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Furnaces and Heaters

Heater Repair

Don't get overheated, here's the help you need for your furnace and heater repairs

I can still remember the joy I felt when our old furnace fired up on all six cylinders (a.k.a. burners) and roared to life. I couldn't wait to see the expression on my wife's face when she felt the heat coming into our freezing three-bedroom condo.

The night before had been a cold one. The inside temperature had dropped to 57 degrees, and it was time to turn on the heat. Unfortunately, nothing turned on that dark and frigid morning.

Home Heater Repair photo

After troubleshooting things like the thermostat and gas supply, it was time to have a look inside the furnace.

At 28 years old, it was an oldie but a goodie. It was really dusty though. Really dusty...So much so that the flame sensor (the key part of the furnace thermocouple) device, had become covered in years of filth comprised of things I'll never be able to describe..

Needless to say, it couldn't do its job of detecting heat from the pilot and turning on the gas to the burners. It's a sensor after's a bit like asking you to tell if a sunny sidewalk is hot through your shoes!

Happily, all it took was a quick cleaning and tapping of this small metal sensor, and we were up and running again... at least for that day.

As it turned out, while carefully cleaning the innards of our ancient machine got us warmth that morning, it did nothing for an underlying problem that only a professional technician could diagnose: a faulty gas supply valve, which had simply pooped out from age.

The technician concluded my cleaning (and incidental bumping), may have sprung it into life one final time. But in the end, it was a heater repair I was glad I called in to get help. My time was not worth the troubleshooting or tracking down a hard-to-find part. The 170 bucks for the job and part gave us reliable heat for the remaining years we lived there.

Today's forced-air heating systems consist of a furnace heating the air, a large blower (motor-powered fan) for circulation, and a maze of air ducts going throughout your hometo deliver the heated air.

A return air vent that's attached to a separate system of air ducts is in place to bring back the air for re-heating by your furnace.

Home heater repair often comes when you most need to heat your home, just like us that cold winter morning.

The crummy part is that most furnace and heater repairs require a service professional once you've checked the basics.

The good news is that you can avoid a major heater repair through basic seasonal maintenance, routine cleaning, filter replacements and other adjustments.

It's not completely black and white of course because symptoms like a noisy furnace can be due to a little lack of TLC on your part, needing a simple tune-up or something more dramatic, like a broken component somewhere in the system.

All of this stuff helps give your central heating system a longer life and less need for repair. The most noticeable benefit to you is the cozy, warm house you have when it's really cold outside.

Gas furnace repair can be reduced by keeping the thermocouple, pilot and burner tubes clean. The same is true for your furnace heat exchanger. Limit your oil furnace repair by doing tasks like cleaning the oil burners and keeping them well-oiled and checking the voltage output of your furnace transformer.

Things can go wrong your system such as broken belts, fan motor failure or thermostat problems. Luckily these issues are rare...but they do happen because even a blue moon comes around sometimes, right?

My goal is to give you some basic furnace and heater repair tips as well as provide many of the maintenance items you can do to help keep your home heating system running so you can live comfortably.

See also...

Gas Fireplace Maintenance
If you use your gas fireplace to warm your house, there's few things you should do to keep it running well each season. Avoid repairs and extend the working life of your fireplace with these easy-to-do tips.