The holiday season is finally here. This means that soon you’ll be hosting guests in your house for fun and festive activities.

Solutions to 3 of the Most Common Furnace Problems

Each winter, we receive numerous calls about problems with furnaces and heaters. Some are easy fixes and some require more complex diagnosis. Here are some of the most common problems and their causes.
Q. Why is my furnace blowing only cold air and/or why isn’t my furnace providing enough heat?
A. Gas and electric furnaces heat air that is then circulated through your home by ducts. If your furnace turns on and air comes out of your vents, but the air is either not heated or not heated enough, there could be several possible problems.

  • Air filter is dirty – A dirty furnace filter prevents proper airflow to your furnace and makes it more difficult for your furnace to heat your house. Your filter should be changed every one to three months, depending on the kind you have.
  • Air ducts are leaking – Cracks and weathered seals in your ductwork as well as insufficient insulation can allow your heated air to escape through your ductwork. If this is your problem, have the ducts sealed or insulated by a professional.
  • Uneven airflow – If some rooms in your home are heated while others remain cold, the problem is likely not with your furnace at all. Instead, your ducts may be designed improperly or you may have the wrong size system for you home.Contact a professional for more information.

Q. Why won’t my furnace turn on?
A. There are several factors that play into diagnosing this furnace problem, such as the age of your unit and whether it has been regularly maintained. It’s difficult to find the solution without a proper diagnosis. However, here are the most common reasons a furnace fails to turn on.

  • Faulty thermostat – Verify the thermostat is switched to “heat”, the temperature is set correctly and the fan is set to “auto”. If you are still experiencing problems, you may need to replace the batteries or get a new thermostat.
  • Tripped or blown circuit – Your furnace is likely on its own circuit, so if it is tripped or blown, you may not notice until you try to turn your furnace on. Check your circuit breaker.
  • Malfunctioning pilot light – A pilot light can go out for a number of reasons. If you are unsure of why your pilot light has gone out, please contact a professional that can help diagnose and repair the problem.

Q. My furnace seems to circulate heated air, but runs frequently for short intervals. Why?
A. Typically, a furnace will turn on when the temperature in your home goes below what is set on your thermostat and continue to heat until it is a few degrees warmer. This allows the heater to be more efficient. If your furnace is instead running only for a very short time and then cycling on again quickly, there could be one or more of the following problems.

  • Thermostat is malfunctioning – Your thermostat may be not relaying the temperature to your furnace accurately. Replace the batteries to see if this solves the problem. If not, you may need to replace the thermostat.
  • Heat vent is too close to thermostat – If your thermostat is located near or directly under a heating vent, it may be the culprit. When the furnace kicks on, it quickly heats the air near the thermostat. But then when it shuts off, the warm air flows to colder rooms, causing the furnace to turn on again.
  • Your home is leaking air – Uneven heating in your home or major heat loss will cause your furnace to come on again quickly. The heated air quickly dissipates and flows to colder rooms or outside through air leaks.
  • Furnace is overheating – Your furnace may be overheating from lack of ventilation. Change your filter and make sure all ducts and the exhaust vent are clear of debris. There could be more serious issues causing your furnace to overheat as well, so contact a professional if the problem persists.

The best way to avoid these furnace problems is regularly maintain your unit. Your furnace is a high-tech machine that, much like your car, requires regular maintenance to continue to run efficiently. If you have any questions call your friends at “Green Apple Mechanical NJ” at 888-611-7191

Keeping Your Holiday Guests Warm: Home & Furnace Maintenance

During the holidays, you can’t match the feeling of stepping out of the cold and into a loved one’s home. Now that the summer BBQs are over, it’s time to prepare your house for your fall and winter guests. Tune up your home heating systems with furnace maintenance and prepare the your rooms and fixtures for the upcoming chilly weather before a cold front hits.

Home Maintenance Tips

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan – Hot air rises. When you want to keep a house warm, reverse the way the blades turn on your ceiling fan. Have the blades turn in a clockwise motion to create an upward draft that forces the warmer air near the ceiling down into the living space. This trick has also been known to cut heating costs by up to 10 percent.
Seal the Cracks Around Doors and Windows – Gaps wider than the edge of a nickel along window and door frames let warm air escape from your home. Replace the weather-stripping around doors and windows as needed. If necessary, seal the exterior of windows and doors with silicone caulk, and use window-glazing putty if you need to seal the glass to the window frame.

Inspect Your Roof – Hire a roofing contractor to inspect your roof for shingles that are damaged, missing or loose. The roofer should also inspect the flashing shield around chimneys and vent stacks.
Clean or Change Your Air Filter – You use your home heating system the most during the fall and winter. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, clean and change the air filter to reduce the amount of dust in your home, improve its air quality and reduce energy costs.
Inspect Your Attic – If your home gets lots of icicles or ice dams during the winter this may be due to poor insulation in your home’s attic. Have a weatherization or home-energy auditor inspect your attic for air leaks.
Clean Your Chimney – A dirty chimney is a health and fire hazard. Before the cold weather hits, hire a sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America to inspect and, if necessary, clean your chimney.

Furnace Maintenance Tips

Just as you would maintain your chimney and start the holiday season with clean air filters, it’s equally important to inspect your home heating systems with the help of a heating and air conditioning contractor. The furnace maintenance process involves:

Inspecting the Furnace and Heat Pump – The technician will ensure the components are clean, in good repair and do not leak carbon monoxide into the home.
Inspecting the Gas and/or Oil Connections – Connections that don’t work properly can cause health problems and are a fire hazard.
Inspecting the Electrical System – When electrical connections are tight, they promote the safe operation of your heating system. A technician will also make sure the system starts, operates and shuts down properly, and verify that the thermostat works well.
Inspecting the Heat Exchanger, Gas Pressure and Burner Combustion – When such elements are dirty or cracked, your system operates less efficiently and poses a safety hazard.

Verifying the Furnace Achieves Its Manufacturer-Rated Efficiency– If a furnace doesn’t work as efficiently as it should, you may be spending more money than necessary to heat your home. Reasons that a furnace may work inefficiently can include its age or a component that’s in need of repair or cleaning.
Don’t wait until the weather gets cold to maintain your home and furnace. The holiday months are the peak season for some contractors, and you don’t want to get stuck at the bottom of a list of 50 other homeowners who have the same emergency as you. Take action now to protect your investment so the only things you have to worry about are the baked goods in your oven for your guests.