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Your Furnace Check-Up Guide—Repair or Replace?

The temperature is dropping, and that classic Illinois winter is settling in. This means it’s time for you to move all of your winter clothes to the front of your closet, take your rain boots out of your garage, and prepare your home heating system.

When it comes to prepping your furnace, it's best to turn it on and test it before you are in dire need of heat. This way, if there is a problem, you are able to address it before the cold front rolls around. So, go to your thermostat and turn your heat on. Let it run for a while. If you notice any of the following, make sure to follow the recommended course of repair or replacement so your heater is ready when the winter weather shows up.

Does Your Furnace Need Repair or Replacement?

Repair

If you start to notice any of the below complications, your furnace needs repair:

  1. You smell a burning odor. A persistent smell of burning rubber or plastic indicates that you have a mechanical malfunction. Never ignore any unusual burning scents, as your system could completely breakdown if this is not addressed in a timely fashion. Contact Bishop Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, Inc. for your furnace repair.

  2. You hear persistent, unusual noises. When you have a loose part in your furnace, clanking, banging, and screeching can occur. You will need a professional heating technician to resecure the nuts and bolts of your system.

  3. Your home is dustier than normal. If you all of a sudden have to constantly clear dust from your home, you probably need a new furnace filter. Furnace filters should be replaced at least every 90 days; however, it is recommended to replace them every 30 days to ensure your indoor air quality remains uncompromised by built-up bacteria, dust, and dander.

  4. Your pilot light is flickering. Your pilot light is responsible for igniting the main burner in your furnace. If your pilot light is flashing on and off, or flickering, your thermocouple is likely malfunctioning. A thermocouple is a heat-sensitive device that keeps your gas valve open, so it can spark a flame. When your pilot light is on the fritz, your gas supply is uneven, and your thermocouple needs adjusting. Contact a professional heating technician for this adjustment.

  5. Your furnace is struggling to turn on. If your furnace is not producing any heat, it may have no fuel, a broken thermostat, or an overheated motor. These are all issues you can solve solo! If the gas valve on your furnace is shut, you’ve located the source of your problem. Simply replenish your gas tank with fuel. If your gas tank is full, and this was not the issue, go to your thermostat and make sure it is on the correct setting for heat. If it is, crank the thermostat up 5 degrees. This will start a heating cycle and should resolve your heater woes; however, if you are not feeling any warm air coming through your vents, you need to go take a look at your motor. If your furnace’s motor is overheating, it will constantly shift on and off. To see if this is the source of your problem, hit the reset button on your furnace. This should allow the system to cool down. After about 30 minutes, turn your motor back on. At this point, if your heater is still failing, contact Bishop Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, Inc. for heater diagnostics and repair.

Replacement

If your furnace reveals any of the following symptoms, it is time to replace your heater:

  1. You’ve had it for over 10 years. Your furnace is no longer working efficiently if you installed it over 10 years ago. Its outdated energy rating is causing your utility bills to rise while reducing its effectiveness. Even if your system is still functioning, the inherent wear and tear will lead to a breakdown soon. Don’t get stuck without heat, replace your furnace before it dies.

  2. You have had several repairs in a short amount of time. If you are constantly calling for repairs on your furnace, it is time to replace it. Go back and look at your service receipts. If you have spent over 50% the cost of a new unit on repairs for your current furnace—it is time for an upgrade.

  3. Your system is running short heating cycles. If your furnace is shutting on and off, running short heating cycles, it is likely overheating. When your system overheats, it is telling you it is overworked and headed for a breakdown. Contact an HVAC technician to install a new furnace in your home.

For all of your furnace repairs, replacements, and installations call Bishop Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, Inc., at (847) 380-8053. We will get your heater back up and running, and tailor it to your needs.

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