Is Regular Furnace Maintenance Really That Important?

It is very essential that you take good care of your roofing system, home siding as well as HVAC systems and inspect them regularly.

Simple Steps To Care For Your Furnace

Regular routine maintenance is one of the most important things you can do for both your home comfort and your heating system.

Snowdrifts can shut down a new furnace

Homeowners are often surprised when their fairly new high-efficiency furnace shuts down unexpectedly in mid-winter. These furnaces exhaust combustion gases and bring in fresh air through PVC pipes to the outside, usually routed through a house sidewall. Often, the problem is ice build-up in the vent pipe, blocking the exhaust flow. The cooler exhaust produced by high-efficiency models can allow moisture (produced by combustion) to condense in the flue, especially when outdoor temperatures drop below 30 degrees.
The pipes can also be blocked outside the house. During wintry weather, you should check the exhaust and intake pipe exits on the outside of the house regularly, to make sure they aren’t covered by snow or ice. Besides shutting down the furnace, a blocked exhaust pipe can allow carbon monoxide to build up inside the house.
More rarely, the pipes may not have been installed correctly or may have developed problems later. If your newer furnace shuts down, check these common venting problems:

  • Incorrect size of the exhaust pipe. Manufacturers specify the maximum length and number of elbows that pipe of a given diameter can handle.
  • Not enough hangers to support the exhaust pipe, so condensate pools in low spots where the pipe sags, blocking the vent enough to trigger a furnace shut-down.
  • Incorrect pitch of the exhaust pipe. The pipe should slope back toward the furnace, rather than towards the outside. The exhaust piping should slope at least 1/4-inch per foot, so condensate drains freely back into the furnace.
  • Vents positioned too close to the ground, where they can be blocked by snow drifts or critters.
  • Running exhaust and intake pipes out different sides of the house. The pipes must be next to each other so the wind pressure is the same on both.

These situations should be addressed by a professional. So feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical toll free at 888-611-7191

Is your Heater Up for the Holidays?

A properly working heater is the key to a comfortable home this holiday season. Peak functionality also keeps your heating bills down, an important consideration when other costs climb around the holidays. To ensure you and your guests stay comfy and cozy while the wind whistles outside, perform the items on this checklist prior to the holidays.

Change the Air Filter

This is the first and one of the most important tasks to prepare your heater for winter. A dirty air filter blocks airflow, reduces efficiency and overworks the equipment. On the other hand, replacing the filter regularly promotes cleaner indoor air, lower your energy bills and helps your equipment last longer.
Plan to change the filter at the start of the heating season. Then, check it once a month during the winter and change it when it begins to appear dirty, waiting no more than three months between changes. Make sure you choose replacement filters of the proper size and efficiency for the best results.
If you run an electronic air cleaner in the winter, be sure to clean the unit’s air filter according to manufacturer directions.

Check for Gas Leaks

If your heater runs on natural gas, a leak could develop and create risk for you and your family. Before relying too much on your heater this season, inspect the furnace for worn or damaged connections. Be aware of natural gas odors. If you discover a problem – either with your eyes or your nose – call a professional for further investigation before you turn on the heater.

Check the Air Vents

Supply registers deliver heated air while return registers send cooled air back to the furnace for reheating. If these vents are blocked, heating efficiency declines and you tend to experience hot and cold pockets throughout your home. This can create great discomfort during a holiday get-together.
To promote better airflow and a more even temperature, walk around your home and check that all air vents are unobstructed. Move area rugs, reposition furniture and tie curtains back if necessary to allow for ample airflow.

Test for Proper Operation

Switch the dial on your thermostat to “Heat” and turn the temperature up a degree or two to trigger the furnace. Listen for any strange sounds coming from the heater or the ductwork. If you hear anything odd, it may be wise to contact a heating technician for a repair.
Place your hand over various registers in your home, including those located close to the furnace and those farther away. Make sure the air is plenty hot and exiting the registers with ample force.

Schedule an Annual Tune-Up

A complete furnace inspection includes other tasks that only a qualified technician should perform. That’s why the final item on your checklist should be to schedule preventative maintenance from Green Apple Mechanical NJ. We have the knowledge and experience needed to check fuel connections, test the gas pressure, clean the burners, inspect the heat changer, test system controls and more.
If you experience trouble with any of the items on this checklist, please contact Green Apple Mechanical to speak with a knowledgeable technician. Call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ at 888-611-7191

What Does It Mean If My Furnace Won’t Turn On?

This isn’t a scenario you want to encounter on a chilly day: you don’t hear the familiar noise you expect from your furnace as it kicks in to combat the cold. Instead, it sits silent and no warm air comes from your vents. Obviously, something is wrong—but what?
There are a number of reasons that your furnace might refuse to turn on. Some you can resolve yourself quickly. Others will need the assistance of repair technicians to analyze and remedy. You’ll want this issue dealt with as soon as possible, so make sure you keep contact information handy for an experienced HVAC contractor like “Green Apple Mechanical NJ”.

Reasons Your Furnace May Not Turn On

Thermostat error/malfunction: One of the first things to do when your furnace won’t turn on is to see that the thermostat is set correctly. An error with a programmable or digital thermostat could mean the furnace doesn’t think the house is cold enough to require it to provide heat. The thermostat could also have faults so it is sensing the indoor temperature incorrectly. This latter problem will need professional repairs.
Tripped circuit breakers: This is an issue not only for electrical furnaces but also for many gas-powered furnaces that use an electric igniter. A power surge along the line could trip one of the circuit breakers without you realizing it. Check the electrical panel to see if you can restore the power.
Failed pilot light/ignition: The pilot light can go out on a gas or oil furnace, which means the burners will not be able to ignite. If you can’t relight the pilot light on your own, you will need an HVAC technician to examine the burner unit and discover if there is a gas flow problem or excessive dirt along the burner. For electric-powered furnaces, ignition failure will prevent any of the heating elements from activating.

Preventive maintenance

There is also the unfortunate reality that eventually a furnace will become too worn and suffer a complete shutdown. This may require installing a replacement system. However, you can help make sure your furnace lasts for many years with regular preventive maintenance; it only requires an annual visit from a technician to keep your furnace in its best running condition.
If you need heating repairs in the New Jersey area to get your furnace to turn back on, contact “Green Apple Mechanical NJ” . We offer furnace repair and maintenance services and know furnaces of all kinds from the inside out, so we can help make sure yours works down to its smallest component.

9 fall heating maintenance tips

As the winter fast approaches, it’s time to start thinking about heating your home. Before you just turn your system on, performing proper maintenance can ensure that it runs efficiently, so you don’t spend any more than you have to heating your home. Here are nine tips to make sure you heating system is ready for the winter:

  • Thermostat. Check your thermostat to make sure it’s operating properly. If it’s defective or older, consider upgrading it to a newer, programmable one. Not only do they provide better temperature readings, but they can be set to go on or turn off at specific times, ensuring you only pay for the heating that you use.
  • Air filter. Air filters make sure the air that is pumped throughout your heating system is clean. Clogged or used filters can hinder that process, adding air contaminants into your home. In addition, because they are dirty, your heating system will have to work harder to pass air through the filter, using more fuel and costing you more money. Replace the filters as needed.
  • Vents. Walk through your home and check all of the air vents. Blocked air vents will make your system work more than necessary, and will also prevent rooms from getting warmer. As you’re clearing the vents, remove the vent cover and clean both it and directly inside of the vent, as dust and sediment can gather there when not in use.
  • Ducts. As ducts age, gaps can form in joints, causing air to escape from the system, which is another cause of inefficiencies. Inspect the ducts thoroughly. Get some metal tape or high temperature silicone and plug any holes you find.
  • Dampers. If your home uses the same ducts for both heating and cooling, make sure to reset the damper during your duct inspection. This is especially important in two story homes. Because hot air rises, the dampers regulate airflow to send more cold air upstairs in the summer and more warm air downstairs in the winter. Set the damper to the proper season.
  • Burners. Turn your furnace’s electrical system off and remove the door of your furnace and inspect the burners. Once you find where the burners are, turn the electrical system back on and slowly raise your thermostat until the they come on. The flames should have an even consistency and be blue. If the flames are yellow, that indicates the burners are dirty and need maintenance. For safety, contact an oil furnace repair professional.
  • Blower. Use a ratchet and appropriate sized socket to remove the blower so that it can be cleaned. Once removed, clean with a vacuum and small brush. Be very careful when cleaning around the blades, as it is possible to cause an imbalance and damage the fan.
  • Bearings. Typical furnaces require the internal motors be properly lubricated annually. Clean around the oil caps before removing them. Then, apply two to three drops of lightweight machine oil in each motor. Be careful not to add any more, as over lubricating is just as bad as not using enough.
  • Fan belts. Over time, fan belts may shift or become damaged, causing them to break or work less efficiently. Locate the fan belts to see if they are properly in place and check them for any cracks or frays. If they look like they’re in good shape, simply readjust them. If damaged, install a replacement.