A furnace is one of the most important appliances in a household, particularly during winter. If you own or plan to install one, chances are you have a million questions regarding the best model, efficiency, issues that might come up, and how to handle them. Well, you are in luck as in this read, we are going to tackle some of the frequently asked questions regarding furnaces. So, buckle up!
How Often Do I Need to Replace My Furnace?
On average, a furnace lasts between 15 to 20 years, although the actual number depends on the model and the care put into maintaining it throughout its life. If the appliance is professionally maintained on a regular basis, it can last up to two decades.
That being said, there are several ways to determine if the furnace needs to be replaced:
Age – if your furnace is near its death, it will start to break more often, and the cost of repair will increase. When balancing the repair cost and replacement cost, if a repair costs 50 percent of a new one, regardless of the age, it’s advisable to get a new one.
Energy Efficiency- even if your furnace isn’t near the end of its lifespan, it still might be essential to replace the appliance if your heating bills are increasing. By assessing the money wasted by using an inefficient furnace through an energy audit, you can determine whether or not a new furnace would be a more cost-effective option.
Is It Hard to Repair My Furnace on My Own?
DIY furnace repair can be tempting and exciting. After all, it might be a small issue like replacing the filter, flipping the breaker, or lighting the pilot. However, it is important to how to do the repairs properly, especially for complex issues, or you might end up harming yourself and breaking the appliance even more.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the dangers you may expose yourself to. This is an odorless and colorless gas, thus impossible to detect unless you use a detector. To mitigate such risk, it’s imperative to check the CO and smoke alarms once every month and schedule annual furnace maintenance with a professional. Click here to find more about our professional furnace services.
Fire is another huge risk when dealing with gas lines and electrical wiring. So, when it comes to huge repairs, the job is certainly hard unless you’re an expert in HVAC.
TIP- Change the filters on a regular basis and keep the furnace clean to avoid major breakdowns.
What Is The Difference Between Electric and Water Furnace?
An electric furnace utilizes electricity to move heat from a cool region to a warm region, thus making the warm space warmer during the colder months. This appliance is similar to its gas forced-air counterpart only that it uses electricity. The benefit of this is that it does not give off carbon monoxide. However, it has a high cost of electricity in most places and a high-voltage, making repairs tricky, especially for DIY enthusiasts.
A water furnace, on the other hand, uses a fuel (often natural gas) to boil water. The hot water is then pumped through pipes to the different radiators in the house, which produce heat that warms up the space.
The best thing about water furnaces is that the warm water flowing back to the appliance requires less power to reheat, which leads to energy savings. If you properly insulate your house and the pipes, the efficiency will be higher, making it a better option compared to electric furnaces. However, they have the potential of creating carbon monoxide, and leaks are not uncommon. As such, regular inspection and maintenance are called for.
How Does My Furnace Connect to Nest/Smart Home?
Installing Nest is a relatively easy DIY project that takes no more than 30 minutes to complete. The Google Nest’s application has step-by-step instructions on how to wire the thermostat, and so, you should use it as your primary guide. However, it is imperative first to check that your heating system is compatible with Nest. The app will also take you through a series of questions about your house, the temperatures you prefer as well as the heating system. All this information will be used to help you stay comfortable and also save energy.
Connecting your furnace to a smart hub is something every homeowner should do in this day and age.
Why Is My Furnace Constantly Running?
If your furnace seems to be on more than it is off, chances are there’s a problem. A furnace shouldn’t be constantly running, and this is a definite sign of a malfunction. There are a few possible causes for this, including:
Clogged/Dirty Filters- If the air coming from the vents is warm and the airflow seems to be weak, chances are the filters are clogged with dirt and dust. Clogged filters prevent air from getting into the furnace, thus leading to inadequate indoor temperature. To fix this, replace the filters with new ones.
Blower Issues- If the furnace is running, but you are only getting cool air, then you might be looking at a blower issue. An electrical problem like corroded wires may be causing the blower to run constantly. This is an issue you should not attempt to fix on your own. Call the experts instead.
Thermostat Issues- Ensure that the thermostat is set to the desired temperature and that it’s on the ‘auto’ setting rather than the ‘on’ one. The latter tells the furnace to run constantly while ‘auto’ tells the appliance to keep running until the set temperature is reached. It then turns off automatically until the indoor temperature goes below the set one. If the thermostat settings are correct, but the appliance still runs, then you might be looking at a malfunctioning thermostat.
Why Is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?
This is another common furnace issue. A furnace may be blowing cold air due to an array of reasons including:
- It Has Not Warmed Up
If a blast of cool air is what you get at first, but the room feels warm after several minutes. There’s no need to fret. It is normal for cold air first to emerge as the furnace needs to warm up. This is similar to what you experience after turning on a hot water faucet.
- The Thermostat is Set to ‘ON’
If there is a constant flow of cool air, you should check the thermostat and see whether the fan setting is set to ‘on’ or ‘auto’. There is a chance that your thermostat is set to ‘on,’ which means the blower will continually run even if the furnace is not heating the air. By switching it to ‘auto’ instead, the fan will just blow when the appliance is heating the air.
- Inadequate Gas Supply
Your heating system may lockdown for safety reasons if it’s not getting an adequate amount of gas in order to heat up the air. If the gas supply isn’t turned off, then you might be looking at a severed line. In such a case, you should seek professional help.
- Dirty Flame Sensor
If you are familiar with furnace components, clean the flame sensor to restore the system to its optimal condition. If not, you should enlist the services of a professional HVAC technician.
- Pilot Light is Out
If the appliance is old and it is blowing cold air, the pilot light may have gone out. If confident, you can follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to turn it on safely. If not, call in a professional. It is on and does not stay lit, then it may call for routine maintenance.
There could also be an issue with the thermocouple, which will need to be adjusted or replaced.
Why Won’t My Furnace Fan Turn Off?
When the indoor temperature falls below what’s set on the thermostat, the furnace turns on and distributes heat. When the set temperature is reached, the furnace fan and burners should turn off until they are needed again. But this isn’t always the case due to the following:
- Clogged Filter
Clogged filters are the root of most furnace issues. As the filter gets dirtier, it prevents ideal airflow. Warm air gets trapped in the appliance and trip the limit switch. When this occurs, the burners shut down, but the furnace fan keeps running.
- Incorrect Thermostat Settings
The thermostat setting is usually to blame when the fan does not turn off with the furnace burners. When the setting is ‘ON’, it implies that the blower is always on, regardless of whether warm air is being produced or not. Changing the setting to ‘auto’ often fixes the issue, but if it doesn’t consider calling a professional HVAC technician for proper assessment.
You might also be looking at a bad relay, fan limit control, fan sequencer relay, or circuit board.
If you have a furnace that is in need of repair or replacement, be sure to reach out to us so we can help keep your home warm and safe!