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Furnace FAQ

A heating system is one of the most important pieces of your home. Here are some of the most common questions we get about furnaces.

When does my furnace need repair?

There are some tell-tale signs that indicate that your furnace is either failing to do its job or is nearing the end of its useful life. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Weak airflow

  • The thermostat isn’t working

  • You smell gas leaking

Expanding on the last point: If you smell gas leaking from your furnace (whether the odor be light or strong), make sure you and your loved ones evacuate your home immediately and call 911 once you’re outside, far away from your home — as this can be a life-threatening situation if not handled carefully.

Now, if you do not smell gas, but notice any of the other signs of a failing furnace, call the HVAC experts at Quality Degree, Inc. for quick and reliable service.

Regular maintenance is critical in extending the lifespan of your furnace. Cleanings, upgrades, and inspections by a professional will make sure the unit is running efficiently — lessening the chance of running into a problem down the road.

What types of furnaces are there?

As it’s known, a furnace is a machine that produces heat and distributes it throughout a home. While all furnaces carry out the same function, they don’t necessarily run on the same “fuel” to get the job accomplished. Here are a few variations that are found in many homes across the country:

  • Natural Gas. These furnaces are one of the most economical choices, as natural gas is one of the cheapest forms of energy to use and maintain. More than half of the homes in the northeast use natural gas to heat their humble abodes.

  • Oil. Oil is another broadly-used form of fuel in the northeast. Oil-based furnaces are a bit less efficient than natural gas and tend to cost more.

  • Electric. Electric furnaces are often the cheapest to purchase and tend to last longer. But the cost of the power to run the unit is often more expensive than gas — so be prepared if you receive a steep energy bill.

Is a furnace different from a water heater?

Yes! Simply put, a water heater is just for H2O, making it a part of your plumbing system, not your heating system. That’s why you can turn off your furnace in the summertime and still reap the benefit of hot water at your fingertips. Additionally, a water heater makes sure that any H2O that heads to your sinks, dishwasher, shower, and more come out as warm as you desire.

While on the topic of water heaters versus furnaces, it’s important to mention that a boiler does the work of a water heater and a furnace simultaneously; consider it a hybrid of both units

How does a furnace warm my home?

In short, it creates heat and disperses it throughout your home. All the elements that go into the process are determined by the type of furnace you have.

For instance, a gas furnace has a pilot light that ignites burners in the unit to produce heat. An electric furnace doesn’t have a pilot light but instead uses an electric current that passes through conductive coils to create heat. And an oil furnace delivers oil from a tank, where it is then converted to heat in the furnace.

Furthermore, furnaces are usually known as “forced air” units. Once they create the heat you desire, a fan blows it through ducts that reach the vents in your home.

Why is ductwork important?

Ductwork is the network of ducts and vents that help warm air travel from your furnace to the various different rooms in your home. Additionally, ductwork ties everything together and is one of the final essential pieces to the home comfort puzzle.

If you notice your energy bill is spiking, it may signal that something is wrong with your ductwork. There may be cracks in the ducts, allowing hot air to leak out before making it to the vents. No matter what you suspect may be the root of the problem, it may be worth having a professional come and do an inspection.

For more information on how to keep your furnace in working order, or if you run into a problem with your unit, contact Quality Degree, Inc. at (610) 600-1108.