Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration Blog

Home Heating Problems FAQ: Guide For Troubleshooting Your Home Heating Systems

July 7th, 2021

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.

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Cleaning Your Home’s Boiler Heating System

July 2nd, 2021

Cleaning your home’s boiler system 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 home 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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What to Do if Your Furnace Doesn’t Blow Air

June 30th, 2021

The purpose of a household heating furnace is to warm your living quarters on an as-needed basis. As such, a furnace that is not blowing air through vents across your heating system is indeed problematic. Likewise, a furnace that is not blowing air in one room is a confusing issue that could stem from various factors, all of which require immediate attention.

Is a Furnace Supposed to Blow Air?

A furnace consists of a motor fan that blows air across heating coils, thus warming the air. This warm air is dispersed through the ducts of a household heating system to bring occupied living areas to the desired temperature. The furnace runs until the preset maximum temperature — usually at an owner-programmed level, such as 70 degrees Fahrenheit — has permeated the household interior, at which point the furnace shuts off to save energy.

Therefore, a furnace is built to blow air, but only warm air. A furnace blowing cold air is indicative of a problem. Funny as it may sound, a system set to “on” will not necessarily blow warm air. This is due to the programmed settings of a furnace system, which gauge the temperature within a living quarter and only disperse heat until the preset temperature is reached.

For example, if you have your furnace set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the furnace will shut off the heating coils once the ducts sense an ambient room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but the fan will continue to blow cold air if it is set to “on” instead of “auto.”

How to Tell If Your Furnace Is in Trouble

If your furnace is on but no heat is coming forth, the problem could stem from issues with your thermostat. If your furnace is not blowing heat or even seeming to activate, you have a more serious problem at hand. Watch for the following tell-tale signs of furnace trouble:

  1. Furnace Blows Nonstop

    As outside temperatures drop, the confusion that the furnace-or-fan issue can cause is liable to be quite frustrating. If you constantly hear the sound of a blowing fan yet do not feel the level of warmth that you would expect from a furnace, you literally do have a case of cold air. Simply put, if the settings on your furnace system are not properly coordinated with the fan, the latter will blow irrespective of whether you need or want actual heat.

  2. Furnace Not Blowing Hard Enough

    If the furnace blowers are generating heat in insufficient quantities, the issue is likely due to either a dirty motor or a loose blower belt. The motor can accumulate dirt over time and the gradual buildup can wear down the system. This impacts the ability of the furnace to deliver heat on a consistent basis. Likewise, a worn belt could deprive the furnace of its proper rhythm and cause the heating mechanisms to drag or work in fits and starts.

  3. Furnace Turns on but No Heat

    If you feel no heat in the minutes after you activate your furnace, something could be wrong with the belt, heating coils or furnace settings. If the blowing mechanisms are inconsistent or non-functioning, there is probably an issue with the blower belt. If the blowers are working as normal but you feel no heat, the issue is probably due to the temperature settings or heating coils. The settings can easily be adjusted if you need to test the performance of the furnace but an issue with the heating coils will necessitate a call to your nearby HVAC service specialist.

  4. Cold Spots in Home

    If it seems that your furnace is only blowing air in certain rooms despite a well-dispersed heating system, chances are the furnace has not been activating with the same consistency as before. Perhaps the furnace ducts sensed the wrong ambient temperature within your house and deactivated prematurely? Or perhaps the time/day settings are being misread by your furnace system. Either way, you are liable to experience inconsistent indoor temperatures if a misreading of any kind occurs in your furnace system.

Reasons Why Your Furnace May Not Be Blowing Air

An electric furnace that is not blowing air could be the result of various problems. With so many complex mechanisms involved in a heating system, any given number of issues could cause the furnace to malfunction. Furnace problems, from minor to severe, generally stem from one of the following 10 issues:

  1. The Temperature Is Incorrectly Set

    In a multi-person household, there are liable to be different views regarding desirable indoor temperatures. For example, one person’s “warm” could be another person’s “chilly.” Disagreements like these often go un-discussed, even between married couples. Consequently, a thermostat might be turned down at some point during a given day, yet the action remains unbeknownst to the rest of the occupants.

    If you live in a household of two or more people, call everyone together for a discussion about mutually agreeable indoor temperatures throughout each period of a typical day. Moreover, check the temperature settings of your thermostat to make sure that the numbers are what you intended, especially if you feel colder than expected and you suspect that the settings might have been altered without your knowledge.

  1. The Furnace Is Not in “Heat Mode”

    One of the more elementary oversights that homeowners make is to activate the furnace but leave the thermostat in air conditioning mode instead of heat mode. Thing is, a lot of homeowners overlook these setting options and go about not knowing that the mode is wrong. The confusion is due, in part, to the increasingly complex nature of today’s programmable thermostats, which offer an array of options that make it possible for users to confusingly misprogram their systems in various ways.

  2. Your DIY Thermostat Installation Went Awry

    If you have recently installed a new thermostat on your own, it is quite possible that the installation did not take as well as it appeared. Even if you followed the directions, there is a strong likelihood that certain adjustments are needed that can only be performed by an HVAC service specialist.

    Alternately, it is possible that the thermostat you chose is simply not compatible with your pre-existing heating system. Situations like these have become all-too-common as the market is flooded with fancy self-install thermostat kits that are incompatible with older household heating systems.

  3. The Date and Time Are Incorrect

    If you are not getting the temperatures you expect, the problem could be due to the day and time settings on your thermostat. Homeowners with programmable thermostats often go about not knowing that the hour and day settings are way off.

    For example, it might be 8 p.m. Sunday in your area, but your thermostat believes that the time is actually 1 p.m. Tuesday. Consequently, the thermostat thinks that you are at work instead of home reading a book. To save energy, the thermostat sets the temperature low. After all, you wouldn’t likely need the house warm during the afternoon of a typical workday.

  4. The Battery Is Dead

    When the date and time are improperly set, the issue often stems from dead batteries in the thermostat. Without battery power, the thermostat has to rely solely on the power supply of your house. Consequently, the thermostat settings will reset following a blackout or brownout, whereby the time and date default to 12 a.m. Sunday following a mid-week power outage. In some cases, a thermostat will dump its settings when the battery runs low.

    You could easily go several months not knowing that the time understood by your thermostat is four days and 18 hours behind the actual date and time in your area, all because of a dead battery. Meanwhile, that same period could see your heating bills increase as you crank the heat to overcompensate for the lack of warmth from your furnace.

  1. The Circuit Breaker Is off

    Some of the more complicated furnace issues involve the circuit breakers. A heating system will have one or possibly two or three different circuit breakers, any one of which could trip and cause the furnace to stop. For example, if the circuit breaker to the furnace is off, the furnace will not generate heat. Likewise, if the circuit breaker to the blower fan is off, warmth will not be spread from the heating coils.

    If tripped, circuit breakers should not be tested more than once. An issue of repeat tripping should be reported to an HVAC service person immediately.

  2. The Filter Is Clogged

    A clogged furnace air filter can cause two types of problems, one involving blocked airflow and the other concerning tripped shutoff functions. In some cases, the buildup of dust and debris can thicken to the point where the passage of warm air is blocked by the filter. Therefore, while it might seem as though the furnace is not blowing air, the only real problem is that the furnace needs a new filter.

    The second, more common problem that arises with clogged furnace filters is when the restricted airflow causes the furnace itself to overheat and trigger the system’s safety shutoff. Thus, while you are left with the impression that the furnace won’t blow heat, the furnace has actually overheated and stopped due to a clogged air filter.

  3. The Blower Fan Is Not Working

    If the furnace isn’t blowing air with any degree of warmth — and the thermostat settings, circuit breakers and air filter have all been ruled out as possible causes — the problem could stem from the blower fan itself. The function of the blower fan is to blow air across the furnace’s heating coils and disperse that warmth through the air ducts. If the blower fan stops working, you have a more serious problem at hand.

    You can test the blower fan by turning off the heat — or, depending on your system, setting the thermostat to “fan only” mode — and switching the fan from “auto” to “on.” Wait for a few minutes to see whether any fan breeze comes forth.

  4. The Limit Control Switch Is Damaged

    In a household heating system, the limit control switch — alternately known as the fan limit switch or furnace fan control switch — controls the automatic on/off functions of the heating coils and fan. If you turn your furnace off or the room becomes sufficiently heated to the point where there furnace halts automatically, the limit control switch shuts the blower off to save energy. Likewise, when the heating coils warm, the control switch kicks the blowers on to disperse the heat through your household air ducts.

    If your furnace does not seem to be working, the limit control switch could be responsible in one of two ways. If the furnace overheats, the control switch will shut off the system as a safety precaution. This could be due to an overheating issue but it could also stem from a misreading on the part of the limit control switch. In the latter scenario, you probably have a damaged limit control switch.

  5. The Heating Coils Aren’t Functioning

    Beyond any possible issues with the blower fan, the most serious problems with a furnace are those that stem from the heating coils. If the coils are faulty, no thermostat settings, clean filters or switch adjustments will do the trick. If you have ruled out all the previous possibilities and even replaced the limit control switch, only to find that the blower fan still switches off, there is something wrong with the heating coils.

    On the upside, your blower motor is working just fine, though the heating-coil problem will require maintenance from a professional HVAC service specialist.

What to Do If Your Furnace Doesn’t Blow Air

There are a few steps that homeowners can perform to determine the source of a furnace problem. If the issue is minor, it can sometimes be fixed singlehandedly. In other cases where serious problems are involved, professional service is necessary, especially when a gas furnace is not blowing air. In any event, check the following:

  1. Check the Thermostat

    Before you declare any serious problem with your furnace, check the settings on the thermostat to see whether everything is set to the desired modes and levels. Given the possibility that someone else in your household might have changed the thermostat setting, check to make sure that the thermostat is set to “heat” instead of “cool.”

    To test the quality of the heat itself, raise the thermostat temperature by five degrees and wait for the system to activate. Do you feel warm blowing air? If the batteries are old, replace them — remember, if the time or date settings are off, the battery is likely dead. Also, clear away dust from under the thermostat panel.

  2. Check the Air Filter

    The air filter is one of the more obvious parts to check since it is easy to see how a clogged filter would impede the flow of air from a furnace. In a sense, it is like the lint trap in a laundry dryer, which needs to be cleared between each usage cycle. With your furnace filter, do an inspection every three months and replace the filter if dirt buildup has taken hold.

    Prior to accessing the air filter, shut off the furnace and thermostat.

  3. Check the Gas Supply

    If you have a gas furnace, check the gas supply to see whether the fuel supply is sufficient. Also, check the gas valve to make sure that it is set to “on.” Every now and then, a gas valve is accidentally left off after a round of maintenance and others in the house are confused when the furnace does not work as expected.

    If you discover a gas leak, turn off the gas valve and all the switches to your heating system and report the issue immediately. Do not light any matches or lighters near the furnace. Gather everyone in your household and exit the premise until help arrives.

  4. Check the Pilot Light

    Pilot lights are used on older, pre-electronic ignition gas furnaces. If the pilot light fails to remain lit, the problem might stem from a clogged orifice, which can be poked clear with a small piece of wire. Before you try this step, turn off the furnace and shut off the circuit breaker.

    A failing pilot light could also result from a loose thermocouple, a weak flame setting or a faulty cutoff valve, all of which are problems that are best handled by an HVAC service professional.

  5. Call for Professional Service Maintenance

    Aside from simple remedies to minor furnace issues, the majority of problems involving a furnace are best handled by service professionals. At Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration, we have been servicing furnaces in northern Virginia households since 1998. We perform furnace repairs and replacements on a variety of heating systems.

At Oasis Heating, A/C & Refrigeration, we offer our services with competitive pricing and guaranteed quality. We also offer emergency service 24/7. Contact us today for help with your HVAC needs.

“Great timely service. Knowledgable and neat techs. Good value.”

“Would absolutely use their services again. Arrived on schedule.”

-Springfield, VA

*Last Updated 06/30/2021

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Why an Oversized Air Conditioner Is a Serious Problem

June 22nd, 2021

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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Identifying Your Home’s Heating System

June 16th, 2021

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

June 11th, 2021

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.

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What Size Furnace Do I Need?

June 1st, 2021

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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Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

July 2nd, 2020

The 4th of July will forever hold a very special place in the history of the United States of America. On this day in 1776, the second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence.

Not only is Independence Day an important day in our nation’s history, but for many people it is a day that is filled with memories from celebrations of years past. Fireworks, barbeques, baseball games, fairs, carnivals, patriotic music and ceremonies are all scattered through our memories as we’ve participated in annual parties, get-togethers, picnics and family gatherings throughout the years. John Adams, our 2nd president, was right when he said that our Independence Day “…ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

The 4th of July is truly a day to enjoy but also to remember and respect the sacrifice that many brave men and women made over 200 years ago to give us the freedom that we cherish today. However you celebrate Independence Day, make sure that you take a moment to remember what this day is really about.

We wish you a safe and happy 4th of July!

If you are off and have time for preventive maintenance, feel free to call Oasis Cooling services or fill out a contact form to schedule a service!

 

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Dealing With Indoor Allergies Using Your Air Conditioner

May 30th, 2020

Allergy Relief with Air Conditioning

You often hear about allergies in the Spring when everything is in bloom. However, allergens of some sort are present year-round. Many pesky allergens are found in our homes. When it’s hot outside, and you’re keeping your home’s interior shut off from the outside, this can actually be a time when indoor allergens are at their worst. Thankfully, you can use your air conditioner to find allergy relief for your indoor allergens. Here’s how.

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UV Germicidal Light Service in Burke, VA and Northern Virginia

May 26th, 2020

Ultraviolet (UV) light is a form of energy known as electromagnetic radiation. It comes from the sun and man-made sources. UV light is not visible to the human eye because it has a wavelength shorter than the light we can see. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation is a method that uses a type of UV light — UVC light — to kill a range of germs.

What Is UV Light?

Within the visible light spectrum, violet has the shortest wavelength of any color. Any light with a shorter wavelength than violet is called ultraviolet. There are three types of UV light:

  • Ultraviolet A (UVA) light: UVA light is also known as blacklight, and it’s the type of UV light with the longest wavelength. Some birds and insects can see UVA light.
  • Ultraviolet B (UVB) light: UVB light is the type that causes sunburns. Most of this light is absorbed by the ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Ultraviolet C (UVC) light: UVC light has the shortest wavelength of the UV light types and high energy. This form of light is also called germicidal and is used to disinfect air, water, food and laboratory equipment. The Earth’s atmosphere completely absorbs UVC rays, so they never make it to the surface.

Does UV Light Kill Viruses?

While all forms of UV light can inactivate various microorganisms on some level, UVC light is the most effective at killing germs, including viruses like the one that causes COVID-19. That’s why home or business owners may consider installing UV germicidal lights in their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. These lights kill virus particles that would otherwise pass through air filters.

How Does UV Light Work?

UV germicidal lights inactivate viruses by damaging their genetic material and preventing them from replication. A virus needs its DNA or RNA to infect other living cells. Without this material, it cannot invade a human cell and make copies of itself. UVC light has been used for decades to destroy viruses and disinfect surfaces, air and water.

Does UV Light Kill the Coronavirus?

Although there are currently no studies that prove UV germicidal lights can kill the coronavirus, scientists say it’s likely. UVC is known to destroy viruses related to SARS-CoV-2, or the virus that causes COVID-19. This also includes the virus that causes MERS.

Does UV Light Kill Other Germs?

UV germicidal lights can also destroy bacteria and mold. Although tiny particles like viruses and bacteria are more vulnerable to UVC light than large ones, germicidal lamps still have the power to kill mold spores. UVC light is especially effective when it’s combined with high-efficiency air filtration.

How Does HVAC UV Light Installation Work?

UV germicidal lights can be installed inside your HVAC system. These lights can help clean the air inside your home by killing harmful microorganisms such as mold spores, bacteria and viruses. At OASIS Heating, A/C & Refrigeration, Inc., we can install a UV germicidal light inside your HVAC ductwork or air handler, which will keep these organisms from spreading throughout your home.

Even if you have efficient air filters installed in your HVAC system — whether it is an electronic or mechanical air filter — they are not designed to kill bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. Filters can provide ultimate protection when installed alongside a UV germicidal light.

We can help you select the right combination to improve your indoor air quality and potentially reduce exposure to viruses, bacteria and allergens. We take the whole-home approach, so our indoor air quality experts may suggest other ways to eliminate pollutants.

UV Light Installation and Repair in Burke, VA

If you live in Ashburn, Springfield or Burke, VA, or the surrounding area and want to learn more about UV germicidal light installation and repair, we’re here for you at OASIS Heating, A/C & Refrigeration, Inc. We understand our customers are trying to protect themselves and their families during the coronavirus pandemic, and we want to help.

As an essential business, we are ready to help you create a comfortable home with clean indoor air. Our combined air purification and UV light systems can help prevent the spread of diseases during a future outbreak, trapping and killing viruses and bacteria that pass through your ductwork.

Our technicians are prepared to make a repair if anything should go wrong with your UV germicidal light system. From replacing bulbs to inspecting the equipment for other issues, we are equipped to resolve any issues you might have.

Contact OASIS Heating, A/C & Refrigeration, Inc. for UV Lights in Burke, VA

We are here to provide emergency solutions, new installations or answers to any of your questions. We can go over your options and help you select a model that works for you, and we won’t sell you something you don’t need. We take the time to make sure each job is done correctly, and we’re only satisfied when you are. Call today or contact us online to ask about our UV germicidal lights and services.

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