Why isn’t my furnace generating heat?
As a trusted heating repair professional in the greater Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Bucks County areas, we get many questions about heating repair and heating maintenance. HVAC Philly has gathered together the most frequently asked questions regarding heating repair and maintenance and have created a series to provide expert advice and answers to all of your typical and not so typical questions.
A typical question we hear at HVAC Philly during the winter season is “Why isn’t my furnace blowing warm air?” or “why isn’t my furnace generating heat?”.
Follow along with the team at HVAC Philly of the greater Philadelphia area while we discuss the most common causes!
The Many Causes of Furnaces Not Heating
There are many possibilities, because of that HVAC Philly is going to try to touch on them all, however, if you’re still confused or don’t see an obvious cause feel free to contact an HVAC Philly expert online.
The most common causes include:
A dirty air filter.
You’ll notice that a large portion of the potential causes deal with various forms of airflow restriction. This is because when airflow is obstructed in a heating system it causes a) heated air to not move properly, and b) creates pressure problems in the unit. So be sure to check your filter first! It’s an easy fix to handle all on your own.
Control mistakes. Sometimes the brush of an elbow or even a child “playing” around, can be the cause. Before you shell out for a furnace repair call, be sure to ensure your settings are correct and that your fan is set to “on.”
Blocked vents. Vents blocked by cloth, furniture, dust, and grime, or vermin can all cause the issues we mentioned in the air filter description. Familiarize yourself with the location of all of your vents so you can check them fast if you have a heat generation issue.
Blower motor failure.
No blower motor, no blowing warm air. Blower motor failure is hard to work out on your own. It is best to call in an HVAC Philly professional for this one.
It’s possible that your ducts have holes, dents, or other leak-causing problems. If you haven’t had your ducts checked in a few years, you should schedule an inspection. Just one less thing to worry about, and you’ll get an energy-efficiency boost for your troubles.
Short-cycling. An incorrectly sized or overheating system can cause short-cycling, meaning the furnace only kicks on for a couple minutes at a time at best. Both a too large and a too small furnace can cause this issue.
Pilot not lit. If you have a gas furnace it’s wise to check your pilot if you’re not getting any warm air. A deactivated pilot can cause the furnace to heat poorly, or with modern furnace, it’ll cause them to shut down completely.
Do I need to clean my vent covers, how, and how often?
HVAC Philly, heating repair and maintenance experts in the greater Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery County, PA gives an emphatic, YES, to that question. Not only for the obvious aesthetic reasons, but most importantly the fact that dirty vents indicate a need for a change in your filter, and an increased distribution of allergens throughout your home.
So then how do I go about cleaning my vents, and how often?
HVAC Philly offers simple steps that will not only keep vents in your Philadelphia home looking great but also reduce allergens and increase the efficiency of your A/C and heating unit all at the same time. Help create a cleaner breathing environment for you and your family.
Change the filter
- Pick a standing date to change your filter, say the first of every month, it will be easy to remember or write on the filter the date you changed it. That way, nothing’s left to guesswork.
Clean the vents
Before cleaning vents, turn off the heat. If ceiling vents are particularly dirty, protect furniture by covering the area below the vent with a sheet. You also might want to wear a baseball cap to keep falling dust out of your eyes and hair.
Next, vacuum vents using a dusting brush attachment or a microfiber extendible duster. Don’t have either? Simply wipe with a dry microfiber cloth or a slightly damp Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
Do not use water or other cleaning products because they can easily smear the dust onto the walls or ceilings and you’ll end up with an even bigger mess.
Twice a year
Before cleaning vent covers, turn off the heat/A/C.
Remove the smaller vent covers by unscrewing the screws in each corner. The covers will probably be full of dust on the inside and the outside. To clean, place the covers in a sink filled with hot, soapy water and wash with a microfiber cloth.
Use just a small amount of dish detergent, and don’t soak vent covers too long or rub too hard as the paint could come off. Then you’ll have a much bigger project on your hands.
Some of the dirt may be oily, depending on the type of heat you have in your house, if you burn lots of candles or if the vent is in the kitchen. Cut through oily residue with rubbing alcohol. Just remember to rub lightly so you don’t damage the paint.
Because of its size, you may have to clean the larger intake cover outside or in the bathtub. Just follow the same directions.
One last point: Make sure the covers are completely dry before re-installing them, otherwise dust particles will cling to the vent slats.
A final light wipe with a microfiber cloth will remove water spots and have vent covers looking perfect.
Heating Repair and Maintenance in the greater Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery County, PA areas.