Fall Furnace Facts & Fiction

furnace start up air filterWe can probably all agree there’s a lot of information out there these days as it concerns just about anything. Whether it’s advice on how to grow vegetables or invest in the stock market, we can find feedback on everything now.

While it’s valuable to have such access, it’s important that we be able to trust what we find. The source and the information must both be credible and reputable. There are simply too many voices chiming in from too many places to always be able to determine what we can confide in.

As a community service provider that’s been serving Aurora, Oswego, Plainfield, Naperville and Lisle (IL) for a long time, here at Beery we have to be earnest and accurate in the guidance we share. It’s what keeps us going! We invest in our relationship with you by offering the best of our knowledge and experience to help you achieve comfort, safety and savings with your HVAC.

With that being said, we’ll briefly touch on separating some furnace facts from fiction this fall. And since we’re focusing on facts, we’ll also quickly review ways your furnace might be telling you it truly needs attention. So let’s get to it!

Fall Furnace Fiction: Your furnace doesn’t need maintenance every year.

Fall Furnace Fact: It should be cleaned and inspected each year.

Today’s furnaces are more efficient than ever, but they are still machines that work hard for extended periods when called upon. They also contain highly interdependent components. To help ensure proper operation and spot any potential problems before they cause real trouble, you should ideally schedule annual maintenance. Fall is a good time for it, before the real Illinois cold settles in. Keep checking the air filter as well!

Fall Furnace Fiction: You can set the thermostat extra high to heat the home faster.

Fall Furnace Fact: A high setting doesn’t heat the home any faster.

When it’s extra cold outside, some might set their therm to the upper 70s with the idea they can get warmer quicker. It’s not true. The furnace is always producing as much heat as it can while it’s running, and setting a higher temperature won’t speed it up.

Fall Furnace Fiction: You can heat more efficiently by closing vents in unoccupied rooms.

Fall Furnace Fact: Closing vents has the opposite effect.

The furnace distributes heat equally through the home, even when some vents are shut. Closing vents only makes the furnace work harder at its job. It also can change pressure in the ducts, which could cause other problems such as duct leaks or a damaged heat exchanger. Keep vents open to allow free airflow. If a room is too warm, close the vent slightly.

Fall Furnace Fiction: Keep an old furnace running for as long as possible – it’s better to repair than replace.

Fall Furnace Fact: An aging furnace will typically create increasing problems and costs.

With expenses being what they are these days, it’s understandable why a homeowner would want to keep an old furnace going with repairs instead of replace it. However, an old furnace that needs more repairs is straining itself while also heating the home with decreasing efficiency. This can lead to greater discomfort on top of higher utility bills.

On average, today’s well-built furnaces are made to last from 15 to 20 years if they are well-maintained. As a unit is getting up in years, one rule of thumb you can follow is to take the cost of the repair and multiply it by the age of the system. If the total exceeds the cost of replacement, you’re better off with a new furnace.

Furnace technology keeps evolving. In many cases, replacing a furnace with a new model at the right time for your home in Aurora, Oswego, Plainfield, Naperville or Lisle will provide you with better heating for less long-term cost.

Another thing to keep in mind is that having a high-efficiency furnace won’t help much if the home isn’t also optimized to stay warm. Doors and windows should be well-sealed, the ducts should be leak-free and the home should be properly insulated. The furnace also needs to be correctly maintained and the air filter needs to be changed regularly.

ENERGY STAR estimates that leaky ducts can result in up to 30% of all warm air lost by a furnace. If you ever suspect that your home isn’t heating as well as it could or should be, just give us a call at Beery!

Facts Your Furnace Might Be Trying to Give You

Now that we’ve cleared the air of some furnace fiction, let’s run through a few ways your heating system itself can tell you it needs attention.

Constant cycling. If your furnace is turning on and off a lot, it’s often the system saying that something is keeping it from completing a full heating cycle. It’s possible the fan motor is dying or the heat sensor is dirty.

Burner-flame color. If the flame is yellow when your furnace fires up, the burner is likely dirty, which means the gas isn’t fully burning off. This keeps the furnace from providing its optimal heat. Carbon monoxide also might not properly vent – an obvious hazard.

Moisture build-up. If any rooms have moisture on the ceilings, windows or walls, there might not be sufficient airflow in the home. Damp or stagnant air suggests a possible problem in the vents or the furnace itself.

Cold spots. Are some rooms colder than others when the furnace is on, even when all vents are open? Something is likely stopping the furnace from distributing warm air equally, or it can’t maintain the vent system’s push and pull for circulating the air.

These symptoms are tip-offs that it could be time for furnace inspection and maintenance. As always, just check in with Beery to chat about any facts your furnace might be trying to share. Fall is an ideal time for maintenance because of the milder temperatures.

Here for Answers and Service

Beery Heating and Cooling welcomes every opportunity to help keep homes safe and warm in Aurora, Oswego, Plainfield, Naperville and Lisle (IL). When it comes to facts about your furnace this fall, we’ll be here to discuss them with you. Just give us a call at (630) 585-6444!

Naperville, Aurora, Plainfield, Oswego and Lisle (IL) Furnace Fact

Furnaces are ancient technology invented by the Romans. Back then, they achieved central heating by heating air with fire in a space below the floor and sending it to upper floors through passageways. This was possible only in homes made of stone and, as you might imagine, was typically dangerous.