Nov 20, 2017
How's your furnace doing so far?
The nights keep getting colder, and even the daytime temperatures in Northern Virginia are topping out in the mid-50s these days. Just this morning, out in Warrenton, Virginia, the temperature on Cannonball Ridge dipped below freezing. You’re definitely using your furnace by now, and even if you’re shutting it down when the sun comes out during the day, you can expect to have the heat on from now until spring.
So how is your furnace performing so far? When you first turn on your furnace after months of hibernation, you may start to notice some unusual behavior. Some of that may be normal — hey, you’d need to work out the bugs after standing around for six months, too — but some issues could be a sign of a much more serious problem.
Let’s do some furnace troubleshooting. We’ve identified some of the more common ways of recognizing that your furnace is underperforming. These notes should help you know if you truly need furnace repair and need to start reaching out to Warrenton HVAC companies — or the heating repair experts
How can I tell if my furnace is underperforming? Furnace troubleshooting tips
Your furnace works hard in the cold months. That wear and tear leads to some changes in the way your system functions. Here are some dead giveaways that your furnace may be underperforming:
- It’s old. Furnaces typically last between 15 and 20 years. If your furnace is getting up there in years, it’s probably time to start planning when to buy a new unit. Furnace repair stops making sense when you’re consistently having problems.
- The furnace is blowing cold air. Clearly a problem! This frustrating issue may be due to a number of issues. One common cause is a malfunctioning blower fan. When the blower fan doesn’t work like it’s supposed to work, the unit won’t blow warm air into every place in your home. This leaves you with some uncomfortable cold spots, which generally turn out to be wherever you happen to be hanging out.
- Your heating bill mysteriously keeps going up. You can’t blame everything on your utility company. If you find that your heating bill keeps inching up without a corresponding bump in use, that’s a strong signal that your system has ductwork problems. Since it’s hard to often find the culprit, it’s best to consult a trained technician from one of the local Warrenton HVAC companies.
- The thermostat is malfunctioning. You probably already know this, but your thermostat controls how much heat your furnace produces (and how often it’s let out). If your thermostat is broken or on the fritz, the communication between the device and your furnace breaks down and you get intermittent, unplanned or no heat at all.
It’s not always as bad as it seems
The cold months also include some of the most expensive holidays of the year. Lots of people like to travel when the mercury takes a dip, too. If your furnace malfunctions, you may have anxiety pangs as you try to figure out how you’re going to handle the unexpected price tag for major furnace repairs or even a furnace replacement.
Don’t panic! Sometimes there are simple solutions to what seem like big problems. Here are some furnace troubleshooting tips you can try yourself:
Make sure your thermostat is set to heat. This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many homeowners don’t have their furnace set right. Some people may turn it off and forget to turn it back o. Others accidentally switch it off while they’re cleaning. Sometimes someone will flip the setting to the air conditioning function.
Thermostat settings can also be very confusing (especially if you try to program the device without the booklet) — you may have accidentally set up funky dates, times and setting for your heat and can’t quite get it to reset.
Turn your switch on. Again, this may seem obvious, but sometimes your furnace switch will accidentally turn off. The switch looks like a regular light switch and can either be located on the unit or on the nearby wall (hence the confusion).
Change the filter. This is one of the most common (and avoidable) HVAC issues. A clogged, dirty filter will limit airflow and cause pressure to build up in the furnace. By simply changing your filter, you can increase your heat output and efficiency.
Check the circuit breaker. If you’ve ever blown a circuit, you know how annoying this can be. To see if your unit is a problem, go to your home’s panel and look to see if a rogue circuit has been pushed to the off position. If you find it, turn if all the way off and then switch it back on.
Why you should get regular furnace maintenance
An annual furnace inspection and service will prolong the life of your system, save energy and decrease a chance of health risks.
HVAC experts say
that up to 75 percent of no-heat calls in the winter are due to a lack of maintenance. Ignoring your furnace maintenance will cause it to run inefficiently, making it work harder and increase your monthly energy bills.
Failing to have your furnace serviced can also be a health hazard. When a technician visits your home, they can check for carbon monoxide leaks -- which are often hard to detect. The gas, which is colorless and odorless, can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and even death.
A great way to avoid furnace repair issues is a service plan. Warrenton HVAC companies — like CroppMetcalfe, for example — often offer annual HVAC service agreements
that include inspections, maintenance and priority service when needed. It’s a worthwhile investment.
Schedule a furnace tune-up today