Knowing Your Furnace Part 2

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by Ashton Service Group

We have changed our clocks and fallen back an hour and autumn is here. As the weather cools the phone calls for furnaces not working or they are not getting any heat increase.

There are a number of items a homeowner can do to keep their furnace in tip top shape. If you are unsure at anytime, please call a licensed heating contractor for any repairs .

The owner’s manual is the best source for maintenance information and operating instructions on your furnace.

Vancouver Furnace Repair


Change or clean filters at least once every 3 months and keep the fan compartment door closed. Filters are located near the blower compartment of the furnace and are held in place by a clip. Filters are very important for maintaining the air quality in your home. Fiberglass filters last only 1 month, while the filters typically last 3 to 4 months. HEPA filters last up to 6 months and can be cleaned with a vacuum nozzle.

Fan Belt

Just like on your car, your furnace fan belt can wear down and get loose. The fan belt on your furnace drives the blower which moves the heated air from the furnace through the ductwork to the room vents. Inspect the belt for any glazing, cracking or fraying. If you see any of those signs  replace the belt which can be done at the same time when you change the furnace filters. Also a loose belt can slow the blower and compromise the efficiency of your furnace.

Exhaust Flue/ Furnace Flue Pipe

A furnace flue moves poisonous products of combustion out of your house where it can go into the atmosphere without causing any harm. The pipe usually runs from the furnace to a chimney or it can be a small pipe. The gases it exhausts are hot and moisture-laden. A furnace flue is made from galvanized ductwork that corrodes over time once the coating breaks down. When a furnace flue corrodes, poisonous gases can leak into your home like carbon monoxide, so it’s best to repair a furnace flue by replacing damaged piping before it corrodes completely.  Look for any possible holes in the exhaust flue that could leak CO gas, especially where the pipe meets the furnace. Small holes can be patched with foil tape.

Most furnace flues operate on a system called buoyancy. These gases are almost always lighter and warmer than the surrounding air. As the furnace pulls in oxygen to continue the combustion process, the warm and light gases try to move up and away from the furnace. The flue provides a way for the gases to escape.

Burner Flames

For your furnace to work efficiently, flames on the burner should not only be full but steady, and there should be no sputtering or traces of yellow. The flames should be even and blue  with only very little yellow at the tip of the flame’s inner cone. If the flame is mostly yellow or orange, this signifies a major and potentially dangerous problem.

To burn, natural gas must be mixed in just the right amounts with oxygen. Having too much gas or oxygen, the flame will burn poorly or not at all. A yellow or orange flame means that too much gas and/or not enough oxygen is being used when burning. Another symptom is a black, sooty residue, as the gas does not burn cleanly. If you do not know how to properly clean the burners, call in a professional as you can cause more harm than good.

 Vent Ducts and Air Returns

Vent ducts are a system that helps deliver warm air from the furnace to the rest of the rooms in your home. It is important to keep vents and air returns clear of obstructions like furniture, lint, dust or pet hair as it reduces the amount of air that will get into a room forcing you to crank up the heat. It is recommended that homeowners to remove floor registers and vacuum out the ducts, which are magnets for dust, pet hair, small toys, and food scraps. You will also breathe better without all the dust and other allergens in the air.

Ashton Service Group is one of Metro Vancouver’s furnace repair experts and we would be happy to help service your furnace if you need any help. Please call 604-283-2383 to schedule a call.

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