Advice From the Pros

Signs Your Furnace Needs Service

furnace needs service

Now that the colder weather has arrived, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs that your furnace needs service. Here are a few things to look for:

High energy bills

If you are surprised by a large winter power bill, it could be a sign that your furnace is in need of maintenance. Your heating system will operate inefficiently when its parts are worn down or clogged by dirt. If your heating system is using more power than usual to heat your home, it’s a sign that it has become less efficient and needs to be inspected by a professional.

No heat

Whether your furnace is old or new, unexpected problems can prevent it from heating your home efficiently. If your system doesn’t produce heat, it’s time to get some professional HVAC maintenance. Before you call, remember to check and make sure the circuit breakers that power your system are working.

Strange sounds or smells

Listen carefully to the noises coming from your furnace. If you hear a loud bang when you turn it on, it could mean the burners need to be cleaned. If you hear whistling or howling noises while it’s running, it could mean the fuel supply to the burners is being restricted. The professionals at Gentry can diagnose furnace noises and perform the necessary maintenance and repairs to keep it heating your home all winter long.

Gas smell

Smelling dust when you turn on your furnace is normal — dust on the heating elements and in your ducts burns off as your home heats up. But unpleasant odors like burning rubber, oil, or smoke aren’t normal. These bad odors should be investigated, as they could indicate a serious safety hazard. If your furnace continuously produces strange odors, shot off the gas valve on your unit, and call the experts at Gentry to solve the problem before it gets worse or impacts your health.

Thermostat issues

Your HVAC system should keep all the rooms in your home at a comfortable temperature when the weather gets cold. If some rooms in your home are much colder than others or you’re constantly adjusting your thermostat to stay warm, your heating system needs to be evaluated. If the design of your home is to blame for some rooms being colder than others, it may be time to consider zoned heating.

Older equipment 

Even the best HVAC system will break down over time. Most air conditioning systems and heat pumps break down more frequently and begin to lose efficiency after 10 years. If your HVAC system is more than 10 years old, it’s time to start planning for HVAC repairs or replacement.

If your furnace needs service, give Gentry Air Conditioning in Southlake a call today!

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Surviving Without Heat

How to Survive Without Heat This Winter

Surviving Without Heat

 

It’s cold outside, but Winter is a great time to save money on utilities. Unlike Summer when, here in Texas at least, air conditioning is practically mandatory, there are several ways to stay warm at home throughout the winter without cranking up that heater. Maybe you’ve found yourself without electricity or with a broken furnace for a short time, as well. Here are a few tips to stay warm and happy this winter with no heat:

Reduce as much heat loss as possible

Put blankets over all the windows and outside doors, and bean bag draft busters at the base of every door.  Shut off as many outside doors as you can to porches or the garage.  Close off any rooms you aren’t using and put draft busters at the bottoms of those doors.  This creates an air buffer zone that will help reduce temperature fluctuations.

Adding Insulation Supercharges Your Walls

Check your insulation. Insulated walls and windows are standard these days, but if you have an older home, you may need to add some insulation. Heat rises, so it’s important to insulate the ceiling especially well. If you have an attic, insulating it, and even filling the space with storage, can help keep the heat from escaping.

Dress warmly!

This is not the time to run around in your bathing suit. Go with socks, gloves, hats, tights, sweaters, and coats. Pick your favorite most comfortable sweaters and pants.  At a time like this being cozy is of utmost importance. Body heat is a beautiful thing when you need to keep warm. Keep it.  You can increase your body heat with activity.  Do some jumping jacks or run in place.

Eat warming foods.

Soup is your friend. Warm spices such as red pepper, ginger, cinnamon will also help you feel warmer.  Now is not the time to worry about calories.  There are reasons that winter seasons come with hearty, rich foods.  If ever there was a time to thoroughly appreciate a hot meal, this is it.

Keep Warm Safely

Be careful about using alternative heating sources.  Carbon monoxide will kill you a lot faster than being cold will.  Don’t use propane or outdoor barbecues in enclosed spaces.  Get a carbon monoxide detector. Also, be careful with candles or other open flames to avoid fire hazards.

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Heating Equipment

Common Heating Components Explained

Heating Components

It’s so wonderful to live in a home with a well-running heating system. The comfort and peace of mind are unmatched, which typically means that we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them. Have you ever wondered how those heating components work?

Most homes have heating components to produce heat, which combines heat and air into one ventilating system using ducts to distribute the cooled or heated air. The furnace is the main functioning part of an HVAC system. Furnaces run off of either electricity or a gas burner, but whichever your home has, the parts are similar.

Furnace

The furnace is the control tower for your entire heating system. All of the work is done here, and this is where most of the parts to your heating system reside. It is the central system where all of the heating is done. It is usually a large metal box located in a closet, basement, or attic.

Cold Air Return/Intake

Heating a home begins with the cold air return, also known as the intake for furnaces that run off of air from the outside. Both returns and intakes will have a filter. The air is drawn into the furnace where electric coils or a gas burner heat up the air in the heat exchanger.

Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger is where the air is actually heated in the furnace. If your heating system runs on gas, you will have a burner that heats up the air when needed. If your heating system is linked to your home’s electrical system, you will have coils that heat up when warm air is needed.

Blower

Once the heat exchanger has done its job, the blower turns on and begins projecting the warmed air to the ducts. Often you may hear your system turn on, but there may be a delay before the air actually comes out of your vents. When the blower turns on, the air will begin to move out into your home. In the same way, you may hear your system shut off once the temperature is stabilized, but your blower will stay on until the heated air is transferred out of the furnace.

Supply and Return Ducts and Vents

Supply ducts are simply insulated pipes or airways in your walls that heated air follows to open vents located throughout the house. Return ducts are airways that pull out the extra air in your home and into the furnace. They are linked to a vent that has a filter, which needs to be replaced periodically. The return vents are larger than the supply vents, but there are fewer of them.

Exhaust

Most furnaces have an exhaust system that allows gases in the air to leave through the exhaust ducts to the outside. Draft hoods are used to vent dangerous carbon monoxide from gas furnaces through the exhaust ducts safely to outside.

Thermostat

What regulates the furnace is the thermostat. It is a sensitive switch that is connected to the furnace. It automatically turns on the heat when there is a drop in temperature in the house. Usually the sensors are located centrally in a home in order to maintain an even temperature throughout.

If your home isn’t staying warm throughout the nights, give Gentry Air Conditioning a call today to come out and inspect these heating components!

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