Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Furnace Maintenance’

Here’s Why Your Furnace Is Faltering

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Now that winter is in full swing, the last thing you’d want is a faltering furnace. There are numerous things that can cause a furnace to malfunction, and luckily, there are many things that can be done to reverse it. So, if you have found yourself dealing with this type of situation, keep reading because today we will be discussing what causes a furnace to become inefficient or ineffective and what you can do to help!

Continue Reading

Do I Need to Replace My Furnace?

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Most homeowners don’t look at replacing a furnace as a welcome event, but the truth is that furnace replacement in Washington, DC, offers the opportunity for you and your home to gain better comfort and energy efficiency, maybe more than you’ve had in a long time. However, replacing a furnace is a big decision, and there are some important factors you should review with a heating expert from Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., before moving ahead:

How is your current furnace’s energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency is the key to staying on budget each winter. How has your current furnace been performing? Have you seen your bills rise but you haven’t changed how you use your furnace? Today’s furnaces are very energy efficient, with some models reaching AFUE ratings of 95%. A furnace that is over 10 years of age will have trouble meeting today’s energy efficiency standards, so it may be worth taking a look at what a newer, more efficient unit can do for you and your home.

How old is your current furnace?

Age makes a big difference with large, electro-mechanical systems like a furnace. The average combustion furnace has a lifespan of 15-20 years (electric furnaces have average lifespans of 20-30 years) – how old is your current furnace? As furnaces age, components tend to break down more and more frequently. If your furnace has reached its maturity or gone beyond it, it may be time to consider a replacement.

How many repairs have you made recently?

Another earmark of a furnace that may be near retirement is a furnace that needs, or has needed, a great deal of repair to stay operational. It’s normal to have to do some repairs to your furnace over its life, but if you are keeping your furnace alive only through multiple, needed repairs, your money may be better spent on a new, reliable system.

Working with a heating professional can help you sort out whether or not it’s time for a replacement furnace in Washington DC. The heating experts at Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc., are here to help, so call us today!

Continue Reading

Washington DC Heating Tip: How to Get My Furnace Ready for Winter

Monday, October 8th, 2012

If your Washington DC home is too cold, the first place to look to is your furnace, which may not be working correctly. Furnaces are like any other piece of mechanical equipment. They need to be maintained and serviced on a regular basis to ensure they are working at peak efficiency and warming your entire home at your desired comfort level.

First of all, check and see when you last had your furnace serviced. If it has been over one year ago, you should schedule a maintenance inspection from your local Washington DC heating and cooling professional. And when you make that appointment, ask about service agreements and getting on a regular maintenance schedule. Most heating and cooling contractors offer service agreement plans which include furnace and air conditioning check-ups on an annual basis.

Okay, so you know who to call for maintenance but what can you do yourself? First of all, give your furnace a little “help” by checking the vents and returns throughout the house. Ensure that there are no obstructions or blockages such as rugs, clothing, furniture, etc. You need to have unobstructed paths for your heated and return air to flow. The more congested the path, the harder your furnace will have to work. And while you’re at it, make sure your vents are open or closed, depending on how much you use your rooms. For example, if you have an extra bedroom that doesn’t need to be heated, closed off the vent or close the damper in the ductwork. The heated air will be diverted to other parts of your home where it is needed.

You can also help the airflow by vacuuming the vent cover or removing it and vacuuming any of the ductwork that you can easily get to.

Another maintenance function that you can perform is cleaning or replacing the furnace filter. Depending on the size of your home and its air quality (occupants, pets, etc.), you may want to clean or replace your air filter every one to three months. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and can put contaminants like dirt and dust right back into your air system. If you don’t know how to replace your air filter, consult the furnace owner’s manual or go online to learn more. If your furnace uses an electrostatic air filter, it will need to be removed and cleaned, either by using a hose or with soapy water and a hose. Make sure you let it dry before re-installing it.

Once you have done what you can, let Polar Bear Air Conditioning and Heating take over from there. We are licensed and trained to inspect your furnace and ensure that it is in peak operating condition.

Continue Reading

Things You Should Have Inspected: A Tip from Capitol Hill

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Life would be great on Capitol Hill if we could just depend on things to work and last without requiring any sort maintenance or upkeep. Unfortunately, that is not the case. As good as modern manufacturing and engineering are, our devices, appliances and machines still need attention in order to stay in peak condition.

The Body Is a Machine

To illustrate this, think about the human body. We put a lot of wear and tear on ourselves, which can lead to minor illnesses, injuries and the like, especially when combined with the effects of aging. One way we attempt to stay ahead of the game is to get an annual physical. Once a year, we pay a visit to our doctor to make sure everything is in tip top shape. He checks everything out, lets us know what’s going on, helps us treat anything that may be acting up and then off we go, ready to go for another year.

And So Is Your Furnace!

Likewise, your furnace needs annual attention as well. Although newer electrical furnaces can go up to three years without regular maintenance, gas and oil models should be inspected every year, as should older systems. During an annual inspection, an HVAC professional will:

  • Clean out fuel lines, keeping every flowing freely and efficiently.
  • Check for parts that are wearing out or need to be replaced.
  • Clean and inspect the heating ductwork as well as the vents.

These simple and routine maintenance tasks can extend the life of your furnace by years, keeping your home warm and your heating costs low.

Annual inspections and maintenance are important for health and longevity, both for you and your furnace. You can even schedule your physical and your furnace inspection around the same time so you don’t forget. Make an appointment for your car while you’re at it, too.

Continue Reading

HVAC Maintenance the Whole Family Should Know: Some Pointers from Washington

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

If you think the most important thing a heating and cooling (HVAC) system can do in your Washington home is to provide indoor comfort, you are right. But there is another thing an HVAC system does that is very important and it affects your entire family. It provides a safe indoor environment, too.

Besides warmth in the winter, a finely-tuned HVAC system can clean and filter the air you breathe. That’s important to people who suffer from allergies and is especially important for minimizing the spread of germs that cause colds and the flu. The key phrase in this paragraph is finely-tuned. If your HVAC system is not working correctly – out of tune – it can cost you a great deal in monthly utility bills and can be harmful to your health.

It is important for you and your family members to understand the basics of HVAC system maintenance so you can all understand the symptoms of improper maintenance and its consequences. For example, if anyone in your home is suffering from flu-like symptoms or are constantly drowsy or listless, they may be suffering from the a silent killer: poisonous carbon monoxide gas. This gas is formed during incomplete combustion of fossil oils like natural or propane gas. A malfunctioning furnace can emit carbon monoxide gases and you may never even realize it, until it is too late. Long-term exposure to the gas can cause brain damage and/or chronic sleepiness. It some cases, it can even cause death.

You may be able to diagnose the problem, but you aren’t qualified to test and repair a furnace that is creating deadly carbon monoxide gas. Your best bet is to call a qualified HVAC contractor who can diagnose the furnace and offer repair or replacement suggestions. But there are things you can do to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide gas.

Check all exhaust vents, like chimneys and flues for any blockages. A blocked or partially blocked vent can cause the build-up of carbon monoxide gas. And never, EVER, use a gas or propane powered heater in an unvented area of your home. These types of heaters create various levels of carbon monoxide gas that needs to be circulated out of each room and replaced with clean, fresh air. So, your family can actively ensure that there is no debris, bird’s nests, animals, leaves, or snow in the ventilation system.

You can also “help” your HVAC system by keeping vents clean by vacuuming dirty vent grilles and, in general, keeping the home clean. The cleaner the home, the easier it is for your furnace to do its job and the easier it will be for you and your family will breathe. These are a few easy maintenance tips will keep you and your family warm – and safe – this fall and winter.

Continue Reading

How to Get Your DC House Ready for Fall

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Now that you have put the lawnmower away for the year and pulled the leaf rakes and blowers out of your garage, you know it is also time to make plans to get your DC house ready for the colder temperatures, too. Getting ready for the fall means sealing up your home a little tighter (but not too tight) and making sure all of your heating equipment is in peak working order.

It’s a good idea to make a mental or physical checklist of everything that needs to be done – and why it needs to be done. Here are some basic tips on how to get your house ready for fall. Let’s first look at ways to assist your heating system to do its job and then look at ways to keep your heating system working efficiently.

First, check all areas of the home where there may be heat loss. Replacing screen windows and screened doors with glass windows and storm doors is the first logical step. Keep all of your screens together and store them in an area that’s convenient to access next spring. Check all of the caulking and weather stripping around windows, doors, roof vents, chimney stacks, etc. You may need to remove older caulk and weather stripping and replace it if it is chipped, cracked, or missing.

  • Make a visual inspection of the ductwork in your house. Ensure there are no openings between joints. Keep a roll of duct tape with you to seal off any obvious gaps, even after you have closed or repaired them. It never hurts to use a little duct tape.
  • Check all of your vents and returns for any obstructions or debris. Move furniture or carpeting away from the vents and returns.

Okay, you’ve done a good job of checking your house for leakage. Now let’s check your furnace for ways to keep it running efficiently. Besides providing warmth and comfort to people in your home, a properly tuned furnace will run more efficiently and use less energy – keeping your utility bills down.

Inspect your furnace filter. Since you will be turning your furnace on for the first time in a few months, you may want to replace the filter in the air handling unit which is connected to your furnace through a plenum. Chances are, the filter will need to be replaced and the timing would be right to do it while getting your house ready for fall. If you have a removable electronic filter, give a thorough washing with a soapy solution and rinse it out. Make sure it is dry before putting it back in the air handling unit.

  • Visually inspect the pilot flame in your furnace. The flame should be a bright blue with a slight shade of yellow on the tip. If it is not, there may be incomplete combustion inside your furnace, which should be checked immediately. Call a heating contractor to schedule an inspection.
  • Ensure there is easy access to your heating system by removing any clothes, boxes, furniture which may have accumulated around it.

The best way to get your heating system ready for the fall is to schedule routine service and maintenance visits from your local heating contractor.  Be safe, warm, and comfortable this fall by taking these easy steps.

Continue Reading