If your home heating system is on its last leg, now’s the time to consider a replacement. How do you choose from a furnace, heat pump or a hybrid system? Here are some basic facts about each one to help you figure out which is best for your home.
Home heating systems can stop working for a wide range of reasons, and none of them are welcome on a cold winter’s night. Some system breakdowns may be relatively easy to fix yourself. When you can’t fix it, any additional information you can pass on to a qualified service technician may help speed repairs. Start troubleshooting heating in these three primary areas.
Inspect Air Filters
Air filters frequently get dirty or clogged, and not just the filter inside the furnace. Check the furnace filter every month, and change it at least once or twice a year.
The cold air intakes and heat vents generally also have filters. Look at each individual filter; remove any large debris that may be caught in them, and change the filters if they’re clogged with dust. Ensure that all registers are fully open.
Confirm the Thermostat Works
Programmable thermostats need batteries to work properly, and they may not function properly if the battery is low. Check that the display lights properly and doesn’t show any battery warnings. Next, locate the breaker associated with the thermostat and make sure it’s turned on.
If you want to go into advanced thermostat troubleshooting, you can shut off the breaker and cross the two wires that serve the furnace. Flip the breaker back on. If the furnace fires, the thermostat is the problem.
Check the Furnace
The pilot light should be visible inside the heat exchanger on the furnace. If you don’t see a flame when the furnace is off, then you may need to re-light it. Pilots that don’t re-light properly may have a supply issue that a furnace technician needs to assess and fix.
If the pilot is on but doesn’t ignite the burners when the thermostat calls for heat, the ignitor is the likely culprit. Turn off the gas reset valve for at least five minutes, and then turn it on and try again. Call a technician if it still won’t light.
Contact us at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for more expert advice on troubleshooting heating concerns in your Route 495/128 area home.
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Before you install a new furnace in your Massachusetts home, you may have to decide between oil or gas as the fuel source, depending on where you live. Both gas and oil furnaces have advantages and disadvantages, and the following guide will help you determine which option may be best for your home.
Gas Furnace Pros and Cons
Natural gas furnaces are more efficient overall than oil furnaces, with AFUE ratings of 89 to 98 percent common today, as compared to modern oil furnaces, which have AFUE ratings of 80 to 90 percent.
Gas furnaces require less maintenance, with only one or two service visits needed annually, depending on the model, while oil furnaces require more frequent maintenance due to soot buildup and oil filter changes.
Gas furnaces also tend to be quieter and cleaner to operate, and natural gas costs as little as a third of the price per heating season.
On the other hand, gas furnaces tend to be more expensive than their oil counterparts, by up to 25 percent for the most efficient models, and your home must be located in an area that has natural gas service installed.
Oil Furnace Pros and Cons
Oil furnaces are convenient because they can be installed in remote areas that aren’t serviced by natural gas lines. The home heating oil is delivered as needed by a fuel company, and typically routine furnace maintenance is included as part of the delivery contract. Oil furnaces are less expensive than comparable gas furnaces, and they often produce more heat per BTU of fuel used.
The major disadvantages of oil furnaces include the requirement for on-site fuel storage and the higher expense of home heating oil per heating season. Oil isn’t as clean-burning as gas, requiring more frequent maintenance, and oil furnaces tend to be louder and less efficient than gas models.
For more information about the differences between gas and oil furnaces, talk to our home heating professionals at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ve served the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts since 1928.
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An oversized furnace isn’t a better furnace. Too much heat can actually make your living spaces less comfortable in winter, not more. It’s also wasteful from an energy efficiency standpoint, as well as a from a financial one.
In the past, residential furnaces were often “one-sized” rather than installed on the basis of an accurate load calculation of the actual thermal requirements of the home. To cover for the inevitable errors in this process, builders and contractors simply installed a furnace that was too big for the job. Many homeowners are stuck paying for these past mistakes.
Here are some of the ways an oversized furnace is bigger but not better.
Read More An Oversized Furnace Can Be a Costly Mistake >>
We’re poised for another long, cold, Massachusetts winter. The worst thing that could happen is for the furnace to break down, leaving you out in the cold. But don’t panic. It’s not the end of the world, and the problem may be just a quick fix. Before you call in an HVAC technician for repairs, here are a few common problems to help you in troubleshooting a gas furnace. Read More How to Troubleshoot a Problematic Gas Furnace >>
The first thing that may catch your eye when shopping for a new furnace is the sticker price. While the price is obviously important, the process of furnace selection requires more details regarding performance, efficiency ratings and lifetime costs of competing models to make an informed decision. Here’s what you should know about buying a new furnace for your Holliston home. Read More What a Holliston Homeowner Should Know Before Buying a New Furnace >>
A fall furnace inspection is a necessity to ensure that your heating system is running safely, reliably and efficiently this winter. If you’re like most homeowners, you rely on a skilled HVAC professional to tackle this vital maintenance that keeps your heating costs under control and catches small issues before they become expensive problems. Read More Fall Furnace Inspection: Don’t Delay >>
When you’re having a new furnace installed, consider adding supplemental furnace equipment at the same time. Doing this may save you money on additional service calls, and many types of additions make your furnace more energy efficient. Read More Upgrading Your Home Furnace? Supplemental Equipment to Consider >>
When your furnace gets too old or starts giving you headaches from breaking down or increasing energy bills, it’s probably time to start researching furnace installation options.
Before any furnace installation, you need to pick a furnace according to these three factors: Read More Planning a Furnace Installation in Your Holliston Home? 3 Points to Think About >>
Your furnace is one of those tricky contraptions that no one ever teaches homeowners about when they first move in. It’s often not until there’s an emergency that anyone takes notice. The truth is there are some basic maintenance tasks that you can do on your own to keep your furnace running in top shape. However, you should also know when to schedule professional maintenance to avoid any further damage. Read More What’s With the Furnace When It Blows Cool Air? >>