November 16, 2017
Colder temperatures in Edmonton inevitably mean higher utility bills. The furnace runs constantly just to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. In the winter, your Edmonton furnace becomes, by far, the hardest working appliance in your home. With such a consistently working appliance, even the smallest change in efficiency can make a big difference in your home’s energy usage – and your furnace’s lifespan. Inefficiencies in your furnace can lead to more frequent breakdowns, higher utility bills and an accelerated expiration. This winter, save money on your utility bills and prevent expensive furnace repairs with these simple DIY maintenance tips from the professionals at Always Plumbing & Heating.
Troubleshooting your thermostat is simple but it can make a big difference in the consistency of your furnace repairs – and its efficiency. Check to make sure that your thermostat components are clean and that there are not any loose wires or open connections. If your thermostat is faulty, check to see if a circuit breaker has tripped or blown a fuse. If it’s a digital thermostat, try replacing the battery.
If your Edmonton furnace is switching on and off, or the fan stops running, test for furnace engagement. Start by turning the thermostat down low enough for the furnace to completely turn off. Wait 5-10 minutes, then turn your furnace back up. Listen for a “click” to indicate the furnace has engaged. If it does “click,” then the fan should start running again. If your furnace continues to have problems or the fan does not start up, call a professional to diagnose the problem.
This may seem like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how common it is! The on/off switch on the furnace can sometimes inadvertently get shut off. Double check to make sure it is switched on before taking bigger measures.
Running your Edmonton furnace with a dirty filter will adversely affect the indoor air quality (IAQ) in your home. It can also cause significant damage resulting in costly furnace repairs. Check your furnace filter every month and change it every 2-to-3 months or more frequently if needed. Once you’ve changed the filter, turn the furnace switch off for 10-15 minutes to allow the system to reset.
Leaky air ducts can account for a lot of heat and air loss as it tries to circulate through your home. Lower your utility bills and greatly improve your furnace’s efficiency by sealing leaky air ducts with metal tape or high temperature silicone.
A failing pilot light can be a very common furnace repair in older units. Since your furnace depends on the pilot light to supply heat, it can be very frustrating when you don’t know how to relight it. Steps can vary from furnace to furnace so check the instructions on the inside of the furnace door cover before you start.
Generally, the basic procedure is to turn the thermostat to 80 degrees or a setting that will demand heat. On the furnace, find the pilot valve and the gas cock or knob. Turn the knob or gas cock to the “Off” position for about 3 minutes to allow any residual gas to clear away. Then, find the pilot and use a fireplace match or butane BBQ grill lighter to reach the pilot light.
Place the flame at the pilot while depressing and holding the gas button or knob. Hold for about 30 seconds to maintain gas flow to the pilot. Once the thermocouple gets hot enough it will open the main gas valve and the pilot light should stay on. Once it stays lit, slowly release the button or knob and turn the gas cock or knob from “Pilot” to the “On” position. After the burners have ignited, adjust the thermostat to the desired setting.
It is not uncommon for snow and ice to block the intake pipe on the outside of your house during the Edmonton winter. If your furnace has stopped working, check the intake pipe and make sure it is clear of all debris. It may just be blocked and unable to pull fresh air into the unit.
Canadian winters can push the limits of even the healthiest furnaces. Annual professional maintenance (and these DIY tips) can save you from untimely breakdowns in the coldest months. Remember to schedule regular maintenance in the summer or early fall to prolong your furnace’s lifespan. If you try all these DIY tips your Edmonton furnace is still lacking efficiency, contact Always Plumbing & Heating. Our expert technicians will help you find a solution to meet both your needs and budget. Call us at 780-489-8118 (Edmonton) or 587-601-1253 (Alberta) to schedule an appointment today!