Ontario is currently in the midst of heating season, which means your furnace will most likely be working overtime to heat your home over the next few months. The last thing you want to happen right now is for your furnace to suddenly slow down heat production or altogether malfunction. Don’t let a broken-down furnace leave you and your family out in the cold this winter. Keep reading to learn about the most common furnace issues and how to fix them.
A lot of the time furnace repair services are called in to make simple repairs that you can do yourself at home—this happens more often than you might think. For that reason, it’s important to educate yourself on the most common furnace issues you could encounter and what to do about them. However, if you’re uncomfortable tinkering around with the internal and external mechanisms of your furnace, then you should consider scheduling a service appointment with a heating and air conditioning professional instead.
Canadians are all too familiar with the perils of winter and there’s nothing worse than having your furnace break down right in the middle of the season when you need it at top performance the most. Before you reach for the phone and call a repair service, though, look out for these common furnace problems to see if you can fix them yourself.
To fix this issue, you need to first understand the basic mechanical functions of your furnace. Of course, this depends on the type of setup you have and whether your furnace is operated by natural gas, electricity, propane, or oil. If you’re not sure, then you might want to have a professional come and take a look at it.
How to fix: First and foremost, check your thermostat and make sure that the “heat” setting is turned on. You’d be surprised how often homeowners forget to do this!
If your thermostat is already set to “heat”, but your furnace still doesn’t produce any heat, then your next step should be to check the circuit breaker that controls your furnace and make sure that the fuse isn’t blown. It’s possible that the fuse or breaker could have been tripped or accidentally turned off.
You can manually reset the breaker by switching it from the “on” to “off” position and vice versa. Try doing this several times. If your furnace is still not working, then you’ll need to call a repair service because it could be a circuit, wiring, or breaker issue.
When it comes to an underperforming furnace, poor or lack of sufficient airflow is an entirely different beast. You may notice that certain spaces in your home are consistently toasty and warm, whereas other areas consist of seemingly random cold spots. What this means is that your furnace, for one reason or another, isn’t sufficiently or consistently distributing heat throughout your home.
How to fix: If you’re wondering how to fix your furnace if it’s not heating your home properly or to your liking, then the first thing you should do is check that the filter isn’t clogged. A clogged filter is one of the most common and easily fixable furnace problems. Ideally, you should change your furnace filter approximately every 90 days to ensure optimal functionality, keep your home thoroughly heated, and prevent potential fires caused by dust and debris accumulation.
A clean furnace filter also ensures better and safer air quality for you and your family to breathe in. Identify the exact location of your filter as well as the size and type of filter your furnace requires, so that you can easily replace it as part of your unit’s regular maintenance specifications.
Additionally, you should do a walkthrough of your entire dwelling to check the air vents for dust and debris accumulations or any other obstructions that could be impacting the air quality in your home. Make sure that all of the air vents are open and completely unobstructed by furniture or other objects to maximize hot airflow throughout your home.
The heat exchanger is the part of your furnace that heats air as it travels from your furnace directly to the vents throughout your home. There are several reasons that your heat exchanger could malfunction.
How to fix: The most common cause for a heat exchanger malfunction is a clogged furnace filter. If the filter gets too clogged and you neglect to change it regularly, then this can cause the heat exchanger to work in overdrive and shut off automatically. As mentioned, you can fix this problem by changing out your furnace filter every 90 days.
Another cause of heat exchanger malfunction is crack formations that happen over time. Crack formations in your heat exchanger are dangerous because they allow carbon monoxide—also known as the silent killer—to enter into your home. Installing carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home and scheduling regular maintenance appointments can help keep you and your family safe while also maximizing your furnace’s overall functionality and longevity.
Sometimes, something can cause the circuit breaker that controls your furnace to trip, or someone may have accidentally turned it off during a regular maintenance check and neglected to turn it back on.
It’s also possible that the circuit breaker might have blown or been compromised, causing your furnace to stop working.
How to fix: As mentioned, you can try resetting the circuit breaker yourself by turning it off and on or vice versa. Just be sure that you’ve identified the correct circuit breaker and you’re not accidentally toying with another appliance’s power source.
If there’s an internal problem with the circuit breaker, then you should contact an electrician or a professional furnace service provider.
MDM Mechanical is one of the leading HVAC and furnace installation, maintenance, and repair service companies in Ontario. As a family-owned and operated business, we’re happy to provide high-quality and reliable services with a smile. If you’re having furnace issues, contact us today to schedule a service appointment.
Choosing the right boiler system for your home is essential to guaranteeing sufficient heat and water supply throughout your residence. Unfortunately, not all residential boilers are designed or manufactured equally—and neither are all homes. As a result, it takes a lot of detailed research to help you choose the best boiler type for your home. Since there are so many residential boilers currently on the market, how can you be sure that you’re making the right decision?
Your best bet is to hire an HVAC professional with many years of experience to examine your home, your current boiler set up, and make a recommendation based on your heating needs and your budget. Space layout, size (of your home and the boiler), and the number of bathrooms and kitchens all make a big difference in the type of boiler system you’re going to need, so be sure to take all of these factors into serious consideration.
Whether you’re looking to replace or repair your existing boiler or simply need to determine the type of boiler that’s already installed in a property you’re considering purchasing, it’s important to know a little bit about the different types of boiler systems on the market and how they work. That way, you can make a more pragmatic and well-informed decision about your residential boiler system. It’s also a good idea to get multiple professional opinions from trusted companies to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.
There are six types of residential boilers:
Most modern water heaters and residential boilers run on natural gas or propane depending on their geographic location. Homes that are located in large or heavily populated municipalities are typically equipped with natural gas boilers, whereas homes in more rural areas are equipped with propane boilers. A natural gas boiler for your home gets its gas supply through a designated gas line that’s installed beneath the house and connected to the main pipeline that runs through the nearest road.
Since rural properties usually aren’t connected to a main gas line because of how remote they are, propane gas is stored in a large tank located directly outside of the home.
Steam boilers use a tool called a heat exchanger to heat and distribute water evenly throughout your home. The water runs through a pipe system which is connected to a network of radiators throughout your home.
Pressurized hot steam is delivered to the radiators. Condensation is then sent back into the boiler system for reheating and re-cycling.
Electric boilers are one of the most popular types of boiler systems because they’re environmentally friendly and highly efficient when it comes to heating your home quickly. Another benefit is that electric boilers are generally more cost-efficient in terms of unit cost and installation. Since they derive electricity directly from your home, they don’t have to be connected to a main gas line, which is ideal for rural residents. Of course, that also has its downfalls because it could mean a slightly higher monthly electricity bill and if you have a power outage, then you’ll be left without heat in the meantime.
Condensing boilers are also quickly becoming a worldwide standard thanks to their money saving, energy efficiency, and environmentally friendly advantages. They consist of two separate heat exchangers. One heats the water before it’s transported to the radiators in your home. After the water has run through the pipeline in your home, it’s returned to a second exchanger rather than releasing it into the atmosphere as steam. That water is instead returned directly to the boiler and then reused.
Hot water boilers use either one or multiple pumps to distribute hot water to the radiators throughout your home. Hence, this system requires a great deal of pressure, high water volumes, and high temperatures to effectively heat the radiators.
Also referred to as oil-fired boilers by industry experts, oil boilers are more commonly found in rural areas because these regions typically have limited access to natural gas. Oil is stored in a separate tank and is transported to fuel the main boiler system. Hot oil mixed with residential biodiesel is pumped into the main boiler where the water is heated. Hot water is then pumped throughout your home’s piping system. If you have an older oil boiler for your home, you might want to consider changing it out for a more energy-efficient model like a condensing boiler to help minimize your energy bills and your carbon footprint.
Now that you know a little bit about the different types of boiler systems, here are a few factors you should take into consideration before making a final decision:
The size of your home in relation to the size of your boiler system along with the space accommodations you have available to install and store the system matter. You need to make sure that you purchase a boiler system that can efficiently distribute the appropriate amounts of water pressure throughout your home.
Local climate conditions determine how often your boiler system will be used and how frequently it’ll be functioning throughout the year to heat your home. If you happen to live in a region that experiences frigid climates for most of the year, then you need to make sure you have a boiler system that can accommodate that.
Ventilation is also a key component to selecting the right unit because forced air boiler systems require a large open space to allow the collection of air.
It’s important to know if your boiler system has a standard or high efficiency rating so that you can make a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective choice.
Some brands are more reliable and trusted across the HVAC industry than others, so ask your contractor/service provider for recommendations based on your heating and comfort requirements.
Higher-end units typically cost more, but it’s also important to keep your budget in mind when purchasing a boiler system.
Need help selecting the right boiler system for your home?
MDM Mechanical has been providing boiler system installation and maintenance services for residential and commercial property owners in Toronto and the GTA for many years. We’re a family-owned and operated business, so you can trust that we’ll also take good care of your family. Contact us today to get a quote!
Annual rooftop HVAC unit maintenance is a crucial aspect of ensuring optimal performance and a long lifespan for your heating and cooling system. Whether you own or manage a residential or commercial property, hiring a professional and knowledgeable local HVAC technician is the most effective and efficient way to ensure every item on your rooftop unit (RTU) maintenance checklist is thoroughly completed. These annual checkups also provide the technician ample opportunities to better understand the needs of their customers and in turn make appropriate service and product recommendations that maximize their overall comfort level.
The answer to this question is simple. Regular RTU maintenance is important because it helps ensure that your heating and cooling system is always in tiptop working condition and that it’s operating at maximum capacity and efficiency levels. Having an HVAC technician take a look at your unit once a year also makes it easier to identify potential operational issues sooner rather than later, which can save you a great deal of money in the future.
The sooner your technician is able to diagnose and anticipate potential problems, the sooner they can administer preventive actions that protect your unit from extensive damages and system malfunctions.
To guarantee that your unit is always in excellent working condition and maintain its functionality for a long period of time, there are certain measures your technician should include in their rooftop HVAC preventive maintenance checklist.
The air filter impacts the quality of the air you breathe, and its core function is to filter out airborne dust, allergens, and other toxins. A dirty air filter can make it hard for you and anyone else who uses your property to breathe and it can also clog your HVAC unit if it’s not cleaned or replaced on a regular basis. Since it can be hard to get to, you should hire a licensed rooftop HVAC unit maintenance specialist to check, clean, or replace your air filter at least once a year.
It’s also important to check on the internal fan and motor to make sure they’re both properly placed in the center with equal distance on both sides of the housing unit. Over time, the blades can also start to rust due to excessive use and exposure to external elements like snow and rain, so they need to be cleaned or removed and replaced. Other blade damages can include chips, cracks, and extensive dirt buildup. These damages can hinder the functionality of the fan and cause the motor to vibrate and make loud noises, which can sometimes be inaudible and undetectable for rooftop HVAC units. The motor bearings should also be lubricated every six months to guarantee smooth operation and prevent grinding.
The heat exchanger is the part of your HVAC unit that heats the air. It’s a complex system of coils or tubes that are intertwined to allow air to repeatedly flow freely through the unit until it’s heated and then delivered to your space. Since the heated air supply is delivered directly to your space where it’ll inevitably come into contact with anyone who uses your property, it’s important that the heat exchanger is always in optimal working condition. Any minor damages like cracks or rust could contaminate the building’s air supply with toxic gases. The igniter, combustion section, and burners should all be thoroughly inspected to make sure they’re working properly and issue necessary repairs. There are certain warning signs like smoke release, vibration, roaring noises, popping sounds, and flame rollout that indicate if the unit isn’t working as it should.
Both sides of the coils should be flushed and cleaned out at least once a year to ensure maximum performance. Otherwise, dirt and dust buildup can cause the system to slow down and diminish heat transfer across different parts of the unit and it could also produce lower air quality, which you and your employees or guests breathe in.
If the drainage system is clogged with dirt and debris, then water and other liquids won’t be able to properly drain out of the unit, causing backlog and overflow. Not only does this hinder the efficiency of the HVAC unit, but it could also cause potentially irreparable and expensive damages. The unit’s heat transfer capability will also be severely reduced or stop altogether, causing the unit to malfunction. Every HVAC unit comes with a manufacturer’s safe temperature limit. If that limit is exceeded, then the unit itself will automatically shut down and cease to function.
Voltage imbalances can lead to a whole host of imbalances from overheating the motor and other components of the unit to potentially serious safety issues. An overheated motor may be subject to intermittent shutdowns or in some cases, the motor may not sense that it’s being overheated, which means it’ll continue to function but put the safety of the unit at risk of combusting. To prevent this from happening, your HVAC technician should check to make sure that the highest and lowest voltages don’t go over approximately 4% of the lowest voltage at any given time.
Drive belts are subject to regular wear and tear over time and should therefore be checked and replaced at least once a year. If the drive belt becomes too worn down and isn’t replaced as needed, this could cause extensive and potentially expensive damages to the system so it’s better to perform the maintenance as needed.
MDM Mechanical is a family-owned and operated HVAC installation and maintenance business that services residential and commercial properties throughout Toronto and the GTA. We take great pride in delivering only the highest quality work possible at an affordable price for our clients. That’s why our motto is “there’s no shortcut to quality”. Contact us today to book your annual rooftop HVAC unit maintenance service!