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Your Guide To Furnace Troubleshooting

Before winter hits hard, you might want to consider testing your furnace to ensure it is running how it should. The last thing you want is for problems to hit when it’s too late, and the best way to find problems early is by having a professional service the heating system. Do this at least a few weeks before you expect it to be needed daily, and you won’t be left in the cold.

If you wanted to test the furnace yourself there are a number of things you can look for to know whether there are issues.

By understanding some of the most common furnace problems, you can be proactive and sort them out before it ends up costing a fortune.

Maintenance

Dirty filters: Dirty air filters will reduce your system’s airflow, which will run the furnace I overtime chewing up energy. Clogged filters can also damage your furnace’s limit switch.

Lack of maintenance: If you don’t maintain your system you are asking for trouble. Routine maintenance is the best thing for your system, and can pick up minor issues before they become major, and will ensure your system runs efficiently.

Pilot control and electric ignition or problems: A faulty pilot or ignition will make it very difficult to keep your home warm. Thermocouple problems, and blockages in the system can result in a failed pilot light.

The Thermostat

Thermostat settings: When your system’s blower fan cycles too much, or does not turn off at all, it could mean there are problems with your thermostat settings. Many issues can occur with thermostats, and one of the most common is that the settings are simply wrong.

Thermostat batteries: One of the simplest to fix, but hardest to fault find, is the batteries that run your thermostat. It’s sometimes the simplest issue that causes a major problem, and this is one of the most common. Check your temperature settings are correct to your desired temperatures.

Faulty thermostat: A faulty thermostat can lead to issues with the fan and more importantly, the temperature levels.

Other Faults

Complete furnace failure: If your furnace has problems with power, gas, the thermostat setting, or the pilot light, it can completely shut the system down.

The furnace doesn’t heat efficiently: If your system is too small for the space, or has a any of a number of issues like clogged filters, it may not heat the room efficiently.

Recurrent cycling: If your system is cycling between “On” and “Off” it could mean you have a blocked filter, bad airflow or a faulty thermostat.

The blower endlessly runs: Blower issues can indicate problems with your system’s limit switch.
Noisy furnace: Most systems are quiet, so if you hear any noises coming from your system it could mean there are mechanical, airflow or burner issues.

Pilot light blows out:
If your pilot light goes out, it could be an issue with a draft in the area. You will need to assess the area and ensure no drafts can affect the pilot.

Natural gas or propane issues

If you suspect there is an issue with the gas supply, turn off your supply and contact an emergency furnace repair specialist to ensure your home is safe, and any repairs are carried out as soon as possible.

If you have issues with your furnace that you cannot find, it’s always a better option to call a professional who knows what they are doing. Routine maintenance on your heating system will prevent expensive issues occurring when you need it the most.

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Things To Consider For Furnace Installation

Before winter arrives, you might be considering replacing your old furnace with a new system. Whether you’re upgrading from a system that doesn’t work anymore, or changing to a completely new style, you need to consider a number of things before you invest your money.

The most important thing you should do before purchasing a new furnace is of course, speak to a professional who can help decide what system will best suit your home. The configuration, sizing, age and the materials it is constructed from make a big difference to how the system is installed, as well as the size and type of system you should use to get the best results. Choosing the right system specifically for your home based on all the above factors will end up saving you long-term money by fitting a customized system based on efficiency.

The first thing you need to discuss with your professional installer is what type of fuel you should be using to get the best results. Gas, oil, electricity, geothermal or other eco systems running of wind and solar are all very popular options however if your home is not suited to a style because of location or accessibility, then you will be able to eliminate some options quickly with your HVAC specialist onsite.

The most common choice when installing a new system, is to install a new version of what was already installed throughout the home previously. This way any extra labor costs associated with electrical or ducting will be eliminated.

There are hundreds of brands to choose from, so it’s very important you research before deciding which brand to buy.

Average Prices for Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are the most frequently used furnaces in NJ, and can be converted to propane for minimal cost, if you prefer propane to natural gas. Conversion kits usually range between $25 and $100, making it a financially viable conversion option.

Average Gas Furnace Cost $1,215

Average Installation cost $2,370

Average Prices for Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces are less common in New Jersey; however they are a great option if your initial investment budget is low. However, by using electric, you will have a less effective unit, that will cost more to run than a gas system. When you are choosing an electric furnace, the brand you choose will make a huge difference. The premium brands will set you back more on supply, but will more than likely give you better efficiency.

Average Electric Furnace Cost $665
Average Installation cost $1,950

Average Prices for Oil Furnaces

Oil furnaces have been around for a long time, and are more common where oil supply is easy, however due to current oil prices, they are becoming less popular every year.

Installation of oil furnaces are higher, and the requirement for a massive oil tank in your yard or basement makes it less appealing compared to the simple gas or electric models.

Average Oil Furnace Cost $1836
Average Installation cost $5780

Green Furnace Options

Solar and geothermal heating systems are becoming more popular, however there are a few requirements of your home’s location that ensure these types of systems to work efficiently. If you are in a highly shaded area, in a valley, or amongst tall buildings or tall trees, chances are your green heating systems won’t work to the desired levels. Consult with your local experts before you decide whether an ecosystem will suit your home.

If you are in a great location there are several government rebates available for green alternatives, so it’s worth looking into. Prices for green furnaces are very broad, depending on the system that will suit your home.

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Should I Buy A New Furnace Or Repair My Old One?

If your old furnace is constantly breaking down and costing you money, chances are it might be time to upgrade. There isn’t much worse than having to repair an old furnace over and over again, and when you weigh up the costs of repair against a new one, it can leave you nothing but disappointed.

So, is it time for a new furnace for your home? A new furnace of course will cost you a bit in outlay. It will of course be a solid investment, because who likes to be shivering throughout the night? A new furnace, although costly to purchase, and costly to have installed, will save you money in the long run. If your current durance is aging, chances are even when it is running at its best, it might not be very economical or efficient, so installing a new one, with modern technology will save you more than any repair costs you can imagine in the next 5-10 years.

There are a few things you should consider before replacing however, and here are a few of the main ones.

Know whether to replace it or fix it

If you have had your furnace for more than three-quarters of its original life expectancy,it might be time to replace. If your furnace repairs cost more than one third of the replacement cost, it might be time to replace.
Most furnaces last around 15 to 20 years, so if yours is over 10 years old and it is staring to rack up the bills against its name, it might be time to move on.

How’s your efficiency?

If your system starts to cost noticeably more to run it might be time to replace. Efficiency should be very good if you keep it regularly maintained, so if you notice a big spike in your energy bills, there could be some issues that cannot be justifiably rectified with a repair that’s going to cost an arm and a leg. If you notice that the system does not heat like it should then there could be other underlying issues also. It doesn’t necessarily mean you must replace the unit though, because some of the easiest and cheapest repairs on furnaces can fix the issues with efficiency.

Are your ducts all in a row?

One of the most common reasons for an inefficient system is ducts that may have faults or broken ducts. Broken ducts can let warm air escape into the ceiling space, or rooms where it isn’t needed. If your ducts aren’t in good condition, you could be losing up to half of your heat unnecessarily.

Lower your heating requirements

One of the best ways to ease the strain on your furnace is by installing insulation into your home. Insulation can cut your furnace usage by up to half, lowering your bills, and the runtime of the system, meaning less maintenance and a longer furnace life.

How is your budget?

Replacing versus repairing your furnace can come down to the simple issues of what you can afford at the time it fails. Quality furnaces are not cheap, so replacing them will need a decent investment to ensure you are not in the same situation in a few years’ time.

The best way to find out whether your system needs replacing, or can be repaired for an affordable price, is to have a professional out to assess it and quote repairs vs replacement costs.