Now that we’re into the cold Minnesota winter, our attention turns to our trusty residential furnace repair or checkup. Is it really trusty? Will it break down at the worst possible time…say when you’re traveling, someone in your home is ill, or when you’re on a beach vacation unaware that your home has become a deep freeze?
“But what could possibly go wrong?” you ask. “My HVAC system isn’t very old. I’m sure it’ll operate just fine for one more winter. I’ll worry about it then.”
Or we may hear: “If it breaks, I’ll fix it.”
Really? We frequently get calls from folks who tell us, “I don’t know what went wrong. My friend fixed it for us, and he said he knows what he’s doing. Now we have no heat.”
You can almost envision this guy staring at his thermostat, scratching his head in disbelief. Did he know that by neglecting to use a trained technician, he may have voided the warranty on his equipment?
A friend is well meaning, but unless he has the training and knowledge of an expert HVAC technician, his good intentions are for nothing, and ultimately could cost you more in the long run. It would be like asking a heating and cooling tech to replace your roof.
What are the Top Reasons for Furnace Problems?
Clogged Dirty Filters – A dirty filter causes a furnace to work harder to circulate air. It could even bring damage to the limit switch, which controls the fan.
Wear and Tear – Everyday wear will build up and compound problems in airflow, heat control related issues and overheating. Periodical check-ups may spot worn components.
Lack of Maintenance – Ignoring the need to have your HVAC system inspected and maintained is a big mistake. Having a trained technician do a yearly check-up can reveal in advance any potential problems. This can also keep your system running efficiently, reliably and at a lower cost.
Malfunctioning Thermostat – This can lead to problems with the fan or comfort levels.
Electric Ignition or Pilot Control Issues – When not working properly, these could make it tough to heat a residence. There could be thermocouple problems, drafts or clogs affecting the pilot light or jets.
Not Enough Heat – The furnace may be undersized for the residence.
Problems With Fan – The fan has several components that, when left unattended, could render it useless. Regular check-ups can detect friction caused by dry ball bearings in the fan shaft. Or spot loose or bent fan blades, loose motor mounts, motor and electrical problems, worn fan belts and even frayed wiring.
The Burner – When it gets dirty and layered in dust, problems will develop, such as overheating. Lack of maintenance and cleaning allows the buildup to prevent the burners to light.
Cracked Heat Exchanger – (Pictured) A part of the furnace that houses looped coils filled with liquid to transfer the heat from gas, oil, electric or propane. The constant metal contraction and expansion from cool to hot can, over time, cause a rupture. But, this can also happen when the pressure is too high, caused by clogged filters or vents. Or rust from condensation. Again, a regular maintenance check-up can reveal ahead of time a pending problem.
How Much Can Furnace Repairs Cost?
Of course, the ultimate cost would be to replace an entire system, especially hard to take if caused by neglect. But even with the greatest of care, and a good yearly maintenance program, things wear out and break.
Many repairs are minimal. But you can do some things on your own to save money:
Change the Air Filters – Once a month is not too often, or heed the suggestions of your system manufacturer or HVAC technician. The higher the MERV rate, the better.
Thermostat – Be sure your thermostat has fresh batteries, especially if you are going out of town. See that the setting is on ‘Auto’. Otherwise, the fan could be running continually, causing it to wear out. Also, this will increase your utility bill.
Check Area – See to it that storage items are not stacked around your furnace. Check to see there are no leaks in the area, and take a look at vents and wiring. Have birds or squirrels built nests in outside vents?
Here at ABEL Heating & Cooling, we have technicians who have worked with us for years. One of them may already be familiar with your system. It is time to have them inspect your residential HVAC equipment to ensure that you’re set for the winter?
Call us at 952-472-COOL (2665) or Contact Us.