HERE ARE A FEW TIPS ON MAXIMIZING YOUR FURNACE EFFICIENCY AND AVOIDING COSTLY SERVICE CALLS!
Have your heating system serviced each year BEFORE the cold season gets here. That way any problems can be repaired at that time, saving you money by correcting the operation of the furnace which could save any other parts from breaking down. You also save labor and trip charges on repairs because we are already there performing scheduled maintenance.
Have your filter system checked regularly! Your filter system is one of the most overlooked and most important parts of your furnace system. A clean filter can not only reduce dust in the home, but it also reduces the dust and dirt buildup in the furnace itself. The newer furnaces have very small channels for the air to flow through called secondary heat exchangers. These can be clogged with dirt over time if the filter system isn’t receiving the proper maintenance, and can cause premature heat exchanger failure. This can be very costly and can void any manufacturers warranties. Although disposable 30 day filters aren’t recommended, if you do have these filters, be sure they are at a minimum, replaced on schedule. It is recommended to have a high efficiency filter system installed on your system. Most of these filters only need changed once a year and can trap 90-95% of all dust and dirt. the 30 day disposable filters only trap about 15-20%. A clogged filter or improper filter can also decrease airflow which does 2 things: First, the most obvious, if your airflow is cut down, how well do you think the heat can be delivered to your duct system? Second is that your blower motor will be forced to struggle and load unnecessarily, causing overheating of the motor, and motor failure.
Do I need to call for service? When your furnace is not heating your home as it should, or at all, here are a few checks that you can do to see if your furnace needs immediate service. 1) Do you have a digital thermostat? If so, have you checked the batteries? Is the display showing on the front? If you suspect it is the thermostat, and it takes batteries, try changing the batteries. Also you should double check the settings of the thermostat. If it is programmable, make sure it is set to your desired temperature first. 2) Does your furnace have power? Check the power switch on or near furnace as well as the circuit breaker. Most furnaces have blower door safety switches also, make sure the doors are securely mounted in the correct way on the furnace. 3) Does your furnace have diagnostic indicators? Most newer furnaces have diagnostic code readouts on the circuit board. For most models these can be found through a small sight glass on the bottom door of the furnace. If there is a light flashing a pattern, there may be an operational problem with the furnace. Take note of the number or pattern of flashes. This will be helpful to any service personnel later on. If your furnace leaves you without heat and you need to call for service, take note of any codes you may have seen from the lights in the furnace, and also a description of what the furnace was doing… such as “the burners light and go off after a few seconds” “the burners light but the blower doesn’t turn on” “it is making an unusual sound or smell.” All of these are very useful to our technicians and can be used to help diagnose your problem. In some cases, with delayed problems, the furnace may not mimic the same behavior, or it may run properly when it is checked. That is why it’s important to remember any out of the ordinary issues and let us know when we arrive. If you have a hot water boiler, check the temperature/pressure gauge. If the temperature is cold and the pressure is less than 12 lbs (hot water only) you may have a problem with the water supply valve to the boiler, call us for repair.
How is the temperature throughout the home? Do you have some rooms that are colder than others? Hotter than others? If your ductwork system is setup properly, you should have dampers on each round pipe going to each register upstairs. If you have them, have you checked to make sure they are open? Parallel to pipe is open, perpendicular is closed. The further away from the furnace you get, the less pressure you have in most cases. Sometimes slightly closing the ducts closest to the furnace and gradually increasing the open as you get further away will help with some airflow issues. If you have a boiler and your rooms are uneven or some radiators are cold check the following: Are all of the radiators in a room or floor cold? If so it could be a couple of things. If you have ‘zones’ or multiple thermostats, check to make sure the thermostat is properly adjusted to the temperature, or check batteries. If that doesn’t work, you may have a problem with a zone valve if it is only occurring in one area of the home. If you don’t have zones, or if you do have zones and it isnt a zone valve problem, check to see if you have air in your radiators. Most cast iron and baseboard radiators have bleeder valves on one end of them. Try bleeding them out to get any air out. (Generally speaking if you do not have a zoned system, air will typically buildup at the highest radiator in the home. Zone systems can have airlocked in a specific zone). If you are not sure how to bleed air from your system, call us for a service call on your system.
Be sure each season before it gets cold to seal any openings around windows and doors, and to weatherize your home! Insulation may be a large project if you need to insulate an entire home, but it is worth it in the end. The savings of proper insulation, and a high efficiency heating system can save you hundreds a year in energy savings!
Is your humidifier ready for the winter? Chances are, if you live in our area, you have a humidifier installed on your heating system. Did you know that in most homes in our area, the humidity levels are lower than the sahara desert in the winter? It’s true! It can cause many problems. Woodwork, upholstery, carpeting and your health can all suffer from the low humidity levels in your home! Make sure your humidifier gets properly checked BEFORE it gets cold. Once it has already turned to winter, if you haven’t turned on the humidifier you may not catch up the humidity level that has already dropped in your home, thats why its important to have the humidifier running on the first day your furnace comes on for the season. Follow all manufacturers guidelines for humidity settings and pad replacement on your specific humidifier. If you don’t have a humidifier, well, what are you waiting for? They have been around for decades now, and are now very affordable and a necessity for indoor air quality.