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5 Common Furnace Questions Answered

man adjusting thermostatThe furnace is one of the most important parts of your home, but for some people it is largely unknown and misunderstood. If you are in need of a Fort Collins furnace repair, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of how your furnace works and what could possibly be wrong. Here are five common furnace questions answered.

How Does My Furnace Work?

Furnaces can either be gas or electric, but both models work in a similar fashion. The furnace uses either natural gas or electricity to heat a burner and heat exchanger, which transfers the heat to the incoming air. The warm air is pushed through the ductwork by the furnace blower and sent throughout the house. Colder air is pulled into the return ducts and sent back to be heated again.

How Can I Avoid Furnace Repairs?

Preventative maintenance is key to avoiding costly emergency repairs. HVAC professionals recommend getting your furnace serviced at least once a year to ensure the system is in proper working order. During a fall tune-up, a technician will also clean the entire furnace and check for issues. Taking the time to make sure your furnace is working properly before the weather gets cold can prevent repairs down the line. Aside from tune-ups, the best thing to do is change the air filter regularly. A clean air filter makes it easier for the furnace to push warm air through the house. When the filter is dirty, the furnace has to work harder, which can lead to overheating and maintenance issues. Change the filter at least once every three months, but more often if you have pets that shed or people in your home with breathing sensitivities.

Why Does My Furnace Smell?

It’s common for a furnace to have a slight burning smell when it is first turned on for the season. That smell is the dust burning off and shouldn’t last very long. A burning smell can also occur if the air filter is clogged, often because it needs to be changed. The most dangerous smell for a gas furnace is the smell of natural gas, which can signal a natural gas leak. If that’s the case, open windows and get out of the house as soon as possible before calling the utility company to repair the leak.

Why Does My Furnace Blow Cold Air?

A common complaint is that the furnace seems to be working but is blowing cold air instead of warm air. When this happens, it could be because the air filter is too dirty for warm air to push through the system. Cold air could also be blowing if the pilot light is out, which typically only occurs in older furnaces. Another option is if there is a block or break in the system, which could be caused by dust, dirt, or mold. Try changing your furnace’s air filter. If that doesn’t work, call an HVAC technician for a furnace repair.

How Can I Save on My Furnace?

Replacing a broken furnace can come with a big price tag. In general, furnaces tend to last 15-20 years, so at some point it becomes less expensive to just buy a new furnace than to repair an old furnace. To lower the cost, look for energy-efficient models that often come with rebates. While these models may be slightly more expensive at the beginning, the rebate can lower the cost, and the energy-efficient features can lower your utility bill over time. To save money on your monthly bill, install a programmable thermostat that will change the temperature based on your daily schedule so you aren’t heating the house when no one is home. Make sure your system is clean and that the vents are open. Small lifestyle changes can lower your energy costs and help save money.

Take time to learn about your furnace and stay ahead of maintenance by changing the air filter and planning preventative tune-ups. Building an understanding of the machine can help you keep the house warm and comfortable

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