We asked This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey to show us the proper steps that a service professional would follow for an oil-burning forced-air furnace; the basics on a gas system are similar. In both, fuel is mixed with air and ignited, heating a sealed chamber. Fresh, filtered air then blows across the outside of the hot chamber and into the heating ducts. (Homes with radiators have boilers instead of furnaces. These heat water instead of air, but the annual checkup is similar.) In all, the dangerous exhaust from the combustion chamber is vented out a flue or chimney.
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• Furnace is making more noise because it’s turning on and off more frequently. It may need repair, may not have been sized properly to fit the needs of your house, or may not have the airflow available that it needs from the ducts. The ducts are most often the culprit. Sometimes adding a cold air return can solve this. Ensure your vents are all open. If you are closing off vents in your house this can contribute to the issue.
On average, furnace repair costs $287 nationally, with some homeowners spending as little as $60 while others paying $900 for furnace maintenance. Repairs to an electric furnace can run you $300 or less, while gas furnace repairs can be more complex and range from $375 to $1,200, depending on the what needs service. Most homeowners spend between $131 and $453 to fix their furnace. Here is what you need to know, along with the various factors that could affect the price of your furnace repair.
“The manufacturers that built them all agree on this; you should get it serviced once [a year] for heating and once for cooling," says Paul Mills, owner of Air Experts Heating & Cooling in Raleigh, North Carolina. "Tuning it up and checking it out is definitely recommended. Much like a car, if you ignore it, a lot more things break. You [will] extend the life of it and help prevent major breakdowns.”
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Inspect your furnace thermostat by first making sure that it’s turned on. Also, ensure that the thermostat switch is turned to “heat” and not “cool”. If your furnace will still not start with the thermostat on, try adjusting the temperature settings to a few degrees higher. Inspect any visible wires for breaks or splits, and make sure your thermostat batteries are not dead. Do not touch any open wires; contact a professional.
At Bob’s Heating & Air Conditioning, we believe that our customers deserve to live comfortably throughout the entire year. That is why we offer such a comprehensive selection of air conditioning, heating and water heater services in Kirkland, WA. When you work with us, you can rest assured that your furnace is installed properly, your AC maintenance is meticulous, and that your water heater repairs are top notch. Contact us today to learn more about the heating and cooling services we offer throughout Kirkland, WA.
An annual inspection of your unit can ensure that the various potential problems mentioned above are detected early, and before they require complete replacement. During this inspection, for instance, a professional might find small cracks in your heat exchanger or a faulty seal in your blower motor. Some manufacturer's warranties even require these annual inspections to maintain validity. Typically, your furnace inspection will cost between $80 and $150 depending on the area in which you live and the professional you work with.
If your home is not heated using forced air, chances are a boiler will make sure you stay warm during cold nights. A hot water system delivers hot water through a network of pipes that run to every room in your house. The heating effect gets maximized through radiators. The most common issues with hot water heating tend to be not be major, but small problems that add up over time. Mineral deposits within the water tank, a pilot light malfunction, or an issue with a radiator itself can require professional repair. On average, you will pay between $183 and $582 for these problems. The exact amount will depend on the exact problem, as described in our boiler repair cost guide.
For starters, once a year, vacuum out the area around the furnace’s blower. If possible, also slide out the fan unit, clean each fan blade with a toothbrush, and then vacuum with a brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner. While you’re at it, look for oil ports on the motor, normally located near the motor shaft. If the motor has these, apply two to three drops of non-detergent motor oil into each port (you may have to remove a cover plate to do this). Though most contemporary motors don’t require lubrication, do lubricate motors with oil ports once a year. For more about maintenance, see Maintenance Checklist for Central Heating Systems.