How Furnace Repair Maintains Safety

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Furnaces are manufactured with a number of safety controls that make them very safe to operate. However, allowing a malfunctioning furnace to continue operating can create dangerous situations that can’t be remedied by safety switches alone. Depending on the type of furnace you have, different scenarios can develop that may potentially compromise the safety of your family and your home. Making needed repairs to your furnace as soon as possible allows your furnace to run not just optimally, but safely. Following are some reasons why waiting to make repairs to your furnace can be a potentially dangerous situation.

Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces do not generate combustion byproducts, but this doesn’t mean that certain risks can’t develop when issues with your electric furnace aren’t remedied. One of the more common problems that can develop with an electric furnace is an issue with the system’s circuit breaker. Electric furnaces draw enough power to warrant having their own circuit breaker in your home’s electrical box. If the breaker trips, this usually indicates that the furnace is drawing too much power and as a safety precaution, the breaker turns off. You can try to turn the breaker back on, but should you encounter resistance or the breaker trips again, don’t keep resetting it; instead, call for repair.

Combustion Furnaces

Combustion furnaces generate toxic fumes and gases, the most noteworthy being carbon monoxide. The heat exchanger is responsible for separating these toxic byproducts and venting them safely to the outside via the flue. However, should the heat exchanger or the flue develop cracks or serious corrosion, these fumes and gases can escape and circulate into your living spaces.

There are also a number of safety switches that cut off the fuel supply should unsafe conditions develop. Limit switches, flame sensors and thermocouples are all examples of safety mechanisms that are installed into your furnace to ensure that fuel supply is both monitored and managed. Operating your furnace knowing that certain safety switches and mechanisms aren’t working properly can put you, your home and your system at risk.

Your furnace helps keep you comfortable all winter. If you know that furnace in Duluth is in need of repair don’t wait. Call Cool Air Mechanical today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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There Are Odd Smells from the Vents: Does the Furnace Need Repair?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

There are few things worse than turning on your heating system on a cold day and being greeted with an offensive smell. You want to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, but doing so means dealing with a potentially awful smell. Does your furnace need to be repaired? Read on to find out. Let’s look at the possible causes of strange smells.

Dust

Your furnace may need repairs, but not necessarily. What exactly is the smell like? If it smells like something is burning, wait and see how long the smell lasts. Dust can settle in the heating system if it has been a while since you have turned on your heat. When you first turn on your heater after a long period of disuse, you may experience a burning smell as the system burns off the dust. This is nothing to worry about, and the smell should subside shortly after you first start the heater. If the burning smell persists, you may have a more serious problem.

Dirty Air Filter

A dirty air filter is also a possibility. If you experience a musty smell when you turn on your heater, check your air filter. If it is dirty, clean or replace it and see if the smell goes away. If you don’t know how to check your air filter, an HVAC professional can do it for you.

Mold

If moisture somehow finds its way into your heating system, usually through leaks in the ducts, it can cause mold to grow. Some types of mold can give off a very unpleasant smell, which will be distributed throughout the house when the heater is turned on. Usually, a duct cleaning and sealing is enough to fix this problem.

Dead Animals

If the smell coming from the vents is that of decay, you may unfortunately have a dead animal in your vents. This can happen sometimes when a squirrel or raccoon finds its way into your duct system and can’t find a way out. This is often the most offensive smell to come out of your heating vents. An HVAC technician can safely remove the animal for you, which should get rid of the smell.

If strange smells are coming out of your vents, call Cool Air Mechanical. We can diagnose the cause and conduct any necessary repairs. We provide furnace repair services throughout the Alpharetta area.

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Know Your Furnace: The Heat Exchanger and Furnace Repair

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Furnaces use mechanical parts to operate, and mechanical parts eventually will start to wear down and require repairs. No matter how well you take care of your furnace, at some point you will likely need to call for professionals to fix it.

However, one of the most important repairs that a furnace can need is not to a mechanical part like a fan or a motor. It’s a repair that replaces the heat exchanger, a clamshell-shaped chamber that performs the crucial part of the heating cycle that safely moves the heat of combustion gas to the air that will enter your home. We are going to share with you the basics of the heat exchanger and why repairs are so important when something goes wrong with it.

Call any time, 24 hours a day, for furnace repair in Atlanta, GA from Cool Air Mechanical. Our knowledge and experience will restore your furnace’s power and safety.

The Heat Exchanger

Combustion gas enters a furnace’s heat exchanger, where it raises the temperature of the exchanger walls and then transfers that heat to air blown around the exchanger. After the gas cools down, it exits the heat exchanger and leaves the house through an exhaust flue.

If a heat exchanger begins to corrode (which occurs because of a reaction with the combustion gas) the force of it expanding each time it heats up can lead to cracks. This is a potentially hazardous situation because these cracks lead to the escape of the exhaust fumes—toxic carbon monoxide—into the cabinet and possibly into your home.

How can you tell your heat exchanger is cracked? There are a few warnings signs. If you notice corrosion developing anywhere on your furnace, call for repairs. Have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home, and should they warn of a spike in CO, call for repairs. If you hear a loud clicking noise from the furnace before the blower fan comes on, call for repairs. Don’t let unusual noises from your heating system go without a call to professionals.

Do Not Attempt Repairs on Your Own

It’s risky to try to make amateur repairs to a natural gas-powered furnace. You should never tamper with anything connected to a main gas line unless you have the training and tools for it. Work with a heat exchanger needs a licensed, trained professional. Shut off the gas power to your furnace and give a heating technician a call immediately.

Cool Air Mechanical wants you to stay warm and safe this winter. Our team can handle your furnace repair in Atlanta, GA to make sure you have both.

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Furnace Noises That May Warn of Repair Needs

Monday, January 6th, 2014

The sooner a qualified technician can see to a problem with your heating system, the easier and less expensive the repair is likely to be. Noises, in particular, often signal a furnace in need of repair. Any noise that’s out of the ordinary – that is, any noise that doesn’t sound like a normal part of the furnace’s functioning – probably merits an inspection from a qualified technician. Here’s a brief list of some specific furnace noises that may warn of repair needs.

  • Rumbling. Dirty burners or burners that have suffered damage can create a low rumbling sound when the heater starts up. If your heater has a pilot light, it might make a rumbling sound when the light isn’t properly adjusted. Neither problem is critical, but they can result in more significant issues if they are not treated.
  • Rattling noises. Loose screws and other detritus might rattle around in your furnace when it turns on. Again, this isn’t a problem in and of itself, but if you don’t address it, the loose object could damage a more vital part of the system.
  • Grinding noises. An overloaded motor may create a grinding noise, as can a fan that is twisted and rubbing up against another component. Problematic bearings may create these noises as well.
  • Booming noises. If gas builds up before being lit, it may create a booming noise when your furnace starts up. This can seriously damage the components and may present a safety hazard to boot. If you notice this problem, its best to call for repairs right away.
  • Clicking. Leaky gas valves can sometimes make clicking noises. Leaking gas is a serious safety hazard; if you hear clicking, then turn off the gas to your home and call in an expert immediately.

If you hear any furnace noises that may warn of repair needs, then call Cool Air Mechanical to help. When it comes to heating repair, Atlanta GA residents can rest easy in the hands of our trained technicians. We can hunt down the source of the problem quickly and get your heater running again as efficiently as possible. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

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When to Schedule Furnace Repair in Atlanta, GA

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Keeping your furnace in top shape throughout the Atlanta winter is the first step to ensuring the comfort of your home this heating season. While furnaces are built to last, over time they suffer general wear and tear, and it may be necessary during the life of your heating unit to schedule professional furnace repair in Atlanta, GA. For more information and to schedule a service, call a furnace repair expert at Cool Air Mechanical.

There are a few different warning signs that your furnace may be in need of repair. If your furnace is making loud and/or unusual sounds, like banging, squealing or popping, it may be time to call a professional. You may have an air leak in the surrounding ductwork, a loose or faulty belt that connects the motor to the fan components, or worn bearings in the mechanical system. As an essential part of your family’s comfort, the furnace requires your attention. If your furnace does not turn on at all, its thermocouple—a safety device installed to disallow ignition when the pilot light goes out of the electric ignition is faulty—might be damaged. In cases like these, you need to call on an Atlanta, GA furnace repair specialist like Cool Air Mechanical, who can inspect, clean, mend and replace damaged parts.

Another indication that your furnace may be in need of repair is if you notice that it is no longer heating as well as it once did, or that it heats your home unevenly. An inefficient furnace may be old age, especially compared to new highly-efficient furnaces, but it may also indicate a fault somewhere in the furnace system. A professional inspection and diagnosis will be able to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. If you feel unsure about your Atlanta, GA furnace, or if it’s beginning to make unusual sounds, it’s likely that furnace repair is necessary. Call Cool Air Mechanical today.

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Ellenwood Heating Repair Question: What Does a Furnace Thermocouple Do?

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Modern appliances are equipped with an array of safety measures to make sure that they operate safely in your Ellenwood home. This includes gas furnaces, which are harmless when working correctly but can be unsafe if something goes wrong. Perhaps the most crucial safety feature of a gas furnace is the thermocouple, also called a flame sensor.

Essentially, a furnace thermocouple works as a kill switch to shut off the furnace in case the gas is not igniting, like if the pilot light is out. Here is how it works.

The thermocouple is made up of two pieces of metal which are welded together at one end, called the “hot end” because it actually sits directly in the path of the furnace flame. On the cold end, it is wired to a circuit. Under normal circumstances, when the furnace is switched on, gas flows through the line and is ignited by a pilot light, ignition spark or glow coil. The flame heats up the thermocouple, and the furnace stays on.

However, sometimes the gas may not ignite, for example if the pilot light is out or the glow coil is faulty. In these cases, if there were no thermocouple, gas would continue to flow out without being lit, creating a very dangerous, poisonous and potentially lethal situation.

What the thermocouple does is detect heat, so if the furnace is on, but the hot end of the thermocouple has not heated up, that circuit up at the cold end kills the power to the furnace so that gas cannot continue to flow out unchecked. That way, you do not have to worry about a gas leak building to dangerous levels without being aware of it.

Sometimes, the thermocouple can malfunction, causing the furnace to shut off even if the burners are working just fine. Usually that is just the result of build up on the hot end over time, which can be fixed with some sand paper or emery cloth. If you think you have a problem with your thermocouple, give Cool Air Mechanical a call!

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Winston Heating Repair Tip: Is Your Furnace Not Blowing Enough Air?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Have you ever been in your Winston house in the winter, listening to the furnace churn away trying to heat the house, but noticed that the whole place is still cold? If you checked the heating vents in this situation, you would probably find that there is not much air flow coming out of them, which is why you are still freezing.

It is entirely possible for the furnace to be burning away, producing hot air, without enough of that warm air ever actually being distributed through your home. So it continues to run and run, resulting in excess wear and tear on the heating system that will probably shorten its productive life, as well as keeping your whole home too chilly.

Why does that happen? There are a several common culprits for insufficient air flow from a furnace. Below is a list of the most frequent offenders, along with solutions for each:

  • Cause: Dirty or broken air filter. An air filter that has accumulated too much build up or is damaged will slow down air flow in a hurry.
    Solution: Clean or replace the air filter as necessary. This should be part of routine furnace maintenance in order to ensure efficient operation. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations to see how often you should check your air filter(s).
  • Cause: Damaged, corroded, broken or collapsed ductwork. Your ducts are like the road that warm air travels on. If the road is out, then no one can get through. Simple as that.
    Solution: Have a professional inspect and repair your ductwork. A routine ductwork check is also part of a professional’s annual maintenance inspection.
  • Cause: Blower fan not blowing enough. This can be caused by a loose fan belt, or a dirty motor.
    Solution: First, clean the blower fan and the area around it. It has to deal with a lot of air, so it naturally becomes dirty over time. If that doesn’t fix it, the fan belt probably needs to be replaced.

There are some other causes of improper furnace air flow, but those are the most common and easiest to detect and repair. If your heat registers are not returning any warm air at all, that is likely a different problem and you should call a technician to look at the system right away.

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Troubleshooting Furnace Air Flow Problems: A Guide from Kennesaw

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Whenever you notice furnace air flow problems in your Kennesaw home, you can usually do a little troubleshooting and solve the issue on your own. Most air flow problems can be fixed easily and quickly. Here are a few guidelines to get you started, but if you need help or notice other problems with your furnace, call a qualified heating technician.

Furnace Filters:


Checking the furnace filter is the first step you should take when there are any issues with your furnace, but especially with air flow problems. If a filter is dirty enough, the furnace will not come on at all. Ultimately, a clogged or dirty filter restricts the air flow, and this is the source of air flow problems ninety percent of the time.

Supply Registars and Cold Air Returns:


Once you’ve replaced or cleaned the filter, check your cold air returns, which are the vents that draw in the cold air in forced air systems. When a cold air return is blocked  by furniture or other obstructions, they cannot draw in enough air to allow the furnace to put out an adequate amount of hot air. Make sure they are open if nothing is blocking them.

Next, check your supply registers, which are the vents that supply the warm air, and make sure they are open as well. Whenever your heat is on, all of your supply registers should be open. Closing some vents will not increase the air flow in other vents in the house. Closing off one or two in areas where heat is not always needed will not hurt your system; however, when you close too many supply registers, it can cause problems with the ductwork and eventually damage the furnace if the air pressure is not correct.

Clean Your Vents:


You should have a qualified HVAC technician professionally clean your ducts and vents at least once a year, which is another reason it’s important to schedule annual maintenance visits. A professional cleaning is typically part of the yearly heating system inspection. You can help by vacuuming your vents regularly, particularly during the months the heating system is not in use, or at least before you turn it on in the fall. Simply cleaning your vents can help air flow and extend the life of your entire heating system.

If you continue to experience air flow problems, call a certified Kennesaw heating technician. There could be a more serious issue, or if you have a newer furnace, your original ductwork could be the wrong size for that furnace model.

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Dacula HVAC Tip: What to Check If Your Furnace Isn’t Lighting

Friday, December 16th, 2011

If your furnace isn’t lighting properly and your family is starting to suffer because of it, there are a number of possible problems you should check for before calling a Dacula heating contractor. Some of these issues can be fixed quickly by you while others may be signs of a serious problem that needs professional attention right away.

Checking the Pilot Light

If you have a gas furnace, the first step is to check the pilot light and ensure it is still working properly. If the pilot light is still on but goes out when you try to light the furnace or simply won’t stay on when you relight it, you may need to have the gas valve replaced. In some cases, it is as simple as the pilot light not being large enough and the gas blowing out the light.

This happens when gas enters the chamber and doesn’t ignite right away. When it does ignite, which happens after more gas enters the chamber, the extra force of the ignition will blow out the light. This is still a problem and should be inspected to ensure you don’t have any potential gas related issues.

Still Not Lighting

If you don’t have a pilot light or the unit still isn’t lighting, it may be an electrical issue. Electrical ignitions for gas furnaces should spark when the thermostat is turned on, so if it doesn’t you know that the switch or relay are bad.

If you smell gas or anything similar in the room where the furnace is located, you should immediately turn off the unit and call your gas company, followed by a technician. There could be a leak causing low pressure that results in your pilot light going out. Whatever the case, you need someone to look at it immediately.

Your furnace should always turn on when you flip the switch and if it does not, assume there is a problem. If you cannot find the problem yourself and easily fix it, you should call a Dacula professional. The risk inherent in an improperly working furnace (especially gas or oil) is too high to ignore.

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