Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration Blog

Why Your Gas Furnace Won’t Work When the Power Goes Out

November 16th, 2018

Gas Furnace Power OutWhen the weather outside is cold and windy, there’s nothing as enjoyable as a nice warm furnace inside your home. After all, it’s much more reliable than a baseboard heater or other form of electric heat, right? If you lose power in a storm, those electric types of heat will falter and leave you with a cold house. Your natural gas furnace would never do that, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true. If you’ve ever asked yourself if a gas furnace works during a power outage, the answer is that it is just as susceptible to power outages as electric heaters. While it might seem counterintuitive and confusing, your gas furnace still depends on electricity to power itself and heat your home. If the power is out, the odds are good your furnace will be out as well.

There are plenty of reasons why your furnace works the way it does and how you can interpret what’s going on in your current situation. There are also many options you can try if it seems like the power has returned, but your furnace hasn’t. If you’re experiencing a gas furnace with no power and wondering what to do when the power’s out, we’ve compiled this quick and easy guide just for you.

Modern vs Traditional Gas Furnace

Modern vs. Traditional Gas Furnaces During Power Outages

Does a gas furnace use electricity? And, will a gas furnace work in a power outage? To answer these questions, it’s crucial to understand the difference between modern and traditional gas furnaces. In old-fashioned gas furnaces, there was something called a pilot light, or a pilot flame — a standing flame that burned at all times.

This little and constantly lit flame was responsible for igniting the natural gas and causing your furnace to work, allowing heat to flow through your home. If this flame were ever to go out, the furnace would turn off. In other words, there was no electricity involved. This explanation is an oversimplification, of course, but it serves our purpose for now.

Having one tiny flame controlling the entire furnace led to problems, such as the pilot light going out and turning the furnace off at inconvenient times. To fix these issues, innovators figured out how to do away with this older system, and modern gas furnaces rely on new methods of operation. Our current system is typically called electric ignition. As the name suggests, this system uses electricity to kickstart a flame and get the natural gas flowing. Therefore, if there’s no electricity, modern furnaces won’t start, as opposed to the traditional furnace that could likely continue without issue.

Power Outage Gas Furnace

What a Power Outage Means for a Modern Gas Furnace

Does gas heat work when the power goes out? We’ve established that the answer to this question is most likely no. But what exactly is going on inside your furnace that causes this? How does a power outage affect gas heat? Let’s get some quick answers.

  1. The Gas Valve Shuts Off
    In most modern furnaces, it isn’t as simple as being unable to function without electricity. With some furnaces, it’s a failsafe mechanism, not a malfunction. Because it’s not safe to try to light many furnaces without electricity, the furnace will sense when there’s no power, and the gas valve will close, cutting off the flow of gas and preventing the furnace from functioning. This safety feature is something you should appreciate, not tamper with.
  2. The Heat Stops Working
    Because the gas valve has shut, the gas cannot flow and ignite, meaning the heat will stop working. There is an exception to this rule, however. If you have a generator, you will likely be able to use your gas furnace during a power outage. Without a generator, however, this is unlikely.
  3. You Will Not Have Hot Water
    Will a gas water heater work without electricity? The answer is no. If the heating systems in your house are connected, a gas furnace with no power will affect your water as well. The furnace will be without power, meaning your hot water heater won’t be working either. You’ll be limited to strictly cold water.

Why Doesn’t a Gas Furnace Work During a Power Outage?

There are several reasons for this, a few of which we’ve touched on. But the truth is that this is a question with multiple answers, so let’s look at all the reasons separately.

  • The Ignition System: This system essentially switches the furnace on and gets the gas flowing. Without electricity, this won’t be operational, and the gas won’t be able to turn on. You should never attempt to restart this manually, as doing so could result in serious accident or injury.
  • The Gas Valve: As we’ve mentioned, this valve is a safety feature installed in most modern-day furnaces, so even if the ignition system was to work and the gas was to ignite somehow, it couldn’t flow throughout the pipes. It’s vital because if gas were to escape into the system without electricity to guide and control it, any number of accidents could occur, resulting in damage to the furnace, as well as potentially to your building and to anyone in the vicinity.
  • The Blower Fan Motor: This part of the furnace guides the hot air and the gas, moving it through the pipes and preventing it from sitting still, building up under mounting pressure. If the fan isn’t working, the gas will either sit or rise naturally, and will potentially lead to a dangerous buildup in the pipes.
  • The Digital Thermostat: The thermostat is the part of the furnace you interact with the most every day, as someone who isn’t a technician or heating professional of any type. Without electricity, however, the thermostat will cease to function, meaning you have no control over the amount of gas in the furnace, and the temperature of the heat in your home. That is inherently dangerous, as it cuts off your ability to control the gas. For this reason, the gas valve shuts down when there is no power, to prevent this eventuality from becoming a reality.

After a Power Outage With Gas Furnace

How to Handle a Gas Furnace After a Power Outage

Even though gas heat doesn’t work when the power is out, this won’t usually be something you have to worry about. Most power outages are occasional blips that only last a few seconds or minutes. In cases like these, you’ll likely barely even notice your heat ever switched off.

However, there are rare events when the power is out for days or even weeks, perhaps as the result of an intense storm or a flood. In cases like these, as your home begins to grow cold and the furnace refuses to turn back on, what should you do?

  1. Don’t Experiment With the Furnace
    If you’ve ever had experience with furnaces, fixtures, electronics or heating equipment, you may think you have the know-how to tinker with your furnace and get it working again. We strongly discourage this.Remember, when there is no power, the gas valve shuts off for safety reasons, cutting off the flow of gas to prevent the furnace from working. Even if you were to get the gas flowing, you would have no way to control it. The entire process would be extremely hazardous and has the potential to result in disaster.No matter how much experience or technical know-how you may have, do not tamper with your furnace in an attempt to bypass these safety features.
  2. Cut off the Power
    The electricity is out, but that doesn’t mean there might not be odd spikes and surges of power if the power lines have become damaged somewhere. To prevent these power spikes from damaging your furnace — or any other sensitive electronics, for that matter — unplug the item in question. This way, even if the power does fluctuate, it will have no way to reach your furnace and damage it.
  3. Use a Generator
    If you have a generator, this is one of the only courses of action you can take during a power outage that has the potential to safely get your generator running again. You can hook it directly up to your furnace, powering it with electricity and getting it running.This process is not as simple as it may seem from the outside, however, and you should not attempt it blindly. Read the instructions carefully. If you don’t have an instruction manual, look up a tutorial or instructions online. Even then, complete the process with extreme caution.If mechanics and technology are not your strong suit, perhaps it might be best not to attempt this process at all. If these are the types of jobs you’re much more comfortable passing off to someone else, there’s no harm in doing so. Ask a friend or family member with strengths and a background in this area. Or, even better, you can always…
  4. Call a Professional
    Furnaces are often highly tricky and temperamental pieces of equipment that are usually best to leave in the capable hands of trained professionals. Rather than tinkering with your furnace and trying to connect a generator on your own, you are likely far better off calling a professional and letting them connect it for you.If you attempt to do this yourself, but are unsure of the correct way to do it, it’s possible something could go wrong and potentially damage the furnace or the generator. It’s always better to get something done right the first time around, to save you from having to do it twice. If that means calling a professional, there’s nothing wrong with that. They’ll be able to do it quickly and correctly, or, if it’s impossible, they’ll be able to tell you this as well.

What to Do After a Power Outage

So your power was out. Maybe it was for a few hours or a few days. Either way, it’s back on now, and your furnace should be working just fine. Except maybe it isn’t. What if your heat doesn’t automatically come back on? How do you restart a gas furnace after a power outage?

Before we even begin to troubleshoot, it’s worth noting this eventuality is unlikely. In most cases, your furnace should turn back on automatically as the power comes back online. Things should continue without a hitch. Think of it the same way you would think of a light bulb. If the power went out when a light was on, that light should automatically turn back on as soon the power gets restored, provided no one turned the switch off.

If this doesn’t happen, however, there’s no need to panic. Here are a few things you can try.

Furnace Checks After Power Outage:

  1. Make Sure the Furnace Is On
    We mentioned earlier that it might be a smart idea to cut off the flow of power to your furnace during an outage. If you did this, remember to check that this connection has been restored, allowing the now-working power to reach your furnace.
  2. Check the Control Panel
    In many cases, the control panel may be flashing with an error message, alerting you to the need for a replacement or repair. If this is the case, your furnace will not work, and you’ll need to call a repair professional.
  3. Check for Blown Fuses
    Was the power outage the result of a severe lightning strike? If so, it’s possible a fuse has blown. Again, it’s best to call in professionals to fix this type of problem.
  4. Check the Safety Lock
    When you attempted to restart your furnace, did you hit the reset buttons multiple times in quick succession? That has the potential to engage a child-safety lock. Essentially, the furnace designers built in a mechanism that assumes if someone is hitting the button many times, it may be a child, and the furnace will shut down as a safety precaution. Wait a while, then hit the reset button once firmly.
  5. Check the Thermostat
    Did your thermostat switch off during the power outage as well? Check to make sure it is back online, and turned up high enough to engage the furnace and start warming your home again. Set it at least five degrees hotter than the current room temperature and see if that makes a difference.
  6. Check Your Breaker Panel
    Occasionally, power outages can result in a tripped breaker. The good news is, this is a straightforward fix. Visit your breaker panel — usually in the garage, laundry room or other out-of-the-way space — locate the correct breaker, and flip it back on.
  7. Check the GFI Outlet
    If your furnace is relatively new, it may be connected to a GFI outlet. These are protected outlets, designed to trip if they get overloaded with power. This outlet may have become tripped during the power outage. If this is the case, all you need to do is reset it by pressing the reset button.

Contact Oasis

Contact Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration Today

Are you struggling to get your furnace working after a power outage? Don’t tough it out alone. If you’re in the Northern Virginia area, contact Oasis today, and we’ll help you get your furnace up and running again. We’re a family-owned and -operated business with multiple generations of experience in the industry, so you can be sure you’ll receive the high-quality help and know-how to get your furnace running again in no time.

Fill out our contact form today or give us a call now.


Sources:

  1. http://www.oasiscooling.com/contact/contact
  2. https://www.hunker.com/13415625/how-to-restart-a-gas-furnace-after-a-power-outage
  3. http://www.oasiscooling.com/blog/problems-with-your-electric-furnace-lets-look-into-it/
  4. http://www.oasiscooling.com/blog/why-most-modern-furnaces-use-electronic-ignition/
  5. https://extension2.missouri.edu/gh5117
  6. http://www.oasiscooling.com/blog/why-your-gas-furnace-wont-work-when-the-power-goes-out/

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What Size Furnace Do I Need?

September 27th, 2018

What Size Furnace

When it’s cold outside, we want to stay comfortable inside. To ensure comfort during the winter months, nothing is as essential as a furnace — the great workhorse of domestic heating in the United States. For the furnace to work properly, however, it must be the right size. Buying the wrong furnace size for your home is an all-too-common mistake that can lead to uncomfortable temperatures and unnecessary expenses. To avoid these headaches, follow our detailed guide on how to accurately calculate the furnace size that is most suitable for your home.

The size of a furnace is based on how much heat it can produce in an hour, as measured in BTUs, or British thermal units. A BTU is the energy required to heat a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The higher the BTU rating a furnace has, the more warmth it can provide.

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Why an Oversized Air Conditioner Is a Serious Problem

June 22nd, 2018

Oversized Air Conditioner Problems

Are you in the market for a new air conditioning system, either as a replacement for an older, ailing AC unit or as part of your new home? It’s important to have HVAC professionals involved in the process from the very beginning, not just for the actual few hours of work required to put the system in place and hook it up. You’ll want them to take the proper measurements, so you can be sure you have the correct size of unit for your home. If the air conditioner is too small, it will not provide the cooling your home needs. If it is too large, it causes its own set of problems.

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Cleaning Your Home’s Boiler Heating System

January 31st, 2018

Cleaning your boiler is an important step as a homeowner to keep your heating system working properly. Regular boiler maintenance can lower your heating costs and extend the lifespan of your system.

Because boilers are constantly working and responsible for heating your home and providing hot water, dust and grime build-up can clog the pipes and tubes — lowering your boiler’s efficiency. In this post, you’ll find how to clean your boiler, including the inside, in three easy steps. Let Oasis do the work for you! Call us today to sign up for our yearly maintenance plan which includes a deep cleaning of your boiler heating system.

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Identifying Your Home’s Heating System

January 17th, 2018

What Kind of Heating System Do I Have?

As a homeowner, it’s important that you know what type of heating system you have in your home. Knowing what type of heating system you have ensures you can keep your machinery properly maintained, which extends its lifetime. It also lets you potentially lower your monthly heating costs.

We’ve compiled the five most common heating systems installed in homes to help you determine what kind of heating system you have. If you’re still not sure, Call Oasis today!

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Heating Repair FAQ: Troubleshooting Guide to Home Heating Systems

January 6th, 2018

You expect your heating system to provide you with heat. Just like a car or any other machine that uses engines to run, a heating system can overheat or suffer serious malfunctions that will eventually lead to a breakdown. We’ll look at some of the causes of heating system issues and what can be done to prevent it and repair the problems that it causes.

A furnace that overheats during the winter can turn into a very uncomfortable situation for you and your family, so call OASIS Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Inc. when you need fast and effective heating repair in northern Virginia.

heating system troubleshooting

Common Problems with Heating Systems include:

Why Is My Heater Not Working?

It’s a common question as the temperatures drop. One day your heating system is working just fine. The next day, the heat is not working correctly. Heating systems are complicated and involve many different components, so pinpointing the cause of your problem can be challenging. Learn more about the common problems with heating systems to help troubleshoot the issue until you can get a heating and cooling specialist to your home.

Heating System Blowing Cold Air

The thermostat is on, but not heating. Even though the system seems to be working, something is keeping it from delivering warm air to your home. When you have no heat, furnace troubleshooting becomes a pressing issue, especially in the winter.

Check your thermostat first to ensure it’s set properly. Look at these aspects of the system:

  • Verify that it is set to the Heat function.
  • Check the fan setting to ensure it is set to the Auto option.
  • Look at the temperature setting to make sure it didn’t get lowered significantly.
  • Look at the breaker or fuse to ensure it is working properly.
  • If all the settings check out, increase the heat by five to 10 degrees, and give the system a few minutes.

If the thermostat is on, but it’s not heating, you likely have a bigger problem. Some of the issues are things you can easily remedy, but many of the issues require help from a professional.

Potential causes of the heater blowing cold air include:

  • Blockage: Something blocking the flow of warm air can be the source of the problem.
  • Dirty air filter: A filter full of dirt, hair and other debris can put strain on the unit and cause it to kick out cooler air instead of hot air.
  • Pilot light: If the pilot light isn’t lit or won’t stay lit, the unit can’t produce the warm air you expect it to kick out. If relighting the pilot light doesn’t work, or you have an electric ignition unit that isn’t working, you’ll need help from a professional to get it back up and running.
  • Ductwork problems: Leaky ductwork lets the hot air out of the pipes, resulting in colder air coming out of your vents. You can use incense to check for leaks in your pipes. Watch the smoke from the incense stick to see if it moves, which indicates leaks.

checking for blockage in front of vent

If simple fixes do not make the air warmer, it is time to call in a heating and cooling specialist. The professional can do a full system check to identify the source of the problem and recommend a solution that’s right for your home.

Heating System Running Nonstop

Another issue that often happens with heating systems is that they run nonstop instead of cycling off and on. If you have the fan setting turned on, the blower will continue running constantly, even if the furnace isn’t producing hot air.

If this isn’t the cause of the constant running, the issue usually happens due either to a problem with the thermostat, or the blower in the furnace. Thermostats tend to be easier to fix. In some cases, you might need to replace the thermostat completely. A heating and cooling specialist can help you find the right thermostat to work properly with your heating system and install it correctly.

Blower issues are typically more complex and require the help of a heating professional. If the thermostat isn’t the issue, schedule an inspection to figure out the source of the constant running.

 

Random Cold Spots in Your Home

Walking into a room that’s several degrees colder than it should be is more than annoying. It could be a sign of a problem with your heating system. Inconsistent temperatures in the home can be caused by:

  • Inadequate insulation or the positioning of the room. For example, if a bedroom is directly above an uninsulated basement or garage, the cold air from those adjoining spaces may make the room feel cold.
  • Old, leaky windows can let outside air into the space, making it feel much colder.
  • If the home’s structure isn’t an issue, check the air filter in your furnace. If it’s clogged, it can cause inconsistent heating in different parts of your house.
  • Leaks in the ductwork can also cause issues. The ducts leading to a certain room may have leaks, which causes that room to get less hot air. You’ll want to call in a heating and cooling company to check for and repair the duct issues.

 

Heating System Fan Isn’t Blowing

Another common issue is the fan not blowing at all. You might notice no air is coming from your vents, or only a small amount is coming through. Like many furnace problems, a non-working fan can have several different causes:

  • Start with the easiest option- checking the thermostat to make sure it is set correctly. If your fan is set to Auto, it will only turn on when the furnace needs to run to reach the set temperature on the thermostat.
    Check the temperature setting on the thermostat. If it’s set to a low temperature, the furnace may not run because the home is not cold enough to make it turn on.

check if fan is set to auto

  • If your thermostat looks good, head to the furnace to check your filter. If the filter is clogged, it can restrict airflow to the point that it feels like nothing is blowing out of the vents. Sometimes the fan will stop working completely if the filter gets too dirty.
  • Check the breaker. Sometimes a breaker can get tripped and cause the blower to stop working. If everything looks good on the circuit breaker panel, it’s time to call in an expert who can figure out why the fan isn’t working properly.

 

Heater Letting off a Burning Smell: Why Your Furnace Might Be Overheating

A burning smell is very unsettling, regardless of the source. If you notice a strange smell coming from your furnace, act quickly to avoid a serious problem.

If it’s the first time you’ve run the heating system for the season, a burning smell likely isn’t cause for concern. All the components of the system gather dust all summer long. When you turn on the system for the first time in the fall, that dust burns off as the furnace heats. However, that burning smell should stop within a few hours of starting the system. If it doesn’t go away, call a technician to make sure everything is working correctly.

A burning smell that pops up in the middle of the season with no apparent cause is of concern. Like so many other furnace problems, the burning smell could be caused by a clogged air filter. Once the filter gets full, it’s unable to collect additional dirt and debris that enter the system. Some of that dirt can settle on other components of the system and burn as it heats.

burning smell could lead to home fire

A dirty filter can also cause overheating in your unit. When the filter is full, the heating system has to work harder to push the air. That extra effort can cause the motor of the blower to overheat and create a hot or burning smell.

Perhaps the most dangerous source of a burning smell is an electrical problem in the system. Issues with wiring can cause a burning smell and could eventually lead to a fire in the home.

Don’t delay getting help if you don’t know why the furnace smells like it’s burning. Shut down the system, and call a professional who can come out right away to inspect the unit.

 

Facts About Furnace Overheating

No matter the type of fuel your furnace uses (natural gas, propane, electricity, etc.), it needs motors to run the various blower fans responsible for heat exchange and the distribution of heated air through your ductwork. These motors can begin to undergo extra stress which will lead to them overheating and eventually burning out.

  • Reduced Air Flow: One of the most common reasons for motors overheating is a blocked air filter. Air filters require regular changing during the heating season so they do not become too clogged. Typically, you can replace your filter every three months. Thick clogging will cut off the airflow, forcing the furnace to overwork to compensate. The infiltration of dust from a clogged filter will spread dirt on the motors, which can also lead to overheating. Blocked vents will also reduce airflow. Make sure that all the vents throughout the house have easy access and aren’t obstructed by furniture or rugs. Too many blocked vents and the strain will make the furnace motors overheat.
  • Short-cycling: Short-cycling is another major cause of overheating and happens when the furnace turns off early in the heating cycle. A short-cycling furnace will turn off and on repeatedly when it shouldn’t, which puts tremendous pressure on the motors. Furnaces can short-cycle because they were incorrectly sized, from blocked vents or malfunctioning thermostats. If short-cycling starts to affect your furnace, you need to have it professionally inspected before it overheats and burns out.
  • Fan Operating on High: Make sure when your system is running that the fan isn’t continuously set on high. Warm air is easier for your system to move throughout your home, so keeping the furnace on a low fan setting is enough to circulate heat through your house. Keeping the fan low is also a preventative measure you can take to keep the furnace from overheating.
  • Evaporator Coil: To keep your furnace from overheating, check your evaporator coil annually. This piece of your furnace absorbs heat from your house. If it becomes dirty or damaged, it can cause your heater to short-cycle.
  • Blower Fan: Your furnace’s blower fan supplies air to the system’s heat exchanger. If the blower fan is blocked or damaged it can also cause your furnace to overheat. By checking the fan each year along with other furnace components, you can prevent your furnace overheating or becoming damaged.

Heating System Cycles Frequently

system cycling faster than normal

When they’re working correctly, heating systems automatically cycle on and off to maintain the temperature you set on your thermostat. The system usually runs for several minutes before shutting off, so it doesn’t get too hot inside your home.

Sometimes that cycling gets thrown off and happens faster than normal. You might notice the furnace turning off and on quickly, running only for a short time before turning off again. Cycling issues can leave your home feeling uncomfortable because the unit doesn’t run long enough to heat the space properly. It can also cause extra wear and tear on your heating unit and can increase energy consumption, so it’s important to get the cycling back on track.

In most cases, that rapid cycling is due to an issue with the thermostat. The cycling problem sometimes happens when there’s an issue with the heating unit. If a clogged filter causes the unit to overheat, it might shut off frequently or run for shorter periods than normal. A malfunctioning blower may also be the cause of the issue. If you change the filter and still have issues, have a technician check out the system to find the source of the faster cycling.

Heating System Pilot Light Won’t Stay Lit

Older furnaces use pilot lights within the unit. If the pilot light goes out, the unit won’t work properly, and you’ll need to relight it. If you have trouble getting that pilot light to stay lit, you may have another issue causing the problem.

One potential cause is a loose or faulty thermocouple, which is the rod that heats up because of the pilot light. The thermocouple is the component that signals the gas to be released into the burners when it gets hot enough. A thermocouple that isn’t working properly can cause pilot light issues. Adjusting or replacing the thermocouple is a job for a professional.

Another potential cause may be a pilot flame setting that is too low. Some units feature an adjustment screw for the flame, which may need to be changed to keep the flame going. An ideal pilot flame has no yellow in it and measures between 1-1/2 and 2 inches.

relight pilot light

The pilot orifice is the area where the flame burns. If this area becomes clogged, it can also cause issues with the pilot light. Another potential problem is a malfunction in the safety cutoff valve. If you have tried relighting the pilot light with no luck, the safest option is to call a professional to look at the situation.

If you have a newer furnace, it likely has an electronic ignition system instead of a pilot light you have to light yourself. This type of furnace can still have issues. An issue with the flame sensor can cause problems with the unit’s operation.

Heating System Making Funny Noises

You’re probably used to the normal sounds your furnace makes, so you notice immediately if it starts to make strange noises. Sometimes the unusual noises are no big deal. Other times, they indicate a problem that needs to be repaired. Here are some common noises and what they may mean for your heating system:

  • Popping or banging sound coming from the ductwork. These sounds often happen due to the normal expansion and contraction of the ductwork as the air heats and cools. If the pipes have loose flaps, you might notice a sound as the air passes through those areas.check for a loose panel
  • Rattling noise coming from the heating unit. This may mean that you have a loose panel. Check the cover panels on the exterior of the furnace. Tighten any loose screws to see if the rattling sound stops.
  • Scraping sounds from the unit. This often happens when metal from two components starts rubbing. The blower wheel may be loose and scraping against the housing that protects it, which can cause damage to both. If the blower wheel is damaged, it often starts vibrating, which can cause several sounds — including scraping, banging and squealing. In some cases, the motor mount can break, causing the blower wheel to be out of position and bang against the housing.
  • Thumping or vibration sounds often happen when something is off-balance. The blower wheel and motor are two common culprits.
  • Grinding noises coming from within the unit can mean an issue in the motor. If you notice a strange sound that doesn’t go away, call a technician to diagnose and repair the issue. If you let the issue continue, you’ll likely end up with more severe damage that requires additional parts to be replaced or repaired.

Heating System Has a Clogged Filter

Many heating problems and solutions center around the air filter. A common potential cause of many issues with your furnace is a clogged filter. It can:

  • Limit air flow
  • Let dirt into the unit
  • Cause cold air to come out of vents
  • Put excess strain on the unit.

Common problems are often due to clogged filter

Not only does it cause minor short-term problems, but a clogged or dirty filter can cause long-term issues and major damage to the unit.

A clean air filter keeps the unit running efficiently. This efficiency, in turn, saves you money on your heating bills. It also minimizes unnecessary strain on your system, which can keep it running longer. Keeping your furnace air filter clean means your home stays cleaner.

The purpose of the filter is to pull dust, pet hair and other debris from the air, so it does not circulate through the system. If the filter is clogged, it can’t do its job, and you may end up with an increase in airborne particles circulating through your home.

Changing the filter is an easy task that homeowners can handle. That simple task can save you lots of issues and money down the road. Most types of furnace filters need to be changed monthly. Refer to the owner’s manual to determine the specific type and size of air filter needed and the appropriate schedule for replacing the filter.

You may need to change the filter more often if you have pets or if your home is unusually dusty, as the filter will get dirty much faster. In most units, you simply pull out the older filter and slide the new filter into the position. If you’re unsure of how to make the change, ask your heating technician to show you at your next maintenance appointment.

Heating System Lack of Maintenance

One of the biggest problems many people have with their heating systems is simply lack of maintenance. It may seem unnecessary when your furnace is working well, but those early maintenance calls are what keep your system in peak condition. Regularly scheduled maintenance can extend the life of your heating system, which protects your investment.

Regular maintenance visits from a heating and cooling specialist ensure your system is working properly. A unit that works well keeps your home comfortable. The expert who performs the check can spot minor issues early before they develop into major issues that cost a lot more money to repair. Maintenance also ensures the unit runs as efficiently as possible, which helps minimize your heating and cooling costs.

During a routine maintenance check, the technician inspects all components of the heating system, and tunes or adjusts parts as needed to keep the system running correctly. The technician checks for any safety issues that need to be addressed. If there are other problems arising in the unit, the technician can handle those repairs.

always have your heating system maintained

General Tips for Handling Home Heating Issues

Some minor issues can be handled by the homeowner, but it’s important to know when you need the help of a professional. Heating systems are very complex, with many components working together. You also have the potential danger of electricity, gas and flames.

Keep these things in mind when dealing with an issue.

  • Know your limits:

    Just because you can find an online video showing how to make a repair doesn’t mean you should do it yourself. If you have no training in heating and cooling systems, it’s best to leave repairs to the professionals. You can cause more extensive damage if you handle the repairs yourself. You could also cause a fire or other serious reactions when messing with the unit.

  • Always shut off the power supply first:

    Any time you open the unit to check out an issue, it’s important to shut off the power source. This action reduces the risk of injury or serious complications. You should also shut off the power supply if you think there is a major problem with the unit and you’re waiting for a technician to arrive. Letting the unit continue to run can increase the amount of damage done.

  • Start with the easiest fix first:

    Many heating problems are complicated and require a professional’s help, but it’s always a good idea to check with the obvious, easy issues first. Checking thermostat settings and breakers or fuses eliminate those issues as the culprit. Checking the air filter is the next obvious issue that is easy for you to handle. If those issues aren’t the source of the problem, it’s likely time to call a technician.

  • Choose a reliable heating and cooling company:

    It’s a good idea to build a relationship with a reliable local heating and cooling company. When you choose a reputable company with knowledgeable technicians, you always know who to call when you have issues. You can also feel comfortable with the work you have done.

 

Schedule Your Repair or Maintenance

Oasis is ready to handle your heating repair needs. Contact us to have a technician come out to diagnose your heating system problems. We can also help you with a regular maintenance plan to keep your system running efficiently.

Furnaces are potentially hazardous if you try to repair them yourself, especially a gas furnace. If your furnace starts to overheat or suffer a breakdown because of overheating, call for professional heating repair in Fairfax, VA from OASIS Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Inc. We have 15 years of experience working on heating and cooling systems in Northern Virginia, and we’re on call 24 hours a day.

 

Sources:
  1. https://www.hometips.com/repair-fix/furnace-problems.html
  2. https://blog.totalhomesupply.com/common-heating-problems/
  3. http://www.hydesac.com/might-notice-burning-smell-furnace-fall/
  4. https://www.thespruce.com/gas-furnace-repair-and-troubleshooting-1824770
  5. https://www.thespruce.com/whats-causing-your-noisy-furnace-4118946

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How to Save on Heating Costs in the Winter

January 2nd, 2018

Are heating bills keeping you down this season? A variety of items in your home are most likely contributing to your high heating costs, including keeping your thermostat on high, spaces in your door and window thresholds that allow air to escape or having an older or poorly maintained furnace.

This winter, take a look at these tips to save money on your next heating bill.

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Is a Tankless Water Heater Worth It?

March 27th, 2017

Water_Heaters_Shower_Falling_Water_Heat_Temperature_Steam_FaucetIf you’re asking this question it’s probably because you’ve heard about the growing popularity of tankless water heaters for home installation… and your current storage tank water heater is coming to the end of its service life and you want to replace it. Is going with a tankless water heater the best next step? Or does the cost of this advanced type of water heater outweigh its usefulness?

These are good questions to ask yourself before making a decision. But the best way to find answers is to work with water heating professionals. It’s important to make the right choice for your new water heater installation in Burke, VA, and our team of experts will help steer you toward the best system to replace your old one.

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Air Conditioning Maintenance: It’s Already Time!

March 13th, 2017

air-conditioning-system-outdoor-unitThere are still some cold days ahead in March and even early April in Northern Virginia. March is a notoriously unpredictable period for the weather, and we’ve already swung between highs in the 70s and lows in the 30s so far this month—and it’s not even half over.

But you can use this unpredictable time for some predictable planning, such as arranging for spring maintenance for your air conditioning system in Arlington, VA. Maintenance isn’t an optional bonus for an AC—it’s a necessity to ensure the longest system life possible with the fewest repairs and the highest energy efficiency. It’s not something only we advocate: it’s a recommendation from the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Shutting Down the Furnace for Warmer Weather

February 27th, 2017

girl-welcomes-in-spring-weatherFirst thing’s first: we aren’t out of the woods yet when it comes to cold weather. Last week saw some warmer days here in Northern Virginia, but March is notorious for the way it can take sudden turns and hurl chilly weather our way. You may still need to have your home’s furnace running a few more days before it’s time to settle in for a pleasant spring and hot summer.

However, this is the time of year to start making plans for the change from heating season to cooling season. One of the most important steps to take is to arrange for a spring maintenance visit from our HVAC experts to see that your AC is ready to go to work when necessary. Signing up for a maintenance contract with us means benefits for both your cooling and heating.

We also recommend taking steps to shut down your furnace. This means doing more than simply stopping use of the furnace! You’ll save energy and help keep the furnace in the best possible shape if you follow these steps:

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