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7 Signs a Furnace Repair Is in Your Future

Winter tree scene

7 Signs a Furnace Repair Is in Your Future

Here in Michigan, we’re used to—and even fiercely proud of—our ability to withstand even the recent tough winters.

Of course, that point of pride only holds true when we get to come in from the cold into our warm and cozy homes! The last thing any of us want is unexpected furnace issues that let the biting chill into our safe space, especially on the coldest days of the year.

But how can you tell when it’s time to call for help maintaining your system? Here are seven signs you may need furnace repair to keep your home nice and warm this winter.

Winter tree scene

1. Low or No Heat

If your home is feeling a little chillier than normal, it may not be just the winter weather.

A lack of proper indoor heating can happen for a number of reasons, and it’s always worth ruling out thermostat issues before you look for other possible culprits. However, if your furnace seems to be the issue, it’s a clear sign that you’ll need to do a little maintenance of your own. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to start searching “furnace repair near me” before you find yourself in the middle of one of Michigan’s infamous cold snaps.

One common reason for less heat production is leaking ductwork, which allows warm air to escape—in addition to wasted money on your heating bill. However, you’ll need to reach out to an expert who can diagnose your specific issue.

2. High Heating Bills

Speaking of your utility bills, one of the clearest signs of furnace problems is an unexpected spike in the cost of heating your home. Spikes in your heating costs often indicate that your furnace is working extra hard to heat your home.

If your furnace is an older unit, it may be approaching the end of its lifespan—meaning you’ll want to swap it out for a modern, more efficient model. However, if you have a newer furnace, you’ll want to see if a technician can fix the issue instead. Your furnace repair cost will be minor in comparison to the high costs of an inefficient system!

3. Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Your home furnace should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector that sounds an alarm in the presence of toxic gas. If your detector goes off, you’ll want to open the windows of your home to ventilate the area, and you’ll also need to turn your furnace off right away.

If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector installed, make sure to keep an eye out for increasing flu-like or cold symptoms that spread quickly through everyone present.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious danger for anyone in your home, even in small concentrations, so take steps to reduce your exposure as much as possible. As soon as you can, reach out to an expert for gas furnace repair to identify the source of the carbon monoxide.

Foggy winter forest

4. An Aging Furnace

On average, a furnace will last anywhere from 15 to 20 years with proper care and maintenance. Older units, however, show more frequent signs of disrepair as they age. If you’re not sure how old your furnace is, you can often find out by checking the stickers and labels attached to the unit, or by checking any records you acquired when you bought your home.

If you have an older furnace in your home, you’ll want to opt for more frequent maintenance to avoid unexpected repairs. You may also want to consider springing for an efficient ENERGY STAR model in the future, as these models can often lower your energy bills in the long-term.

5. Strange Noises

Hearing unusual sounds is never a good sign, no matter what appliance you have in mind. Even if your furnace seems to be running as normal, it’s a good idea to have a professional check it out. Listen for squeaks, clicking, grinding, or popping, all of which may indicate movements that disrupt your system.

Catching unusual issues early can lead to simple fixes that avoid the need to solve more complex problems in the future.

6. Poor Air Quality

Your furnace filter clears away dirt, bacteria, and other airborne particles from your home, so it’s important to change it on a regular basis. However, if you’ve done a recent change and you’re still noticing air quality issues, it may be a sign that your furnace needs repair.

Be on the lookout for a few clear signs, like the need to dust furniture more often, frequent colds and respiratory ailments, and headaches or watery eyes. Alternatively, you may notice that the air is drier than usual, which may indicate an issue with your furnace’s humidity control. Whatever the case, you’ll want to reach out to a professional to see what can be done to fix the issue.

7. Changes in the Pilot Flame

Your gas furnace should always have a blue pilot flame. If you notice that the color changes, or if you see that the flame is weak and flickering, it may be a sign that repair is needed.

In some cases, the gas may not be vented properly, or your system may be dirty or have blockages. Either way, a furnace repair company can find the cause and fix the problem to get your system running good as new.

Contact Our Team for Expert Furnace Repair

When it comes to keeping your home warm and cozy, our team has what it takes. If you’ve noticed any of the signs above, or if you’d like to schedule regular maintenance to ensure that your system is running smoothly, we’d love to help. Reach out to us today for your furnace repair or replacement needs, and our service professionals will help you avoid unexpected future issues with your system.

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Put your HVAC system at the top of your spring cleaning to-do list.

Spring Cleaning your HVAC system may not be at the top of your priority list.  But, it has several advantages, including extending the life of your equipment, cheaper energy bills, increased home comfort, and improved indoor air quality.  When the seasons change, it is time to start your spring cleaning!  Why not include your Central AC system as a part of that?

Contact your HVAC contractor for routine maintenance, which should include:

Woman with basket of spring cleaning materials
Woman holding a basket with cleaning equipment.

Examine the electrical systems and record the amp draw. Vibration, age, and corrosion can all weaken or damage electrical connections, which should be maintained, cleaned, and tightened on a regular basis. Qualified professionals can also test the amp draw to discover excessive power consumption and the proper operation of the auxiliary heating system (when present).

Examine the outdoor unit. Have your external system’s components been looked at by a licensed professional to prevent any disruption later?  They can ensure that rodents haven’t chewed on wires during this time.

Clean the outside and inside units. Keep your outside unit clear of shrubs, leaves, and other debris to guarantee optimal airflow. The coil in the indoor unit can cause indoor air quality issues or prevent proper airflow. Regular maintenance might detect minor issues before they become major ones.

Routine Maintenance for Your AC System

Check for the safety of combustion. Combustion gases are produced by propane, gas, and oil furnaces (or water heaters!). Carbon monoxide and other harmful contaminants are frequently included in these gases, especially when there is an incomplete burn. Systems that do not have proper exhaust can allow these gases to enter your home rather than exit through the vent.

Examine Ducts. Dirty ducts contribute to poor indoor air quality, which can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms. While Haley Mechanical doesn’t clean duct, we can recommend some legitimate companies.

Maintaining your AC System

Measure the airflow through the system. Did you know that the majority of HVAC systems do not provide adequate airflow? That implies the rooms in your house aren’t getting the cooler air they need to keep you comfortable. A trained HVAC contractor will measure the entire airflow of your system (at the unit).  This will help determine issues that might be causing restricted airflow.

Replace your system’s filter with one that is suited for your system. You may be tempted to do this work yourself.  But unsuitable filters might impede your system’s airflow.  This could result in increased energy consumption and possibly lasting damage to your system. Consult with an HVAC professional to determine the best filter for your system.

Purchase a maintenance plan from your HVAC contractor that includes a system service every 6 months. Regular maintenance reduces expenses by preventing the components of the system from deteriorating.

Don’t wait until summer arrives and your system fails when you need it the most. By taking the time to have proper maintenance, you won’t have to worry about it failing in the hot summer heat.

Most HVAC contractors have more scheduling flexibility.  In some cases, they offer savings in the spring before excessive demand overwhelms them on those hot summer days.

Women in the HVAC Industry

Mirror in a nice home

Regardless of where you live in the country, you know that our heating and cooling systems are important to everyday life. We use them almost daily, just about everywhere, from our homes to businesses and office settings. Because of this, there is a huge demand for HVAC specialists. The demand is high and the earnings for such a position are very good. However, a surprisingly low number of women are getting into this industry. In fact, the women in this industry make up about 1.4-9% of the population. This is a unique opportunity for women. There is a need for more women to become involved in HVAC systems, repair and maintenance of these systems, and better understand the systems overall. Let’s look at what is entailed in becoming an HVAC technician.

What is HVAC?

Let’s start by understanding what HVAC stands for and what the system actually is. The acronym HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. It’s the system that keeps your home or office cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Your system is also responsible for providing you with clean air by filtering out harmful particles and gases.

The Importance of Properly Maintaining Your HVAC Equipment

It is important to maintain your HVAC equipment properly in order to protect your home from the dangers of extreme temperatures. The following are some things you should do to keep your HVAC system running smoothly.

1) Keep the filters clean.

2) Change filters regularly.

3) Have a professional inspect and tune up your system every year.

4) Clean or replace coils as needed, usually every two years.

5) Clean ducts and registers as needed, usually every five years.

Your HVAC systems are very complex systems for many people to understand and maintain on their own. This is why it is so important for us to have licensed and trained technicians that can do these jobs. Our furnace and AC units are very important in maintaining a healthy environment, and when they are down, people are frantic to get them back working again. That’s when they call out an HVAC technician for help.

What Exactly Does an HVAC Technician Do?

HVAC technicians are responsible for repairing, maintaining, and installing heating and cooling systems in homes and businesses. They can also install or maintain equipment that controls airflow in buildings.

An HVAC technician will usually work in a team with other technicians who specialize in different aspects of the industry. Some will specialize in electrical work, while others will install ductwork. The team may also include a project manager who coordinates all the different parts of the job.

What skills do you need to become an HVAC technician?

HVAC technicians are the backbone of any heating and cooling system. They install, repair, and maintain these systems with an eye for accuracy and efficiency. This career requires a lot of training, but the payoff is a stable employment opportunity with good pay–in some cases, six-figure salaries are possible.

What Are Some Current HVAC Industry Trends?

As with all the construction industry, current trends are up and coming in the HVAC industry. These trends are simple things to things that are more complex. We are now seeing more and more smart home technology enter the HVAC world. This can be simple things such as a new thermostat to more complex overall systems that can transfer more heat or cooling to various areas of the home as needed. These units have the ability to be controlled from a simple app on your phone from just about anywhere. 

Solar HVAC systems turn the sun’s solar energy into usable power for your AC units and furnaces. There are also Geothermal HVAC options as well. These systems use the ground’s temperature to help heat and cool the systems. As the trends grow, the HVAC technicians will become more educated on the different systems and installing, maintaining, and repairing them. 

History of Women Working Trade Jobs

Women can do ANYTHING!  

Yes, that’s right, we believe that women can do anything they put their minds to. However, throughout history, women were more notorious for doing domesticated jobs such as cleaning, cooking, and taking care of the home. It wasn’t until WWII, when there was a shortage of workers, that the women stepped it up and started working outside of the home to keep the country going. During this time, many men were overseas at war, and it was up to the women to take charge of the future of this country. They started out busting down the stereotypes and traditions and learning new trades and skills.

Women HVAC Trailblazers

The four trailbralzer women in the HVAC industry were Samantha Lott, Telese Williams, Karen Lamy DeSousa and Gerri Domenikos. These women saw an opportunity and went for it, despite the challenges. 

The biggest challenge in being a female in the male-dominated HVAC industry is that those they work with and for might not look to them as less than experts. However, for most women, this is a simple challenge that can quickly be overruled by their knowledge of the systems and industry. There is also a challenge in finding role models and support networks for these women as well.

However, an entire organization is devoted to women in the HVAC field. It is called the Women in HVACR that offers support to those in the industry. HVACR stands for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. 

Women in HVAC can do everything that men can do. Some HVAC positions are:

  • Associate – You simply need a GED or high school diploma to become an associate. These are the people that assist the technicians in repairs and installations of residential and commercial units.
  • Technician – They hand in the repairs and installation of the AC and heating systems. Each technician typically will have a specialty of AC, REfrigeration, or Ventilation, depending on their skillset and preference.
  • Engineer – Responsible for the framework of the systems and the inspection.
  • Installer-Strictly installed new systems.
  • Manager-Assigned jobs and checks on activities. Coordinate the employees, hire, and interview.
  • Business Owner 

If you are a woman and feel you have what it takes to become an HVAC expert, don’t let anything stop you. You are just as much qualified to complete the training and exercise your knowledge within the field. This is a great opportunity for both men and women that offers very stable work at a great wage.  

Learn more: https://www.womeninhvacr.org

How to Protect Your Family From Carbon Monoxide

Adorable Baby and Dad

Carbon monoxide (CO) is called “the silent killer.” It is an odorless, colorless gas that’s a by-product of gas combustion. CO can cause illness or death before you’re aware of its presence. Fortunately, with proper ventilation and well maintained, properly adjusted gas and wood burning appliances, the chances are good you will have little to fear from carbon monoxide.

Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect appliance maintenance, which can be fatal. According to the U.S. EPA’s James Raub, CO may cause more than half of all fatal poisonings. “Fatal cases,” claimed Raub in the journal, Toxicology, “Also are grossly under-reported or misdiagnosed by medical professionals.”

Where CO Comes From

To start, background levels of carbon monoxide are always present in the atmosphere. Some occur naturally from volcanic activity and forest fires. Automobile and industrial emissions also contribute to background levels.

In the home, carbon monoxide can come from tobacco smoke, unvented gas space heaters and appliances, an automobile, lawn mower, generator, and other small engine exhaust that enters the home. You can minimize these risks by avoiding the indoor use of unvented appliances, by leaving your garage open when your car is running (and by not leaving the engine on while the car is in the garage), by starting and stopping small gas engines outside of the garage, and by locating gas generators outside away from doors, windows, or vents. Carbon monoxide can also occur in the home when a gas appliance’s flue is improperly sized, becomes disconnected, or the flue becomes partially restricted. A bird nest in the wrong place, for example, may become deadly. Flues should be checked at the start of each heating season.

Another potential source of carbon monoxide is your home’s furnace. Heat sections should be checked each fall to ensure the heat exchanger is leak free. Additionally, properly adjusted burners not only mean more efficient operation, but less risk of carbon monoxide resulting from incomplete combustion.

Back drafting

Back drafting occurs when the pressure inside the house is less than the pressure outside the house, and the exhaust from natural drafting gas appliances is sucked back into the house. Backdrafting is more of an issue today than in the past due to tighter construction standards. A bathroom fan may be enough to create negative pressure in a tightly sealed house.

Back drafting can also result from leaking return air ductwork, wood burning fireplaces (a fire can pull several hundred cubic feet of air out of the house each minute, causing appliances to backdraft), high wind conditions that result in high pressure on the windward side of the house and low pressure on the downwind side, and so on.

You can minimize the potential for back drafting by installing modern, energy efficient gas furnaces, wood stoves, and water heaters that feature sealed combustion systems. Sealed combustion appliances draw outside air for combustion and exhaust combustion by-products outdoors. Since indoor air is not used for combustion, back drafting is not a concern.

Another option is power vented furnaces or water heaters. These products use indoor air for combustion, but use a fan to exhaust combustion by-products outside.

Everyone Recommends Annual Heating System Maintenance

There’s a reason virtually every utility, consumer groups, government agency, and consumer publication recommends annual heating system maintenance. Good maintenance can save the lives of you and your family. A heating professional should check for leaks in the heat exchanger, adjust the burners, clean and check the venting system, and
more.

A heating system combustion safety inspection and tune-up are virtually free. The adjustments that ensure you receive a clean burn also save energy. Over the course of the heating season, the energy savings can easily exceed the cost of the tune-up.

An efficient, well-maintained heating system is also an environmentally friendly system. Since you save money on utilities, tune-ups are like buying carbon credits from yourself.

There are many good reasons for getting a tune-up now and none for waiting. Delaying only delays the energy savings. Call us today.

Financing available

Make no payments until 2023 and pay as little as $132 a month when you finance a new Lennox system. Talk to a comfort advisor today!