Furnace Archives - PECO Heating & Cooling

Common Signs Your Furnace May Be Failing

Have you noticed your furnace is acting strange or is unable to keep up with your home’s heating demands? If so, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Catching small issues before they have a chance to become bigger is the best way to prevent a major repair. Here are some common signs that your furnace may be starting to fail:

Your Furnace is Short Cycling

When your furnace is cycling on and off, it’s called short cycling. This can be really frustrating – especially in winter – but even worse, it can cause higher energy bills and lead to expensive repairs if left unaddressed. If your furnace has been short cycling, it’s a sign that there’s something within the system that is interrupting the heating cycle. This can be caused by a variety of things. You may have low airflow caused by dirty air filters, a dirty blower wheel, or block vents. It could be caused by a faulty thermostat, a dying blower motor, or even a corroded or dirty flame sensor.

The Burner Flame is Yellow

If you have a natural gas furnace, check the color of the flame the next time it starts up. Normally, the flame should be blue. If you see a yellow flame, this could be a sign that you have a dirty burner. A dirty burner is a problem because it means the natural gas and the surrounding air isn’t mixing correctly. Not only does this keep your furnace from running efficiently, but it also means that the carbon monoxide may not be vented properly. Carbon monoxide can leak into your home and be a serious health hazard, so if you notice an irregular flame color, you should have it looked at as soon as possible.

Your Flue is Rusted

A rusted flue is another sign that the carbon monoxide isn’t vented properly. Leaks from the roof or plumbing can cause your flue lines to rust and corrode, leaving holes or areas for carbon monoxide to leak into your home. Gas furnaces produce a dangerous level of carbon monoxide, so it’s critical to ensure that the gas can be properly vented outdoors. Flue maintenance is also important for helping your furnace burn more efficiently, which will help it last longer.

Moisture is Accumulating in Your Home

Moisture on the ceilings, walls, or windows can be a sign that you don’t have enough airflow in your home. This could indicate that you have a problem with your vents or even the furnace itself.

Your Utility Bills are Spiking

Have you noticed a spike in your utility bills as soon as you begin using your furnace? This is often a sign that it’s not running as efficiently as it should be. You could be dealing with one of the issues mentioned above, or it could be due to having an older, inefficient furnace. Depending on the age of your furnace, it may be more cost-effective and energy efficient to install a new furnace.

You See Water Around Your Furnace

Water is a natural byproduct of a gas furnace or air conditioner, but water should not be pooling around it. If you discover a puddle near your furnace, the first thing to check is where it’s coming from. If you only see a leak when you’re running your air conditioner, you most likely have a leak or clog in your water condensate line. If the water is coming from the heater itself, or you notice it during the heating cycle, there may be a more serious problem.

There Are Signs of Animal Activity

Rodents like mice and rats can do a lot of damage to your heating system. If you notice nesting material or droppings near your furnace, you should check for signs of chewed wires or clogged vents. Likewise, vent hoods on your roof should be examined for animal activity.

Your Furnace is Old

In general, most furnaces can last for about 20 years. If your furnace is approaching that age or older, it may be time to install a new unit. A new furnace will be far more energy-efficient, and it’s better to replace it proactively rather than needing an emergency replacement in the middle of winter.

You’re Constantly Adjusting Your Thermostat

If you find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat to stay comfortable, your thermostat could be starting to fail. It’s also possible that your furnace needs servicing to help it keep up with your home’s heating demands.

Your Furnace Needs Constant Service Calls

All furnaces will need to be serviced at some point, but recurring problems can signal your furnace is starting to fail. If you have multiple issues in two years or less, it’s worth investigating – or, if it’s older, investing in a new furnace.

There Are Cold Areas Around Your Home

Uneven heat around your home is often a big indicator that your furnace isn’t working as it should. Your furnace may not be heating up enough to keep your whole house warm, or it’s not able to maintain the push and pull of the vent system to circulate warm air. You may have an inadequate ducting system or incorrectly sized ducting and pipes. Poor insulation can also be to blame, especially in older homes.

Your Furnace Makes Excessive Noise (or is Noticeably Silent)

Most furnaces make noise while they’re operating. If you notice an increase in noise, it could be a sign that some of your components have come loose and are shaking around. If you notice that your furnace seems to be having long periods of silence, this could indicate that it’s not functioning as it should.

You Feel Unwell

As you’ve seen, there can be a few issues that can cause the carbon monoxide to be improperly vented, allowing it to leak into your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas that can be deadly. It causes a range of physical symptoms like an overall feeling of unease, hallucinations, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and flu-like symptoms. To prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, it’s recommended that you keep up with your furnace maintenance and install a carbon monoxide detector.

My Furnace Has One of These Issues! Now What?

If you’ve noticed one of these issues or it’s been a while since your furnace was serviced, give your friendly Home Service Heroes at PECO a call! Our knowledgeable technicians will make sure your heating system is running safely and smoothly. We also offer planned maintenance to help you extend the life of your HVAC system and keep it in perfect working order. Contact us today at (864) 639-2424 or schedule your appointment online.

Stinky Furnace? What Should You Do?

A stinky furnace aroma is unpleasant. It is also unnerving. Where is it coming from? More importantly, how to get rid of it? Here are four uncomfortable scents your heater might spew and what you can do about it:

Don’t Get All Musty on Me

You might notice a musty smell in autumn the first time you fire up your furnace for the season. This usually means you have some mold growing in your ductwork or on the air conditioner coil mounted above your furnace. You’re probably going to have to call a pro for this one. It’s time to get your equipment and ducts inspected!

When Something is Rotten in Denmark (SC)

Shakespeare was talking about a Norwegian kingdom, but he could have been talking about a rotten egg or sewer smell coming from your furnace right here in South Carolina. If it smells sour or like rotten eggs when your furnace kicks on, it can indicate a failed heat exchanger. This is especially true for a high-efficiency heater. This issue requires a reputable HVAC company because a bad heat exchanger can fill your home with carbon monoxide gas.

Just a Dust-Up

The first time you crank up your heater after summer, you might smell the scent of dust. This one is usually no problem. Dust accumulates during the year when you don’t turn your furnace on. When components get hot, the dust burns and creates that smell. It should burn off soon enough!

Plastic Smell? Shut It Down!

A plastic smell spells trouble. It means electrical components and/or wires are getting heated up. This is probably because of a short or other breakdown in the electrical system. This could be anything from a malfunctioning fan to needing a new furnace. Ignoring this is a safety hazard! Turn off your heater and call a professional immediately.If you live in Oconee, Pickens, and North Anderson counties, contact the experts at PECO. We’re a family-owned business and take great pride in offering high-quality home repair with even higher quality attention to our customer’s needs. As well as being licensed plumbing contractors, we also install, maintain and fix heating and cooling systems. We can fix or build anything that moves gas or water through your house and even do minor drywall repair and painting when needed. Want to get the funk out of your furnace? Call the experts at PECO today at 864-639-2424 or request an appointment online

Furnace Costs—Can We Talk?

Furnaces are more complex than ever. They have more new features, higher efficiencies, and, of course, higher costs. How do you know what is best for you instead of what is best for the company trying to sell it to you?

Here are some thoughts, warnings, advice, and lessons learned about furnace pricing and how to get the most warmth for your dollar!

Mid- or High-Efficiency? 

Furnace Costs

Mid-efficiency furnaces are rated at 80-89% and vents into masonry or a metal chimney. A high efficiency furnace, rated at 90-97%, costs roughly twice as much and requires more sophisticated venting. Higher efficiency models can be good choices if you live in a cold climate or will be staying in your house for 10 years or more. Local energy costs are also important. If you live in an area with higher energy costs, high-efficiency furnaces may be more attractive. There are also some possible rebates for high-efficiency units. 

Single-Stage or Two-Stage?

Think of it like a car. A single-stage furnace only has one burner rate, pedal to the metal. A two-stage furnace has two settings and burns at a lower rate unless more gas is needed. This gives your house more consistent temperatures and can increase the life of the unit. The unit is also quieter and more efficient.  

Standard, Two-Speed or a Variable-Speed Blower?

The new DOE standards for furnaces now include more efficient blower motors for basic furnaces (80% or 90%).  A standard two-speed blower has one blower speed for heating and one for cooling. It’s much cheaper than a variable-speed blower. It is also less complex, which can mean lower future repair costs. It is also noisier than a variable-speed blower and uses more energy. A variable-speed continually adjusts its speed to your home’s needs. It uses a fraction of the electricity of most standard motors, is quiet, and makes your home more comfortable. As stated above, higher initial cost and more expensive future repairs are factors when purchasing a more complex system.

Going with the lowest price isn’t always the best idea. This may mean that the contractor cuts corners or that the unit is of lesser quality. Reputable brands also come with better warranties—so be sure to research how long the equipment is under warranty. Does this warranty include labor?

At PECO Heating and Cooling, we will give you straight answers about the furnaces we offer. We are available 24/7 to make sure your furnace or HVAC system is running right. With our Planned Maintenance Agreement you can make sure that your system is in excellent working order every day. Twice each year, we’ll come to your house and perform maintenance that will give you the reliability you can count on. We also provide a wide range of home maintenance and repairs, including home inspection repairs, plumbing, and electrical services. To stay warm all winter long, visit us online or call 864-639-2424 to schedule your appointment!

Top Heat Pump, Air Conditioning & Furnace Repair Problems

You know you need air conditioning repair or furnace repair, but you’d like to do some research to figure out what’s going on before you call a HVAC repair technician. You’ve come to the right place! We’ll go over some of the most common HVAC repairs in this post.

Before we get started, the most important thing you can do to help figure out what’s going on with your system is diagnose the problem. If you’re not a trained HVAC technician, you probably won’t be able to get into the nitty-gritty details, but you should be able to make some general observations. Do you notice strange noises from your outdoor or indoor unit? Less air flow from your vents? Decreased efficiency in how quickly your home cools or heats? Increased energy bills? All of these signs point to specific problems, so keep them in mind.

Top Heat Pump, Air Conditioning & Furnace Repair Problems

Here are some of the most common heat pump, air conditioning and furnace repairs we see:

Too Long Since Last Maintenance

This is a big one! Often, we’ll come to check out an AC or heating system and find that it’s in disrepair because no one’s been out to look at it in a while. Another sign that maintenance is lacking is a dirty air filter or dust/dirt buildup in the machine components, which decreases the effectiveness of the system and can even cause parts to fail.

Clogged or Ineffective Drains

Your draining system for your heating and cooling is very important, particularly in your air conditioner. AC creates condensation, which should be drained outside your home. Humid days can also cause excessive condensation. If your drain is clogged and not draining properly, it can definitely affect your system’s ability to cool the home.  Condensate can back up into the indoor unit and damage electrical components or your duct system.

Trouble with Power Source or Gas Line

Both your furnace and your air conditioner need power to work, whether they operate on electricity or gas. If something becomes disconnected or a line doesn’t appear to be delivering power or gas, it’s time to call a licensed repair expert.

Broken or Malfunctioning Parts

Even the best systems on the market are going to deal with breakdowns at one point or another. Over time, your system’s parts will wear down. That’s just the nature of the beast. Thankfully they’re pretty easy to replace most of the time, and if a technician catches them early enough, they can be replaced without any downtime at all. Parts can include fans, belts, hoses, motors, and more.

Pilot Light Won’t Light

Many homeowners have their own tricks for taking care of an occasional snuffed pilot light themselves, but if it’s a chronic issue with your furnace, that means there’s an electrical malfunction. It’s an easy enough fix, but it should definitely be handled by an expert.

There are many, many other potential problems that can require air conditioner and furnace repair, but these are the big ones. No matter what’s going on with your system, our technicians can get the job done!