5 Central Heating Problems

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. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 3.Ductwork System

      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.

  1. 4.Malfunctioning Thermostat

    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.

  2. 5.Pilot Light

    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

Is It Worth It to Upgrade a Working Gas Furnace?

This winter’s heating season could be your furnace’s last. Making an informed decision about whether to upgrade from a working gas furnace to a new unit involves several factors. Some are concrete issues of dollars and sense; others are educated guesses. One thing is certain: Aging furnaces tend to fail at the time of peak demand. If you conclude that your existing furnace may require replacement in the near future, it’s better to make a considered choice now than a snap decision during a breakdown on a cold night.

Age

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.

Upkeep Costs

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.

Efficiency

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.

Safety

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

Common Gas Furnace Problems

Thermostat Problems

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

New High Efficiency Furnace, New Moisture Problem

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

17 Ways To Keep Your Home Warm Without Blasting The Heat

If we kept our homes as warm as we liked all winter, our energy bills would cost approximately $1 billion dollars. Although turning up the thermostat is tempting, just a few extra degrees can cripple your bank account. Luckily, there are many cheap, natural ways to heat your home that don’t involve blasting space heaters.
From lining your windows with bubble wrap to changing your ceiling fan’s direction, these heating hacks will get you through the winter intact.

1 Caulk your window frames.
Apply caulk to seal off air leaks around windows. Caulk only costs a few bucks and can add up to major savings on your energy bill.
 
2 If it’s sunny out, open the curtains.
Sunlight provides plenty of natural warmth on a cold day.
 
3 When the sun sets, close your curtains.
Without sunlight, heat escapes back the way it came – through your windows. Use heavy thermal curtains to trap heat in your home.
 
4 Put down plush area rugs on hardwood or tile floors.
Rugs and carpets keep heat from escaping through your floorboards. They’re also warmer to walk on than hardwood or tile floors.
 
5 Shower with the door open.
Leaving the door open while you shower lets warm, steamy air travel through the rest of your house.
 
6 Use a fireplace plug to keep warm air from escaping through your leaky chimney damper.
Up to 20 percent of your home’s warm air can leak out through a rusty or loose fireplace damper. Inflate a fireplace plug to seal the flue.
 
7 Add more insulation.
If you live in an older home, consider adding insulation to your walls and attic. Installing insulation is certainly an investment, but it pays for itself in reduced energy bills.
 
8 Sleep with a hot water bottle at the foot of your bed.
We may be throwing it way, way back, but these things really work. Pour boiling water into a hot water bottle and slip it under the blanket at the foot of your bed. You’ll have toasty toes all night long.
 
9 When you’ve finished baking, leave the oven door open for a cozy kitchen.
Once you’re done using the oven, turn it off and leave the door open. All that wonderfully warm air will heat your kitchen.
 
10 Keep cold air from seeping underneath the door with a draftstopper.
Fill in the gap between your door and the floor with an insulating draftstopper. You can buy one here or make your own!
 
11 Insulate your windows with bubble wrap.
Put bubble wrap on your windows to cut heat loss in half. It’s not the most attractive option, but it will save you money on your energy bill.
 
12 Close off any unused rooms.
The larger your home is, the more expensive it is to heat. If you have an empty guest room or storage space, close the door and seal it with a draftstopper. You won’t waste money heating a room you don’t use.
 
13 Reverse your ceiling fan’s direction.
Ceiling fans rotate in a counterclockwise fashion to push air downward and create a draft. During the winter, reverse your fan’s rotation to push cool air upward and mix with the rising heat. The mixed air will then spread downward, making your room feel warmer.
 
14 Snuggle up with flannel sheets.
Keep warm on winter nights with flannel sheets and a thick comforter.
 
15 Invest in a programmable thermostat.
You can save up to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat. Set your thermostat 7-10°F cooler for the hours you’re away at work.
 
16 Warm up an entire room with a DIY terracotta pot heater.
All you need is a Sterno flame and two clay flower pots to make this heating contraption.
 
17 When all else fails, bundle up!

 

Annual furnace maintenance checklist

We’ve all felt the pinch of rising home heating bills. In 2010, the average cost of heating a home for an American family was about $1000, so anything you can do to reduce that number is obviously well worth the effort. One thing that can help minimize your heating costs is giving your furnace a tune-up to ensure it is working efficiently.

A Typical Home Heating (HVAC) System

Home heating systems basically consist of three parts. A heat sensor, or thermostat, measures the temperature in your home and determines when it needs to be raised. When the air temperature drops, the thermostat signals the heater and the blower to turn on. The combustion in the heater creates heat, while the blower moves air over the heat exchanger, raising its temperature and distributing it throughout the house via heating ducts. Cooler room air is returned to the furnace through return ducts where it is warmed. The warm-air-out, cool-air-in cycle continues until the desired temperature is reached and the thermostat signals the furnace to shut down.

Tune-up a Furnace System

HVAC systems are mechanical, so like all mechanical systems, they do need to be maintained. A thorough professional tune-up will cost you $100 or more and is definitely something you should do every few years. However, you can do annual maintenance yourself and save some of that money.

Inspect

First take a look at your furnace. There shouldn’t be any black soot or combustion residue on or around it. Next, turn up the thermostat so your furnace comes on and check the flames in the burner. They should be blue and steady, not yellow or orange and flickering. Soot build-up or yellow flames are an indication of poor combustion, so if you see any signs of either, call a professional technician to fix the problem.

Clean

Next, turn the thermostat back down and let your furnace cool. For extra safety, turn off the circuit breaker that provides power to your furnace. When the furnace is finally cool, remove the sides and use a vacuum with a long nozzle to get rid of any dust that may have accumulated. Use a damp rag to clean the blades of the blower fan and any other areas the vacuum can’t reach. While you’ve got the sides off, check to see if your blower fan has oil cups at the ends of the central shaft (some pricier furnaces are sealed units and don’t need oiling). If there are cups there, give them a few drops of oil.

Repair

An electric motor and a fan belt drive many blower fans, while some are direct drive and don’t use a fan belt. If your blower does have a fan belt, check its condition and tension. The underside should be free of cracks, but over time, age and heat will dry out the rubber belt and cause cracks. If there are cracks in the belt, replace it with one of the same size.
Checking the tension of the belt is as simple as pushing down on it. There should be about half an inch of play in a properly adjusted belt. If you have more or less movement than that, adjust the tension by loosening the electric motor mounts and moving the motor to create the proper tension.

Reassemble

Reattach the furnace panels, and turn the circuit breaker back on.

Replace

Finally, changing your furnace filter once a month during heating season is a good maintenance practice. So when you’re doing your furnace tune-up, get ready for the season by installing a fresh filter.

Now your furnace is ready for “Old Man Winter.”

Stay Safe

Combustion creates carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. Normally the CO produced by the combustion in your furnace is exhausted up the chimney and out of your home. However, a furnace that is out of adjustment can leave CO in your home. You can help protect yourself from CO poisoning by installing a carbon monoxide detector in your furnace room. If the detector indicates any buildup of carbon monoxide at any time, shut the furnace down and have it professionally inspected immediately.
While doing your own tune-up will help keep your furnace running efficiently, a professional inspection and tune-up every few years is still a good investment. The pros are the people who have the skills and equipment to ensure that any parts that might degrade over time are still functioning properly.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

A Brief History of Heating and Cooling America’s Homes

HOME HEATING IN AMERICA

For the first 100 years home heating in a heavily forested America was dominated by biomass (wood) and it was not until 1885 that the nation would burn more coal than wood. Prior to 1885 the majority of homes in America were heated with wood burning brick fireplaces and derivatives of the cast iron Franklin Stove invented in 1742.

By the end of the 19th century the invention of low cost cast iron radiators would bring central heating to America’s homes with a coal fired boiler in the basement delivering hot water or steam to radiators in every room. At about the same time, in 1885, Dave Lennox built and marketing the industry’s first riveted-steel coal furnace. Without electricity and fans to move air, these early furnaces transported heat by natural convection (warm heated air rising) through ducts from the basement furnace to the rooms above. These two methods would dominate home central heating until 1935, when the introduction of the first forced air furnace using coal as a heat source used the power of an electric fan to distribute the heated air through ductwork within the home.

Shortly thereafter, gas and oil fired versions of forced air furnaces would relieve the homeowners from the chore of “stoking the coal fire” and relegate coal furnaces and cast iron radiators to the dust bin of history. Fast forward to today and about 60% of our homes are heated with gas fired forced air furnaces(FAU’s) and another 9% with oil fired FAU’s. In warmer climates, a quarter of our homes would be heated by FAU’s using electric “heat pumps” to supply both heating and cooling energy.

AIR CONDITIONING AMERICAN HOMES

The cooling of America’s homes follows a different timeline closely intertwined with the development of electricity as a means of delivering useful energy to our homes. In 1882, the first coal fired electric power plant opened in New York city delivering enough power to light 11,000 light bulbs and marking the beginning of the end for gas and kerosene lamps.

In 1886, Schulyer Wheeler invented the electric fan, which would become the primary tool for home cooling comfort until the post WWII economic boom.

In 1902 Willis Carrier would build the first air conditioner to combat humidity problems inside a printing company and in 1917 the first documented theater to use air conditioning made its debut at New Empire Theatre in Montgomery, Alabama. Between 1928 and 1930 the Chamber of the House of Representatives, the Senate, the White House, the Executive Office Building, and the Department of Commerce would be air-conditioned.

By 1942 the nation’s first “summer peaking” gas fired power plant would be built to accommodate the growing daytime electrical load from industrial and commercial air conditioning. However, residential air conditioning would remain a luxury item for the wealthy until the post WWII economic boom.

The early 1950’s would see the introduction of residential thru-window and central air conditioning systems. By 1953 room air conditioner sales would exceed one million units and by 1998 shipments of unitary air conditioners and heat pumps set a record of more than 6.2 million units.

Unlike the impact of the relative convenience of central heating, air conditioning would have a profound influence on both building design and population migration and development. The air conditioner’s widespread adoption would eliminate front porches, wide eaves and high ceilings from production housing and usher in the ranch house, “picture” windows, and sliding glass doors. Together, the inventions of central heating and air conditioning coupled with cheap and apparently abundant fossil fuels would free building designers from considering the external environment and allow them to use brute force heating and cooling solutions to overcome building designs totally inadequate for their local climates. Air conditioning alone would make possible the explosive post WWII growth of Sunbelt cities like Houston, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Miami. These cities would owe their very existence to the invention and continued use of air conditioning. Air conditioning would also change our national patterns of living, turning us into 7/24 shoppers and gamblers trapped in giant malls and casinos without windows or any sense of time or place.

Before air-conditioning, American life followed seasonal cycles determined by weather. Workers’ productivity declined in direct proportion to the heat and humidity outside — on the hottest days employees left work early and businesses shut their doors. Stores and theaters also closed down, unable to comfortably accommodate large groups of people in stifling interiors. Cities emptied in summers … Houses and office buildings were designed to enhance natural cooling, and people spent summer days and evenings on porches or fire escapes. They cooled off by getting wet — opening up fire hydrants, going to the beach or diving into swimming holes.” – National Building Museum

We would become a nation that spent over 5% of it’s gasoline consumption just to keep cars air conditioned while we drove from our air conditioned homes to air conditioned offices, factories, and shopping malls. Today, about 20% of the electricity generated in the U.S. is required to cool our buildings, most of the nation’s natural gas “peak demand” power generating capacity was built to satisfy air conditioning demands, and 70% of our GNP is dependent on the air conditioned “consumer”.

For all your HVAC needs call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical toll free at 888-611-7191

Keep Snow Build Up Away from Venting Systems

Keep Obstructions Away from Venting Systems

Here’s a super easy tip that can save lives and your heat from failing.  Keep Snow Build Up Away from Venting Systems.  Snowdrifts or a large snowfall can block your furnace or hot water heater exhaust pipe and cause it to stop working.
High efficiency furnaces, water heaters and other energy-saving appliances may have exhaust vents that exit your building through an exterior wall rather than through a chimney.  These vents can become blocked in the winter months by snow and ice, which can affect the safe operation of the appliance.  Make sure that all snow, ice and other obstructions are removed from your venting systems.  Drifting snow and caused a buildup of carbon monoxide inside of the house.  It’ important to think plan for and take steps to keep snow build up away from venting systems. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call Green Apple Mechanical toll free at 888-611-7191

8 Furnace Warning Signs

8 Furnace Warning Signs

Discover 8 fast and easy ways to know when to replace your gas furnace before it costs you money or becomes unsafe. A comfortable and healthy home environment requires an efficient and sound heating system. Such a system heats the home without using large amounts of energy and it does not endanger the indoor air quality by overtaxing the supply of oxygen needed for combustion.
It is important to know the 8 warning signs that your furnace may need replacing. It is especially important not to wait until a crisis occurs . A cold night , with the furnace faltering or failed, is not the time to assess your heating system. Do it now.
Information is the key to making a wise decision. This report will teach you what the 8 warning signs that your furnace may need replacing.
This report is based on research undertaken by the federal Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, Minnesota Department of Public Service and electric and gas utilities. It also draws on the training resources of heating and cooling manufacturers, trade associations, and field service personnel.
1. How old is your furnace?
A good place to start is to compare your furnaces age to the national average. The average life expectancy of furnaces in homes today is between 16 and 20 years. If your furnace is close to this age or older, you should begin shopping. Shopping for a replacement furnace in an emergency does not allow time to make your best decision. Most people prefer to replace their furnace as a planned home improvement rather than a panic replacement when your furnace is faltering or failed. For starters, look at your furnace to see if you have a pilot light. If you do, it is almost certain to be over 25 years old!
2. Gas & Electric Bills Going Up?
Rising gas and electric prices are not the only reason for high bills. Furnaces often lose their efficiency as they age especially if they have not been properly maintained. As a result your furnace may run longer to provide the same amount of heat. This will cause your gas & electric bills to go up. The money you pay the gas & electric company every month could be used to pay for new furnace.
3. Any Furnace Repairs in the last 2 years?
Furnaces are like cars. As they age, you can replace one part only to have to replace another part next year. It doesn’t take long to spend $500 just to keep the old furnace running. Furnaces incur the most breakdowns in the last 2 years of their lives. Another repair sign is whether you had to wait to get parts replaced. As a furnace ages, it gets harder to get replacement parts. This waiting can really be cold on a below zero night.
4. Does your thermostat keep you comfortable?
Do you feel that some rooms are too cold while others are too hot? Or are you always trying to adjust your thermostat to make your home more comfortable? This is a sign that your furnace lacks the ability to properly distribute the air to keep you comfortable in your home.
5. Is your burner flame yellow instead of blue?
A yellow or flickering flame may be a sign that poisonous carbon monoxide could be created by your furnace. Other possible signs of carbon monoxide are: Streaks of soot around furnace; Absence of an upward draft in your chimney; Excess moisture found on windows, walls, or other cold surfaces; Excessive rusting on flue pipes, other pipe connections, or appliance jacks; Small amount of water leaking from the base of the chimney, vent, or flue pipe; Rust on the portion of the vent pipe visible from the outside.
6. Is your furnace making strange noises?
Old furnaces often start to make some strange noises as they get toward the end of their life. Have you heard any banging, popping, rattling, or squealing noises coming from your furnace? Another noise is when you hear the furnace blower running excessively. Does your blower turn on & off frequently or does it blow cold air sometimes? If so, this is a sign that your furnace may need to be replaced.
7. How have you & your family been feeling?
Furnaces as they age run the risk of developing cracks in the heat exchanger inside your furnace. Carbon monoxide, if present, could leak into your home undetected. Signs of this may be frequent headaches, a burning feeling in nose or eyes, nausea, disorientation, flu-like symptoms. Should you experience any of these, air out your house, open a window to the furnace room and immediately call a gas service technician. Cracks in the heat exchanger can occur undetected which is why no one advises waiting until they occur.
8. Is your house dry or dusty?
Old furnaces often lack the ability to moisturize and clean the air in your home. Your house air may feel stuffy or stale. Does anyone in your family suffer from allergies to airborne dust, mold, pollen, viruses or dander? Or does anyone suffer from dry nose, dry throat, or dry skin? Other signs may be frequent dust accumulation, static shocks, drooping plants, furniture cracking and musical instruments that do not stay in tune. These signs all suggest that your old furnace is not capable of providing you with the comfort you and your family may want.  If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical toll free at 888-611-7191

Furnace Facts For Comfort And Health

 
Heating equipment is part of your home’s heating system much the same way your heart is part of your circulatory system – while the heart is critically important, the efficiency of the whole system depends on the health of each part. The following furnace facts will focus on the heart of the heating system – the heating equipment, namely the furnace. The other components of a heating system that add to comfort, lower bills, and healthy air – ducts, filters, ventilation, and caring for your investment – will be covered in other blogs.
Today’s gas furnaces come in many sizes, are improved in efficiency, have greater features, and are much safer to operate. If you are seeking maximum comfort and lower monthly bills, begin your journey to a new furnace by arming yourself with information:

1.

If you can spare the time, hire a certified energy professional* before investing in new heating equipment.  The efficiency of a heating system is dependent upon how well a home is insulated and sealed from air leaks. The energy pro can use diagnostic tools to pinpoint ways to reduce the amount of energy your home wastes so more heat from your new furnace can go to comfort. The energy pro may also be able to supply names of utility trade partners that will help you get rebates on the energy upgrades you make. Call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical if you have any questions or concerns. Call toll free at 888-611-7191