What is a gas furnace?
Before delving into the importance or having a furnace repair service, let's get an understanding of how residential gas furnaces work.
Cold air from inside the house goes through the cold air return duct, into your gas furnace. The heat exchanger inside the furnace burns gas through a gas burner which heats up the air. This heated air is sent back through supply vents back into the house.
In most home central heating systems, hot air distribution is done through a supply plenum that connects to the heat source and which distribute heat to various places inside the house through some connected ducts, that extends to these places in the house. A secondary component called the return planum draws cool air from inside the home through various ducts, to the Furnace. This air is then reheated and sent back through the supply plenum for delivery to different places inside the house.
Steps to take to ensure safe operation of your furnace
Here are some things you can do to improve the efficiency of your gas furnace which would help you save on your energy bill, extends the life of your furnace, ensure good indoor air quality, and ensure that the furnace is operating safely :
1) Get a furnace inspection: Have your furnace inspected once a year prior to the start of the winter. This will ensure that parts that need lubricating, tightening, alignment, cleaning or replacement, get inspected and serviced if needed. The inspection should include checking and performing maintenance if needed, on the Blower Motor, Pilot light and Burner. The Hvac Contractor should also inspect belts and other moving parts of the furnace.
2) Inspect your heat exchanger: Because the heating process by the furnaces' heat exchanger produces Carbon Monoxide which is a very deadly gas if present in the air. It is critical during inspection for the heating company to ensure that there are no cracks or leakage from the heat exchanger.
3) Install a Co2 Detector: Ensure that your home has properly functioning Carbon Monoxide detectors that would alert you to the presence of co2.
4) Make sure your Thermostat is working: Your gas furnace is controlled by a thermostat, which send signals(voltage) to your furnace to turn on the furnace when the temperature in your house gets below a certain degree, and to turn the furnace off when the degree you set is reached.
5) Replace your furnace filter: To increase the air flow and help improve the quality of the air circulated within the home, it is important to occasionally replace the Furnace filter. Cold air moving through the return duct might carry along impurities such as dust, pieces of papers etc. The filter prevents these impurities from entering the furnace blower. If this filter get cluttered with debris and dust, the air flow through the filter will be reduced, so replacing the air filter at least once a month or according to your system manufacturer's recommendation helps to improve efficiency. A technique you could employ to check if your air filter needs to be replaced, is to hold the filter under a light and if much of the light penetrates through the filter, then it is still good enough, but if the filter block most of the light, then it's time to have it replaced.
F) Adjust Damper in ducts to balance the air flow to difference areas within your home: Some ducts that are used for both heating and cooling have a setting for the cooling season that's different from the heating season. To account for seasonality in settings, the damper needs to be adjusted. Also, make sure that your ducts are insulated and that your duct connections are sealed with an aluminum tape to avoid heat leakage.
6 Most Common Gas Furnace Issues:
The furnace is on but there is no heat.
There is heat but the heat is not warm enough
Heating bill is too high
Smell of bad odor coming from the furnace
Furnace is very noisy
Furnace is blowing too much heat
No matter how much furnace maintenance your performed over the life of your furnace, there will become a time when you will need a furnace replacement.
Consider these tips when you need a new furnace.
When purchasing a furnace, don't just focus on the furnace cost and brand. Pay close attention to the furnace efficiency rating, which is a percentage that signifies the amount of gas a Furnace uses to heat your home, so for example, a furnace with a 95% furnace efficiency rating indicates that 95% of the gas it takes in is used to heat your home and the other 5% is released outside your home through your Chimney. It important to also consider the type of central heating system setup you have in your home, for example, gas furnaces require a gas supply line to be put in place to supply gas to the furnace, If your home does not already have this installed, you would need to install a gas supply before you can use a gas furnace, where as an electric furnace would not require installation of a gas supply because they pass current through heating coils and generate heat without combustion. Electric furnaces might be more costly on your monthly heating bill than a gas furnace.
Although Furnaces with high efficiency ratings cost more to purchase, and in some cases might have a higher furnace repair cost, you should put into consideration the saving in your monthly utility bill due to the high efficiency. Your furnace might not be the only consideration when it cost to your heating cost consideration. Your central heating system ducts that carry heat to different places within your home needs to be considered too, because you could possibly be losing air through leaks in your ducts thus incurring a highly heating bill. Ducts connections should be sealed to prevent leaks. Insulating ducts can also help you prevent energy lost and save you money in your heating bill.
How much does a furnace service cost
Furnace tune ups are typically not expensive, but if you do happen to need a furnace repair or replacement, the cost would considerably be higher, due to the fact that there are generally steps that needs to be taken to isolate a particular issue, since most hvac contractors charge an hourly rate of about $100 - $200, the longer it takes to figure a problem out, the more expensive the cost to the homeowner will be. Due to the safety risk furnaces can post, a hvac contractor must analyze a system correctly to try and narrow down a problem with the system. Some hvac problems can be simple enough that the issue can be quickly detected by the Contractor, but some Hvac issues can take time to detect. A good furnace repair contractor must not rush a service because it can lead to inaccurate analysis which could then lead to not properly resolving the issue or worse, damaging the system, thereby leading to more costly repairs for the homeowner. It also poses a danger to the homeowner
Since most Hvac Contractors charge by the hour, make sure you ask the contractor you plan to hire, if they have experience with the type and brand of furnace that needs service. Familiarity with the furnace and how it operates, will help the Contractor quickly identify what is it that the system is supposed to be doing, that it's not doing, which would then help the contractor focus on the part of the system that's not functioning as expected to try and narrow down the problem. Find Top Hvac Contractors near you for all your furnace replacement or repair needs