Red Rock Mechanical, LLC Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Furnace’

The Best Ways to Avoid Furnace Repairs This Winter

Monday, November 7th, 2022


Vermont is currently enjoying crisp, cool fall weather. These temperatures are why fall is many people’s favorite time of the year. But it won’t be long before the weather of winter arrives. Many people love our winters as well, but they aren’t much fun without an effective furnace to keep your house comfortable as the thermostat drops below freezing.

We want you to enjoy uninterrupted warmth from your home’s furnace this winter. Our technicians are always available to help you with furnace repair in Burlington, VT, but we know you’d prefer to avoid furnace troubles in the first place. Below is our advice for keeping your furnace working right and without comfort-disrupting malfunctions.

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Ways to Troubleshot (Not Repair!) a Faulty Gas furnace

Monday, December 7th, 2020

burners-in-furnaceWe want to be clear about this from the start: Only a trained, licensed HVAC professional should repair a gas furnace. This is a matter of safety—although even if it were safe to tinker with a gas furnace on your own, you’d still only want a trained professional to touch the system to make sure the repair is done right. In many jurisdictions, it’s illegal for anyone without a special license to work on an appliance connected to a gas main. 

In this post we’re making a distinction between trying to repair a gas furnace and going through basic troubleshooting steps when a furnace isn’t working properly. There’s nothing wrong with making checks on a furnace before you call us for heating repair in Plattsburgh, NY. Often, the problem with a non-working furnace is something simple you can correct on your own. Just don’t take any steps where you need to get tools and open up the furnace! That’s the point where you’ve gone past troubleshooting and might get into actual trouble.

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Important Facts About Dual Fuel Systems

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

sun-and-snowflake-badgeDual fuel systems are heating systems that use two different energy sources for heating: electricity and natural gas (or, in a home with no access to natural gas, propane). The standard operation for a dual fuel system is a combination of an electrical heat pump with a gas furnace as a back-up. The electrical power of the heat pump provides warmth for a home in temperatures of 40°F or higher, and the gas-powered furnace takes over when the temperature drops lower.

This provides the “best of both worlds” for electrical and gas heating: a heat pump is an inexpensive way to electrically heat a home, and natural gas is the least expensive way to provide high levels of heat when necessary. Since a heat pump functions as an air conditioner during the summer, this single installation can take care of comfort for the year.

These are the basic dual fuel system facts. But there are a few more important facts to know before you call a Plattsburgh, NY HVAC contractor to have one installed.

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No Matter Your Heating System, It Needs Fall Maintenance!

Monday, October 28th, 2019

autumn-backgroundHow do you keep your home toasty during the cold winters in Vermont and New York? The majority of homes use natural gas furnaces, but there are many that rely on boilers, electric furnaces, in-floor radiant systems, heat pumps, and dual fuel systems. Our heating technicians work with all these types of heaters in Burlington, VT. It’s one of the reasons we’ve had so many years of success and built up a loyal client base. Whatever you use to heat your home, you can trust us to install, repair, and maintain it.

We want to focus on that last part: maintain. Your central heating system needs to have professional maintenance each fall before the cold winter arrives. And this applies to all types of heating systems, from furnace to heat pump. Skipping maintenance can lead to higher bills, inconsistent performance, repair needs, an early replacement, and even safety hazards.

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Does Your Furnace Have a Repair Hangover from Last Winter?

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Here’s a situation that you don’t want to run into when the first chilly day of winter arrives: a furnace that breaks and stops working almost as soon as it turns on. You might think, “What’s the chance of that happening?” But if you let your heating end the previous winter with possible repair issues left unattended, you’re taking a big chance that it won’t work when you need it from the coming winter.

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Give Your Furnace a “Test Run” This Fall

Monday, October 26th, 2015

The cold weather hasn’t arrived in Burlington, VT yet, but we all know that it’s coming. Now is the best time to find out if your home heating system needs repairs or replacements done so you can have the heater ready to go when the temperature drops.

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What Makes a Furnace High Efficiency?

Monday, March 31st, 2014

In a lot of ways “high efficiency” is in the eye of the beholder. Luckily, you don’t have to depend on subjective opinion to understand what makes a furnace high efficiency. Here in Burlington, VT, heating is no laughing matter and a high efficiency unit can mean big savings during the cold winter months. But who determines what constitutes high efficiency? That is, how can you tell that a “high efficiency” furnace actually is what it claims to be, and not just empty rhetoric from some advertiser somewhere?

The answer starts with the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating, which all furnaces must possess. It measures the percentage of the energy a furnace uses that actually goes into heating your home. So a furnace with an AFUE rating of 80% would spend 80% of its energy on heating and 20% on waste and inefficiency. Obviously, the higher the rating, the more efficient the furnace, which is where the subjectivity comes in. If you spend 20 years using a furnace with an AFUE rating of 60% and install a new one with an AFUE rating of 75%, it’s going to seem very efficient indeed.

The U.S. Department of Energy has established formal criteria for furnace efficiency. The EnergyStar sticker is used to denote furnaces that are particularly energy efficient: with a 95% AFUE rating or higher for gas furnaces, and an 85% AFUE rating or higher for oil furnaces. (That number drops slightly for gas furnaces in warmer parts of the country.) The EnergyStar rating helps eliminate the uncertainty in the equation and let you choose an efficient heater no matter what the circumstances.

For more on what makes a furnace high efficiency, or for installation options, you can call upon Red Rock Mechanical for help. We stand by our assessments with an ironclad guarantee, and we won’t rest until you are completely satisfied with our work. Here in Burlington, VT, heating systems need to be as efficient as possible. Contact one of our trained technicians today and let us help you make that happen!

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Why is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Here in Stowe, VT, heating is a serious concern, and a disruption in service can spell serious problems for your household. “Why is my furnace blowing cold air?” isn’t a question you ever want to contemplate in the depths of winter. As much as we may wish otherwise, such incidents do happen, and when they do you need a first-rate repair services for correct the problem with speed and efficiency. If helps if you understand the process involved in creating the situation. A number of different factors can lead to your furnace blowing cold air.

In some cases, the issue stems from a simple setting with the thermostat. It may be set too low or located in a spot in the house that’s warmer than elsewhere.  Your furnace itself may also contain a faulty component, turning the fan on without igniting the burners or releasing the gas. A repair technician can repair or replace the thermostat, or move it if it needs to be in a different spot, or troubleshoot the sequence of your furnace.

Other problems stem from a lack of fuel, or from the fuel not igniting properly. If you have an older furnace with a pilot light and the light goes out, it won’t produce any hot air. In some cases, clogs or blockages can result in cool air blowing from the furnace as well. For example, if the condensate system is suffering problems, such as the line being clogged with dirt or the reservoir float being closed, then the gas won’t be allowed into the system even if the fans are blowing.

Whatever the cause, it takes a trained professional to determine the source of the problem and correct it. In Stowe, VT, heating repairs can be conducted by the experts at Red Rock Mechanical. We can answer the question “why is my furnace blowing cold air?” then correct the problem with efficiency and care. Give us a call today to make an appointment, and let us show you what we can do!

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Heating Problem: My Electronic Ignition Furnace Won’t Ignite

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

The standing pilot light was the regular way to ignite gas-powered furnaces for almost as long as these heating systems have existed. But now an electric ignition system have started to replace pilot lights. Because an electric ignition does not need constant power the way a pilot light does, it contributes to energy savings. The electric ignition is one of the reasons modern furnaces have seen a rise in AFUE ratings (annual fuel utilization efficiency) and have remained competitive with other, newer heating systems.

However, just like a pilot light going out, if your electric ignition fails, the gas jets in the burner will not come on and the furnace will provide no heat. There are a number of reasons this might occur, but whatever is behind the problem, you should not attempt to troubleshoot it yourself. Gas furnaces are potentially hazardous if they receive untrained work. Stay safe and call professionals like the staff at Red Rock Mechanical when you need help with your heating in Williston, VT.

Possible causes for electronic ignition failure

  • Igniter age: An electric ignition system is not designed to last as long as a furnace itself and it will need occasional replacements after it wears out. A repair technician will be able to determine if this is indeed the problem and find the proper replacement part.
  • Wrong igniter for the furnace: Here is a good example of why calling for professionals is best. If the wrong type of igniter is in the furnace with incorrectly matched voltage, it will soon fail.
  • High temperature limit switch affecting the igniter: The high temperature limit switch is an important safety feature of a furnace that prevents it from becoming too hot. The switch will turn the furnace off when the temperature rises too high. But a clogged air filter can cause the switch to start turning off the igniter early. The limit switch itself can often malfunction, preventing the igniter from turning on at all.
  • High current in the home: A power surge can cause the electric igniter to burn out, especially if it is a “hot surface” igniter, which functions similar to a light bulb with a burning filament.

Don’t go “do-it-yourself”

Although the electronic igniter in your furnace is a small and replaceable component, you should never attempt to change it yourself. First of all, you won’t know for certain what caused the igniter to fail, and there may be other issues that need attention. Second, you should never interfere with any natural gas system because of the possibility of carbon monoxide exposure and other hazards.

Call Red Rock Mechanical and our 24/7 emergency service for assistance with a gas furnace. Take no chances with your heating in Williston, VT: rely on our NATE-certified repair technicians.

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How to Keep Your Furnace Up and Running

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Getting through a beautiful—but icy cold—winter in Vermont requires a heating system that is up to the task. Furnaces have kept many homes in this state warm and cozy through the cold months, and advancing technology has kept modern furnaces competitive in the HVAC market.

However… you have to be good to your furnace to make sure that it stays up and running during the coming cold. We’ll give you some guidance on how to do that in this post. Red Rock Mechanical has 23 years of experience working with furnaces and other heating systems, and when you need prompt professional assistance to keep your heater up and running, give us a call.

Ways to prevent a breakdown in your furnace

Schedule regular preventive maintenance: We put this first because it’s the best method to make sure you don’t experience a chilly period of shutdown on the coldest day of the year. Any machine requires regular maintenance to ensure its continued efficient operation, and with the amount of work a furnace needs to do during a Burlington winter, it should get at least a yearly check-up. Sign up for a maintenance program with a reliable HVAC company; they should be able to take care of your air conditioner as well.

Change the filter regularly: The filter in a furnace traps debris that might otherwise get into the cabinet and damage the components. During the heating season, you should change the filter once a month to prevent it from developing so much dust and dirt that it can no longer function adequately. Also, make sure you change the filter before heating season begins, so your furnace has a fresh start.

Get repairs done immediately: The moment that your furnace gives you any warning that something is wrong—reduced air flow, odd smells from the vents, tripped circuit breakers, uneven heating, strange noises—call in an HVAC specialist to find out what is wrong and repair it before it can grow into a bigger, more expensive problem or a full breakdown.

Red Rock Mechanical can take care of the repair and maintenance needs that will make sure your furnace in Burlington, VT stays healthy this coming season. We back all our work with a one-year warranty.

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