How To Fix a Furnace
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Gas Furnace Flame Not Visible
If your gas furnace has a pilot light, try adjusting the flame height until it is 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall and contains no yellow color by turning the flame adjustment screw as instructed in your owner’s manual.
Your pilot light’s orifice may be clogged; turn off the power and gas supply, then take a thin wire and push it through the pilot light orifice to remove any debris which may have accumulated.
If your furnace has an electronic ignition, turn down the thermostat and then turn it up five degrees above the current room temperature to reset the switch. Listen for the sound of a spark and/or watch for the glow of the ignitor.
My Furnace Isn’t Producing Enough Heat!
Check your air filter. A dirty or clogged air filter forces your furnace to work inefficiently and can reduce the amount of heat you receive in each room.
Make sure all of your registers are wide open and unobstructed from objects within each room.
Adjust the thermostat five degrees higher than the current room temperature to determine whether your unit is still malfunctioning. If you still aren’t receiving enough heat, call a furnace technician.
My Furnace is Running But I Feel No Warm Air
Turn off the power and gas supply to your furnace, then open up the door which provides access to the furnace unit. Check the belt that connects the furnace motor to the blower; if it is broken or worn, write down the exact number stamped on the belt.
Next, visit your local hardware store and purchase the appropriate replacement belt based on the information you have written down.
Replace the belt by slipping it on the smaller motor pulley first, then rotating the pulley until you can slip the belt over the larger blower pulley. If you need more slack, loosen the motor mount, then re-tighten it once the belt is in place.
If instructed in your manual, oil the bearings in your furnace motor and blower.
My Furnace Blower is Constantly On!
Check the settings on your thermostat. If the “Fan” setting is “On”, switch it over to “Off” or “Auto”. If this is not the issue, you’ll need to check the limit switch.
The limit switch is designed to shut off the furnace when the plenum reaches a certain temperature. With the help of your owner’s manual, adjust the lower pointer of the switch to around 90 degrees F and the upper pointer to around 115 F.
My Furnace Keeps Making Noises
Tighten any screws contained within the furnace cabinet to reduce rattling sounds from the area.
If you hear squealing, turn off the power and gas supply, then check the belt between the motor and blower. With the help of your manual, adjust, realign, or replace the belt if you discover a problem.
Grinding noises are a sign that your furnace motor has worn bearings and should be replaced. Contact a furnace technician for assistance.
My Oil Burning Furnace is Malfunctioning
Make sure your unit has power by checking any appropriate electrical cords/outlets and verifying that the circuit breaker has not been tripped.
Check the air filter and clean or replace it if it is dirty or in otherwise poor condition.
Replace the thermostat if your furnace is relatively new and/or has suddenly stopped working with no apparent or logical reason, particularly if you suspect it is the cause of the problem.
Verify that the flame sensor is not signaling your unit to turn off with the aid of your owner’s manual.
You may need to contact a furnace technician, as oil burning units are challenging to repair.
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Advances in technology have permeated nearly every aspect of modern day life and have significantly increased the efficiency of today’s best HVAC products.
The ability to program and adjust your air conditioner, boiler, water heater and more from a distance directly through your smart phone can increase the comfort level within your home while adjustable motor speeds take operating efficiency to the next level.
This increased efficiency translates into a smaller carbon footprint and significant cost savings which will often pay for your new high tech HVAC unit within the first few years after purchase. Here we present our review of the very best HVAC products for 2017.
Hybrid Water Heaters
Hybrid water heaters such as the Professional Prestige® Hybrid Electric model are designed to operate in an energy saving heat pump mode as much as possible while still providing an impressive output of hot water by maintaining a back up standard electric heating connection.
The Prestige model offers the following benefits:
- Delivers a larger volume of hot water more quickly than similar sized fully electric models and can be programmed to function in energy saving, high output, or even vacation mode.
- Easy to adjust units which feature LCD screens and WiFi compatible computerized sensors which allow you to communicate with your water heater through your smart phone from any location.
- The availability of three different sizes ranging from a 50 to 80 gallon capacity to meet the needs of every household.
- The best warranty in their class with tanks and associated parts being covered by the manufacturer for a full 12 years.
- Efficiency levels that are so much higher than traditional electric models that they typically pay for your new unit through energy savings in as little as two years.
Homeowners can expect to save as much as $4000 over their hybrid water heater’s lifetime.
Air Conditioners Which Utilize Inverter Technology
Some of today’s best air conditioners, including Rheem’s Prestige™ Series Variable-Speed Air Conditioners, utilize inverter technology to increase indoor comfort and decrease energy usage within your home.
Homeowners interested in upgrading to one of these units will enjoy the following:
- Variable motor speeds which continuously adjust to maintain a greater level of comfort and efficiency when compared to standard single stage A/C units. In much the manner as your vehicle which operates in different gears at different speeds, inverter technology adjusts the motor speed to ideally meet the cooling needs within your home moment to moment.
- Greater humidity control and enhanced indoor air quality due to reduced on and off cycling which maintains a more consistent rate of air flow.
- An overdrive feature that allows the interior of your home to remain comfortable even when outdoor temperatures are as high as 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Compressors which are long lasting, durable, and utilize 70 percent fewer moving parts than standard models. Fewer moving parts allow for quieter operation and better airflow which leads to greater efficiency.
- A full ten year warranty on parts and a conditional ten year warranty on the main compressor unit.
- Efficiency ratings as high as 20 SEER and 13 EER. This translates into an average of $3270 in lifetime savings and eliminates the need to fiddle with your thermostat – just let the inverter technology adjust the motor automatically for the most efficient operation possible.
Modulating ECM Boiler Pumps
Stainless steel heat exchange units such as the Prestige Trimax Solo models provide homeowners one of the most energy efficient means of heating the air and water within their homes. Enjoy the following advantages when you choose to upgrade:
- ASME certified and Energy Star listed units which operate in either natural gas or propane modes.
- Easy to install and space saving wall mountable units.
- Modulating technology which adjusts the speed of the motor to provide an improved level of comfort within your home. ECM, or electronically commutated motors, can alter the firing rate of the boiler down to as little as 25 percent of full capacity, reducing the number of on/off cycles and saving you money on your heating bills.
- Digital control panels that allow you to adjust and control up to four circulators. Create different temperature zones within areas of your home and/or use your boiler to generate ample hot water for your entire family through an easy to program home screen.
- Efficiency ratings as high as 95% AFUE along with quiet operation and a greater water volume when compared to other units in the same class.
NTI Modulating Boilers
NTI manufactures top of the line of modulating boilers and is recognized as one of the industry’s most innovative producers of hydronic heating units. These boilers can save you money and increase indoor comfort with the following advantages:
- An average fuel consumption that is 40 percent lower than conventional furnaces. In addition to greater efficiency, NTI boilers create more comfortable indoor conditions by eliminating cold pockets and blowing air.
- A full line of residential products capable of heating both the interior of your home and water for your family. Fuel source options include propane, natural gas and wood and units vary in size to accommodate every home.
- Units which are floor or wall mountable and provide efficiency ratings as high as 97% AFUE.
- Modulating technology which adjusts the motor speed to provide more continuous operation of your boiler unit. Fewer on/off cycles translates into significant energy savings, particularly when your boiler is used to heat both indoor air and domestic hot water.
A Selection of the Best HVAC Products Along With Professional Technicians
When it comes to obtaining the best results from a new piece of HVAC equipment, working with knowledgeable, professional technicians is just as important as purchasing top of the line products. HVAC professionals must be properly trained in order to install your new unit exactly as recommended by the manufacturer and should be available to answer any questions you may have and provide maintenance services as needed.
At JC Heating & Cooling, you can rest easy knowing you are working with one of the most trusted HVAC companies in the Chicago area. We stock some of the best HVAC products on today’s market and are available for 24/7 emergency service calls for those unexpected events.
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Keep in min, JC Heating & Cooling provides their services in the following:
- Air Conditioner Repair in La Grange, IL
- Air Conditioner Repair in Western Springs, IL
- Air Conditioner Repair in Burr Ridge, IL
- Air Conditioner Repair in Hinsdale, IL
- Air Conditioner Repair in Glen Ellyn, IL
- Air Conditioner Repair in Wheaton, IL
- Air Conditioner Repair in Elmhurst, IL
In classical adaptations of popular stories derived from the ancient world of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, the epic and characteristic depiction of power is shown through a beautiful slave using a palm branch as a fan to comfort the patricians and other upper class society members.
Is that what constituted HVAC industry at that time? An attractive, half naked slave with a palm in his or her hand? We would assume the population established a certain kind of heating and cooling system for their households in order to survive through harsh winters and hot habitats.
Because research seems to be the part of our company’s philosophy, we decided to intrude on the past of HVAC industry, looking deep into the history of heating and cooling by starting with the basics!
Ancient Climate Control
Ancient Egypt is beyond what we call fascinating! From the mistery of pyramids and great pharaohs’ tombs all the way to architecture and daily lives of the society. And house construction is the fundamental notion when it comes to bringing the slightest comfort to the household, which is far from the luxuries we are so used to today.
According to Salima Ikram, a professor of Egyptology at the American University of Cairo, a field archeologist, and the author of Ancient Egypt: An Introduction, houses and palaces of ancient Egypt were extremely simple due to the fact that Egyptians regarded houses as temporary structures.
However, as austere and primitive as mud and clay building materials might be, the thick mud-brick walls played a key part in insulation, maintaining cool air during summer and warmth in winter. We haven’t forgotten about the famous palm branches – they decorated the roof and insulated the house as substantially as the mud.
Steven Semiatin, a writer for History Magazine, evaluates certain ways people handled weather throughout ages, way before the rise of luxurious HVAC industry. When King Tut died in the 14th century BC, his tomb was filled with profusion of treasures, such as jewels and gold, along with… fans made out of ostrich feathers.
Zhou emperors of China demonstrated another creative thinking by employing about 100 servants, whose assignment required placing blocks of ice around the throne and waving wide fans to caress the emperor with cool breeze.
It is worth mentioning the inventions of Ancient Romans, who developed technique of pumping aqueduct water into pipes placed behind the walls of homes (Semiatin, 2011). This intelligent structure allowed for sufficient heat reduction.
Ancient Rome may unquestionably be called the mother of advanced radiant heating system, as one of the first such innovations designed by Sergius Orata began its career in about 80 B.C. However, the very first, yet not as sophisticated, radiant panel systems were introduced in Middle East, where King Arzawa installed the system in his palace in Turkey in about 1300 B.C.
The years between 1500s and 1600s are characterized by revolutionary initiative, where French mines used ventilating machines constituted of multiple fans and blades. Domestic chimneys became widely introduced to American homes by European pioneers.
In the year of 1758, Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley conducted an experiment, which focused on testing evaporation. The two scientists observed that evaporation in volatile liquids can change the temperature of a desired object past freezing, which led Franklin to say, “From this experiment, one may see the possibility of freezing a man to death on a warm summer’s day.”
Heating and ventilation were not much behind in the process of innovations and inventions. During that time, Fahrenheit constructed the very first mercury thermometer, as well as Franklin’s steam heating system, or what is currently known as a stove. James Watt, a Scottish mechanical engineer, became known to the public as the steam engine inventor along with other significant and contributing developments that greatly improved the entire concept of technology and masterminding.
In North America, probably the earliest stove had been invented by Dr. John Clarke in 1652, a design known as a cast iron box stove.
According to achrnews.com, throughout the 1800s stoves went through major revolutions including the base burner stove designed by Eliphalet Knott and airtight stove invented by Isaac Orr. In 1849, F.P. Oliver invented the first thermostatic stove
Beginnings Of Modern A/C Units
Multiple inventions within this time frame preceded the beginnings of first comfort air conditioning system, which was designed in 1902 by Alfred Wolff (Cooper, 2003) for the New York Stock Exchange, while Willis Carrier equipped the Sacketts-Wilhems Printing Company with the process AC unit the same year. According to pbs.org, Willis Carrier was an engineer, who forever changed the face of America in terms of climate control.
Patenting air conditioner impacted various environments and workplaces, improving productivity as well as building design, ultimately leading to cities’ growth. Carrier performed experiments that resulted in improved heater design, and the above-mentioned humidity controller for a printing company, which passed air through a filter and over coils containing a coolant – a popular design used today.
Process air conditioning (Cooper, 2003) started to grow rapidly in overcrowded places, such as theaters, schools, factories, or auditoriums. Stuart Cramer, who was a believer in new technology, coined the term “air conditioning” in 1904, which led to delivering a speech at the annual conference of the American Cotton Manufacturers Association in 1906 in regards to “Recent Development in Air Conditioning”.
The first in-home air conditioning system was installed in a Minneapolis mansion in 1914. The machine was seven feet tall and twenty feet long. According to popularmechanics.com, the mansion belonged to Charles Gates, and the machine is believed to be never used because no one has ever lived in the house.
Balaban and Katz succeeded in launching a chain of motion picture theaters, as stated by Encyclopedia of Chicago, and much of their triumph in achieving the highly prosperous industry of film was due to taking advantage of new technological growth. A smart strategy was implemented in 1917, when Balaban and Katz installed the comfort air conditioning in Central Park Theater in Chicago (Cooper, 2003).
Despite the evolutions of HVAC systems throughout ages, the major expansion of air conditioning systems in homes and office buildings happened within the period of post-World War II building boom (Cooper, 2003). Around the time of 1953, construction builders included air conditioning in most of their projects (residential homes and offices), since the decision of a cooling system installation was not up to an individual consumer.
Central air conditioning systems were popularized in 1970s. However, most newly built homes during late 1960s were already highly equipped with the cooling system available at that time, including affordable window air conditioners.
Ever since the boom of HVAC industry in 1970s, mainly air conditioning system, lawmakers passed laws related to reduction of energy consumption. Although central air conditioners are still a luxury in most developing countries, it is hard to imagine surviving hot summers in a house not equipped with this valued (or undervalued) comfort. HVAC industry is a profession constantly searching for improvement and opportunity for growth. Advances in technology make the designs more convenient to fit specific needs of households across America. And all thanks to a few ambitious engineers with a desire to experiment, invent, and bring comfort.
Since the founding of JC Heating and Cooling in 1997, we manage to keep our customers satisfied with the exceptionally high-quality products available on the market. It is part of our customer service philosophy. This is why we pride ourselves on these three business model aspects: Quality, Honesty, and Integrity.
Why We Stick With Warmboard?
Because of our constant focus on customer satisfaction, JC Heating and Cooling chooses the leading product based on features, benefits, and cost. Warmboard radiant floor heating system has been proven as our number one choice. Despite the ease of installation, Warmboard offers detailed manuals and step-by-step technical support to make the process even quicker and more efficient. They bring great customer care to our company in order for us to fulfill your needs with immediate response and reaction time provided by our trained and professional team.
Why Should You Choose Warmboard?
Warmboard offers even and consistent distribution of heat throughout the floor, avoiding cold spots that many homeowners so often complain about. Due to its general excellence of standard, Warmboard is among the top energy efficient products available, where it significantly cuts down the energy use in your household. Talk about major savings!
Warmboard is compatible with various flooring types, including carpet, tile, or stone. And one of the best features is the quick response time, where the system heats up in minutes without delays.
Make smart choices when shopping for a high-quality product that is designed to stay with you for a long time. We did.
Unfortunately, the majority of cooling system problems become apparent when the unit is at its greatest use during hot summer weather.
If you are a do it yourself minded homeowner, this situation presents an opportunity to troubleshoot your whole house air conditioning or heat pump unit without having to call a professional.
Although you won’t be able to complete every aspect of air conditioner maintenance and/or repair, in many cases, you can have your unit up and running by performing basic maintenance procedures followed by possible replacement of a few key components that are often the first to fail on any whole house cooling system.
Troubleshooting Starts With the Primary Problem
When troubleshooting an air conditioner, first determine what the primary issue seems to be.
Perhaps you’ve been noticing that your home is not particularly comfortable on hotter days, or that the amount of airflow exiting your ductwork is lower than normal.
In some cases, your unit may fail to turn on at all. With this very simple starting place, you can begin searching step by step for whatever problem is keeping your cooling system operating poorly.
When Your Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On…
Coming to the realization that your air conditioner won’t turn on doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in for a big repair bill. Check your thermostat as outlined above, then look for a tripped a breaker in your circuit box.
If you’ve completed the maintenance procedures previously mentioned, are certain that your thermostat is set correctly, and have verified that your cooling system is receiving power but you still can’t get the unit to turn on, you may be dealing with the failure of one or more small parts responsible for proper electrical connections within your system.
The contactor and the start/run capacitor(s), both located within the exterior portion of your cooling system, are inexpensive items that can be replaced by do it yourself minded homeowners comfortable working with wiring. Complete the procedure with the following steps:
1. Purchase the appropriate contactor
Purchase a replacement contactor and the appropriate number of start/run capacitors at a local appliance store, furnace dealer, or online. You will need your unit’s make, model, and serial number to ensure you receive the correct part.
2. Use a multimeter to check the fuses
Located within the exterior shut off box attached to your air conditioner AFTER you have completely shut off the power to your HVAC system.
Any numerical reading on your meter indicates the fuse(s) are still good, but a zero or negative reading means they need replacement. Don’t assume that replacing a blown fuse is the answer to your troubles; fuses tend to blow when one or more parts require replacement. If, after completing the following repairs, you continue to blow fuses, it’s time to contact a professional technician.
3. Locate and inspect the unit’s access panel
By following the electrical conduit that leaves your house and leads to the exterior compressor/condenser. Remove the panel, then inspect for any nests or chewed wires; if you feel comfortable, you can clean and/or repair any damage caused by rodents or other pests.
Be sure to discharge the start/run capacitor first by creating a short with an insulated screwdriver between the two terminals of single mode capacitors, or between the “H” and “C” terminals followed by the “F” and “C” terminals on dual capacitors.
4. Replace the old capacitor
By using needle nose pliers to move the wires from the old capacitor to the new one, one at a time, AFTER you have discharged the old unit. Make sure the wires are tight, then secure the new capacitor with the bracket screw.
5. Replace the old contactor
In the same manner as the capacitor, moving the wires from the old to the new component, one at a time. Check for tightness and secure the new part.
6. Replace the access panel door, power up your unit and hope for the best!
Improved Airflow Leads to Greater Efficiency
Air conditioners that are operating at less than their optimal level of efficiency tend to have a difficult time keeping any home comfortable. Maybe you have noticed that your system has gradually become more sluggish and just can’t keep up with the hottest weather conditions.
By completing the following troubleshooting and maintenance steps which focus primarily on improving the airflow of your unit, you can often increase the efficiency of your system dramatically. These procedures are also recommended as preventative maintenance and will extend the lifespan of your HVAC equipment:
1. Check your thermostat
This may seem obvious, but the first place to start anytime your home is not comfortable is at the thermostat itself. Make sure the unit has fresh batteries and is set to “Cool” with the fan set to “Auto” or “On”, then verify that you have properly entered the desired temperature.
Bear in mind that a poorly located thermostat can cause your air conditioner to stop running prematurely or keep running far beyond what is desirable; consider moving your unit if it is located in direct sunlight, near a hot stove or a register vent, or if you’ve recently completed a remodeling or add on home improvement project.
2. Change your air filter
If you haven’t been changing your air filter every 30-60 days, you may be taxing the motor on your A/C unit, causing a drop in efficiency. A clogged filter restricts airflow, significantly reducing your air conditioner’s ability to cool your home.
3. Remove debris from the exterior compressor/condenser
Begin by completely shutting off the power to your HVAC system; flip the appropriate switch(es) not only at the main breaker box but also at the exterior shut off box which should be located near the exterior portion of the system.
Once your unit is safely powered off, remove the fan cage from the top of the compressor/condenser with the help of a screwdriver and/or wrench. You can then remove any leaves or other debris from the inside of the unit with your hands or a wet/dry vacuum.
4. Clean the fins from the inside out
With the fan cage still removed, use a garden hose to clean the fins of your unit from the inside out, dislodging any debris. If water alone is not enough to fully clean the fins, a commercially available cleaner can be used to aid the process.
5. Straighten bent compressor fins
Since proper airflow is critical to optimal functioning of your air conditioner, any bends in the fins of the exterior portion of the system should be carefully straightened with the help of a special straightening tool.
You can complete this step with a butter knife, but use extra care not to puncture the metal as the narrow tubing contained within is easily damaged.
6. Create at least two feet of clearance around the unit
Take away leaves and debris and keep grass cut low to allow proper airflow on all sides of your unit.
7. Cover the refrigerant lines with insulating sleeves
Make sure the two copper pipes responsible for the movement of refrigerant in and out of your home are properly insulated with foam sleeves for maximum efficiency.
8. Check the level of your air conditioner’s outdoor component
Because concrete slabs can sink and shift over time, your air conditioner’s exterior component may no longer be level. Unless you have a heat pump which should gently slope away from your home to direct winter defrost away from your foundation, using shims to bring your unit back to level will improve its efficiency and lengthen its lifespan.
9. Change your system’s blower filter
Above and beyond the regular monthly replacement of the more easily accessible air filter(s) located behind your system’s central air return register(s), many HVAC systems also utilize a separate filter located inside the air handler’s blower compartment.
This filter should be changed twice per year or more often in dusty locations. Purchase a new filter with the same “MERV” rating as the old one, being careful to align the filter in the proper direction. This is not a good location to use a “HEPA” or other air purifying type of filter, as they have a tendency to reduce airflow.
Once you have completed the checklist above, it’s time to power your air conditioner back on and check for improvements. Be patient when waiting to hear your unit click on; some systems are designed with a 10 or more minute delay after being switched off.
If, after 30 minutes have passed, your air conditioner still isn’t performing well, you can assume you have yet to discover the root cause of the problem.
Maintenance For the Interior Components of Your Air Conditioner
In addition to regular replacement of air filters, additional indoor components of your cooling system require periodic maintenance.
When airflow is significantly blocked, for example, the evaporator coil located within your air handler may ice over; turning your thermostat to “Off” but leaving the fan switched to “On” should correct this issue in short order, assuming you’ve already improved the overall airflow of your system.
Evaporator coils themselves benefit from periodic cleaning with a soft brush and a commercially available spray on, no rinse product. As before, be sure to cut the power to your air conditioner before attempting to clean the coils!
This is also a good opportunity to check for puddling in the drain pan that lies beneath the evaporator coil, as poor cooling can also be caused by a clogged drainage line. Follow the drain line to wherever it exits your home, then use a wet/dry vacuum held against the end of the tube with duct tape for several minutes to remove algae or other growth that my be clogging the pipe.
Do It Yourself Minded Homeowners Save Time and Money
Provided you use care when completing the above procedures, you have a good chance of improving the overall efficiency of your air conditioner or of getting it up and running again.
Proactive do it yourself homeowners will not only appreciate significant financial savings but are likely to benefit from faster results by eliminating the wait time for a technician to arrive.
When All Else Fails, Call In a Pro
If you have completed the steps listed above and still don’t have an A/C unit that is functioning efficiently, it may be time to contact a professional HVAC technician.
You may be dealing with a refrigerant leak or a problem with the compressor or the evaporator coil. Take heart in knowing that you’ve already completed a significant portion of maintenance and repairs, meaning your service call will be streamlined to cover only those issues that simply have to be handled by a pro.