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Does Your Furnace Get You Frosted?

Your furnace can be finicky as it ages. But a little care and maintenance can restore it to good health…and reduce your monthly heating bill. Here are 6 tips to troubleshoot minor problems and ensure your furnace is functioning properly. Caution: do not attempt these tasks, or any maintenance of your furnace, if you are not completely confident in your knowledge of how your system operates.

If you need help from a professional heating company – and every home heating system will require the assistance of a professional at some point – contact A1 Drainage, Plumbing & Heating anytime, from anywhere in Metro Vancouver. As one of the most referred companies for Vancouver heating repair and installations, A-1 provides professional advice along with uncompromising service.

  1. Start with your thermostat. It may not be your furnace. The simple solution might be that your thermostat is set too low or is not working. Check that it's at the appropriate setting and that it is in heat mode. Try moving it up a few degrees to test it (listen for the furnace coming on). You could also try cleaning the thermostat, particularly if it's an older type with contacts that need to be cleaned regularly.
  2. Check your circuit breaker or fuse box. A blown fuse or broken circuit may sometimes be the problem for the furnace not working. For most homeowners this is an easy fix. For others, professional assistance may be required, especially if this is a continuing problem.
  3. Fix your filter. Your furnace requires airflow to keep it running efficiently and economically. To prevent burnout of your furnace parts we recommend inspecting your filter every other month and changing it every 6 months to a year. Most filters can be changed by simply opening the furnace's external rack or panel door and removing or sliding it out. It's time for a new one if you can't see through it. When you replace it make sure that it is installed in the correct direction.
  4. Inspect your vents. If you're not getting enough heat to some of the rooms in your home it may be because not enough warm air can pass through the vent and through the register in those particular rooms. Test by putting your hand over the register (heating vent). A more accurate test can be done by taping a garbage bag over it and counting the time it takes to inflate. If it takes over 10 seconds then there is a good chance your vents have a partial blockage (dust, child's toy, etc.). Lifting the vent grate and removing any noticeable build up may help. If not, your ducts may need a professional cleaning. Another problem is with ducts that have come apart or that leak. Repairing this should be done with the help of a professional that can inspect your system and offer the appropriate solution.
  5. It may be an annoying fan. A lack of warm air through your vents may also be a sign of an uncooperative fan in your furnace. Over time furnace fans may slow or become seized. The fan is a difficult piece of equipment to fix, even for a do-it-yourselfer, so it's best to bring in qualified repair technicians.
  6. It might be an outside job. Some furnace problems are caused by a blockage of the exterior venting. Do a quick inspection where your furnace vents to the outside (be sure it's your furnace vent) and see if any wood or household item has been placed over the vent. It may even be snow or ice causing the blockage during a long Vancouver cold spell. If this is the case, you should turn off the power to your furnace before clearing it away.

***It is not a minor problem if you smell gas! It is a rare occurrence, but it is possible you may smell gas coming from your furnace (most people compare it with the smell of a rotten egg). If you believe you have a leak immediately open all the windows and leave the house. Do not turn on any electrical switches. Once you are safely out of your home immediately contact a heating professional and your local gas provider.

Please contact A-1 if you have other tips on Vancouver furnace repair and maintenance to pass along.