simply to buy more time before an upgrade that’s inevitable, reconsider for the safety of your family.
If you have any questions or concerns about your furnace feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191
The first thing to check is the battery. Most digital thermostats have a battery indicator on the display. If you see an icon in the display asking for a battery, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and replace the battery with an appropriate size.
If you see no display at all, check the power to the furnace. This particular thermostat has a sealed battery in it, and it’s not replaceable.
If you’ve checked the battery, you’ve checked the power supply, and your thermostat is still not operating properly, it’s likely that you’re just going to have to replace your thermostat. It’s important to understand how your thermostat operates when it’s normal, when everything is right. If you’re familiar with the proper operation of your equipment, then it’s going to make it easier if you notice something acting unusually and you can call ABC a proper diagnosis.
Mismatching Furnace and Thermostat
Your home’s gas furnace needs to be paired with the correct thermostat to work properly; if it isn’t, you could run into problems.
Thermostats have to be matched to the system based on the type of furnace that’s used and the capacity and capability of that furnace. The best way to make sure you’re going to have a thermostat that matches your system is to get it from an HVAC professional.
Electronic Ignition Furnace Problems
To determine what type of ignition system you have, open the front of the furnace and initiate a call for heat. Observe what happens in the burner area. If there’s a very small flame that starts first, and then ignites all of the main burners, that’s an intermittent pilot type of ignition. If the ignition happens and the main burners come on immediately, then that’s a direct ignition.
Once you determine which type of ignition system you’ve got, if you see it operating in a way that’s not correct, it’s best to call an ABC service technician as soon as possible. It’s important that your are is aware of how the system is supposed to operate when everything is normal. So that way when things do change, you can be aware of it and call for service before it becomes a bigger problem. It’s going to help maintain the equipment, keep it lasting longer, keep it safe, and also reduce your energy costs.
Furnace Has a Noisy Operation
Squeaks, rattles, and rumbles are some of the things that we hear from furnaces. In the case of a squeak, it can be related to a motor failing or just making noise. Rumbling and rattling can be caused by an out of balance blower wheel caused by debris or just age or just being dirty. Early gas furnaces used a motor with a belt to drive the wheel. That’s the blower that moves the air into the house. All modern furnaces use a direct drive blower that’s permanently lubricated. It doesn’t require any lubrication or maintainance on that.
Squeaks and squeals can also happen from air leaks. There can be a leak in the duct work or around the furnace somewhere that’s allowing a small amount of air to leak in or out causing a whistling or squeaking sound. If you suspect that a high-pitched squealing or whistling noise could be coming from the air flow, what you want to do is check some of the gaps or joints where the sheet metal is connected. Those are the likely sources where that can happen and it can be simply sealed up with tape or a piece of putty or something like that. Sometimes something as little as this door being out of alignment can cause a squeal or a squeak and you can just move it a little bit or just make sure it’s firmly placed where it should be.
So when you look at the burners on a furnace, you can kind of judge the condition. If you see any kind of dust, lint or other kind of dirt in the furnace, that could be clogging one of the burners and causing excess noise in a furnace. In that case, it’s really important to get a professional out to do a proper cleaning on the furnace for you. Knowing a little bit about your system and being educated about it is the best way to stay on top of it and avoid breakdowns. A lot of times when homeowners hear the system operating in an unusual way, they can have us come out and take care of it before it becomes a bigger issue.
Furnace Blower Does Not Turn Off
The first thing to check is the fan switch on the thermostat. “Auto” means that the fan should only be running to try to heat or cool the home to try to match the thermostat setting. If you see the thermostat fan switch set to “on,” or “low,” “medium,” or “high,” then you’re going to have continuous fan operation.
The next thing to look at is your furnace filter. If you find a clogged filter, it may have caused damage to the limit switch. What the limit switch does is it senses the temperature inside the furnace. If it sees a temperature that’s too high, then it shuts off the fire as a safety and only will allow it to come back on once it’s cooled sufficiently. If the filter has been clogged for too long, then it may have damaged that switch to the point where it needs to be replaced. In this case, the furnace high limit is a small button type device that’s got two wires connected to it. Every furnace is a little bit different. Some of them have more than one limit, and some of the limits look very different. If that limit switch is failed, it’s very important to find the source of why it failed and not just replace the switch. It’s a very important safety issue.
Furnace Cycles On and Off Too Frequently
If you notice the frequency of the heat cycles becoming too short, that’s an indication of a problem with your system. The first thing you want to check is the fan switch on the thermostat. In this case, it’s up here in the display and it says “auto.” Now, “auto” means that the fan should only be running to try to heat or cool the home to try to match the thermostat setting. If you see the thermostat fan switch set to “on,” or in this case “low,” “medium,” or “high,” then you’re going to have continuous fan operation.
If your filter has been in the furnace for a long time and its gotten very clogged, it can cause the furnace to what we call cycle on limit. That means that instead of heating continuously, the flames turn on and off because the unit is overheating due to that clogged filter.
The important thing with filters is watching the air flow direction. There’s always an arrow that tells us which way the air should flow through the furnace. On most furnaces, people have drawn arrows that tells you which way the air flow direction should be.
Furnace Does Not Produce Enough Heat
One of the most common sources of this kind of problem is a clogged filter. It’s very important that you check your filters regularly and change them frequently for good furnace operation and best efficiency. The second possibility is that the furnace was not sized properly, meaning that it doesn’t have enough capacity to keep the home warm. It’s important that a heating and air company size the equipment for the capacity needed to keep your home warm. Another possibility, though it’s pretty rare, could be that your burners could be clogged to the point where it’s not allowing the furnace to create enough heat and meet its full capacity.
Furnace Does Not Heat
Some possible causes of that are: thermostat not adjusted properly, the power going to the furnace could be shut off, the gas going to the furnace could be shut off, or the pilot light could be out. A couple things to check with the thermostat: Now, the first thing to remember is that everybody’s thermostat is going to be different. In this case, when the red light is on, that means that it’s in heat mode, so it’s ready to heat the house. The next thing to check is to make sure the set point is higher than the room temperature. So if we raise that set point above the room temperature, that’s going to turn the heat on.
Furnace Pilot is Out
Some of the common sources of a lost pilot light are a failed thermocouple, a strong draft, or a clogged orifice to the gas supply to the pilot light. A thermocouple is a device on a standing pilot system that proves the flame to the gas valve and allows gas to keep flowing as long as there’s a flame sensed. It’s probably best if you have a professional check it out, clean it and verify that it’s working properly. Now, the thing to keep in mind is most modern furnaces don’t use a standing pilot light anymore.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191
Tom has lived in the same split entry house since it was built in 1980, and has never had any moisture problems with his home until recently. Shortly after replacing his old mid-efficiency natural draft furnace with a high-efficiency furnace, Tom started noticing a host of moisture problems with his house. It started with condensation on the windows that never used to be there. Next thing he knew, water spots showed up on the ceiling around the skylights, which were the result of excessive condensation in the attic.
Tom called the HVAC company that installed his furnace and complained about the moisture problems he was having. A badly cracked heat exchanger could lead to moisture problems in a home, and a vent that is not properly exhausting to the exterior could also cause serious damage to the home. The installers came out and checked everything, but it was all working fine. Why is Tom having moisture problems now?
The answer has to do with combustion air and dilution air. On a standard furnace, combustion air and dilution air are taken from inside the house. Combustion air provides the oxygen that is required for combustion, and dilution air helps to lower the temperature of the exhaust gases. When you add up the combustion air and dilution air, it equals quite a large volume of air that is constantly rising up and out of the house during the heating season.
Combustion air and dilution air get replaced with cold, dry outside air. This is part of the reason that older houses get so dry in the winter. Is this starting to make sense?
High efficiency furnaces save energy by taking combustion air directly from the exterior, rather than wasting the heated air in your home for combustion. When Tom replaced his natural draft furnace with a high efficiency furnace, he stopped wasting all that warm, moist air. In reality, the high efficiency furnace didn’t ‘create’ the moisture problem; it just replaced a less efficient furnace that was helping to prevent a problem.
In order to address the moisture problems in his home, Tom has a few options. He could install a continuous exhaust fan to constantly remove air from the home, but this obviously wouldn’t be a very Green thing to do, because all of that warm air would always be replaced with cold air. Nelly could run dehumidifiers all winter, but again, this would be expensive. Tom’s best option would be to install a heat recovery ventilator (HRV). An HRV will constantly change out the air in the house while at the same time removing humidity from the house.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191