Carolina Climate Control Blog: Posts Tagged ‘furnace installation’

Why Is My Furnace Tripping the Breaker? (And Other Common Heating Issue Questions Answered)

Tuesday, February 1st, 2022

If you’re like most people, you probably switch your thermostat to heat when your house gets below 64 degrees Fahrenheit. You probably set your heat to about 65 to 70 degrees. This is just enough to keep you and your family comfortable during the winter months.


But, what happens if something goes wrong with your furnace? Why would a furnace tripping the breaker be a problem?


The bad news is that furnaces can develop many different issues. The good news is that most of them are easily resolved. 


Read on to learn what kind of furnace repair you might need right now.



Furnace Tripping the Breaker



There are two major reasons why the furnace might trip a breaker. Both indicate that there’s a problem with the electrical circuits in your home.


The first possible issue is the breaker itself. This could be because the breaker is old or faulty. It could also be that the breaker isn’t powerful enough to support the furnace.


The other possible issue is the furnace. It might be that the furnace needs more electricity than the breaker can handle. You might need either a smaller furnace or a stronger breaker.



Heating System Won’t Switch On



There are many reasons why a heating system wouldn’t turn on at all. The first, of course, is that the breaker tripped the last time the furnace turned on. This prevents electricity from getting to the furnace in the first place.


It could also be an issue of a short in a wire somewhere. This prevents enough electricity from getting to the furnace to turn it on.


Other issues might include faulty parts or an open service door to the furnace.



Low Airflow



Many internal issues cause a low airflow from your heating system. For this reason, it’s very common among heater issues. Causes range from simple issues like a closed vent to more complicated issues like a failing fan motor.


A closed vent is something you can check and fix yourself, so it’s, fortunately, the cheapest issue to fix. 


Clogs in the vents also prevent air from flowing as well. This issue, however, usually requires professional help to resolve.


Your furnace repair professionals might also check the fan motor to make sure it’s not failing. If it isn’t spinning as fast as it should, you may need a new motor.



Your Furnace Blows Cool Air



Also among the common heating issues is when your HVAC blows cold air instead of hot. The good news is that this indicates that the airflow and fan motor are both fine. The bad news is that this means your furnace isn’t producing heat.


This is usually the result of faulty parts. A good example of this is the pilot light failing. The pilot light is responsible for creating the small flames that generate the heat in the furnace.


If this piece doesn’t work, then you get a furnace that only blows cool air instead of hot.



Burning Smell



This one may or may not be a major issue with your heating system. If you only notice this the first one or two times you turn your furnace on for the winter, then it’s probably alright. The furnace just has some dust in it from the winter.


However, if the smell seems very strong or persists after that, then you may need to have a look at your furnace. This could mean faulty parts or bad wiring. If these issues continue, they could result in an electrical fire.


It’s best to have these issues resolved quickly before that happens.



Short Cycling



Short cycling refers to when your furnace turns on only to turn back off quickly. This is bad for your furnace since it causes more wear on its parts.  There are also many reasons why this might happen.


For example, if your thermostat is right under a vent, this can trick it into thinking that your house is warming up faster than it is. This causes it to turn the furnace off faster than it should. 


It might also be because of faulty parts. Furnaces have built-in safety features to prevent gas leaks and electrical fires. These activate when a problem is detected with a part.



Detecting Carbon Monoxide



If you have a gas furnace, then you should have a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is odorless and tasteless, so the human brain can’t detect it. However, it’s also deadly to those who have prolonged exposure to it. 


Carbon monoxide is produced by your furnace but is supposed to be funneled out by a chimney. This releases the deadly gas into the air and away from human lungs instead of through your home for you to breathe in.


If your detector is going off frequently, you might have a clog in that chimney.



Noisy Heating System



This issue is a matter of trusting your instincts. You know what your heating system sounds like when it runs. That being said, there are many reasons why a furnace would suddenly become noisy. 


For example, there may be a loose part inside of your furnace. When the fan blows, it shakes and rattles that loose part. This vibration travels through the vents and makes your heating system seem quite loud.


If this is the case, it’s best to get an expert out to fix the issue as soon as possible. These issues only get worse if they’re allowed to go on and soon you’ll be dealing with something more serious than a loose part.



Get Your Heating Issues Fixed Today



Whether you have a furnace tripping the breaker or some other issue, it’s always best to resolve it as soon as you can. This prevents the problem from getting worse and costs more to fix.


And the best place to get high-quality HVAC service is right here at Carolina Climate Control. We’re among the best in the business for both AC and heater repair. 


Contact us today and see how we can keep you and your family comfortable this winter.


Continue Reading

Why Is My Furnace Blowing Cold Air?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

Furnace problems are never welcome. A furnace that has stopped working or is blowing cold air is frustratingly inconvenient.


A lot of things can cause your furnace to behave strangely. This blog will look at some of the most common furnace problems, how you can troubleshoot them, and what you can do to fix them.



Check the Thermostat



Your thermostat determines the temperature in your home and configures your furnace to reach the desired room temperature. Sometimes your thermostat can be set incorrectly, which will cause your furnace to blow cold air.



Check to see if your thermostat is set to heat. If it’s set to cool, that may be the problem. You’ll also want to make sure that your thermostat is set to “Auto” and not “On.” The auto setting configures your fan to stop blowing when the desired temperature is reached. 



If it’s set to on, this will keep the fan running even when the furnace is off, which means it’ll be blowing cold air.



The Furnace Isn’t Warmed Up



If you notice your furnace blowing cold air, it could simply need more time to warm up. Some furnaces need upwards of 15 minutes to reach maximum potential. This could also be the case on colder days when the outside air temperature dips below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. 



Give your furnace time to warm up for at least 15 minutes. If your furnace is still blowing cold air after 15 minutes, call a professional to diagnose the problem.



The Filter Is Dirty



The air filter from your heating and cooling system will catch dust, dirt, and debris. If your air filter is clogged, it can limit airflow to your furnace, which can cause it to overheat and shut off.


Be sure to check your filter regularly for any dirt or damage. If your furnace is blowing cold air, check the furnace to see if debris are caught in it. If there are, replacing your air filter should get warm air blowing again.



Condensate Lines Are Clogged



Condensate lines move water condensation away from your furnace. If there’s water present near the igniter, it will cause an ignition failure, which could cause your furnace to blow cold air. 



Your condensate lines can clog due to mold or other debris. Make sure to drain the condensate lines. If this seems like too much for you to handle, call a professional HVAC technician and have them take a look at the problem.



Check Your Ducts for Damage



Make sure to check your ductwork. If there is damage to your ductwork, this could cause warm air to escape, which will leave some rooms with cold air. This could be due to the age of your system, which can rust over time, or it could be from small rodents or other animals chewing through the ducts.



Make sure to inspect the ducts for any holes or damage. You can seal damaged ducts with tape or replace the damaged sections.



Check the Gas Supply



If your furnace runs on gas and is blowing cold air, check the gas lines or supply. You may be running low on gas, which means the pilot light keeps going out. Or, you may have damage to the gas line that supplies your furnace. 



The good news is that if there’s a fault with the gas supply, your furnace will automatically shut off. Have a professional check the gas lines and the gas supply for any problems.



Furnace Is Overheating



Most modern furnaces have safety features to prevent severe damage or disasters from happening. If your furnace is not working correctly, it will shut down on its own. Here are the main reasons why a furnace can overheat and shut off.



Mechanical Failure



Furnaces have many moving parts in order for them to operate. If one of these moving parts fails, it can make your furnace run harder, which can ultimately cause it to overheat. If you believe your furnace is failing due to a mechanical issue, have a professional HVAC technician inspect your furnace for any problems.



Clogged Filter



A clogged filter is one of the more common furnace problems. When your air filter is clogged, your furnace will be working harder than expected. If it runs too hard, it can potentially overheat and shut down on its own. 



Preventative maintenance is critical for your furnace to run optimally. Depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, be sure to inspect and replace your air filter every 3-6 months. Doing this can prevent thousands of dollars in repair.






Even with the best preventative maintenance schedule, your furnace can still overheat due to age-related internal failures. Age will lead to corrosion or worn parts. Over time, your furnace will need parts replaced to keep it running correctly. 



If this happens, you’ll have to ask yourself what the most cost-effective route to take is when it comes to your furnace issues. Failing internal parts in your furnace can range from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. 



If that’s the case, you may want to replace the entire furnace rather than have it repaired.


What to Do if It’s Still Blowing Cold Air



There’s nothing worse than a furnace blowing cold air on a cold night. The best thing is to look over all the tips we’ve gone over and diagnose the problem accordingly. 



Addressing these issues first will most likely solve your problems. If you’ve addressed all of these common furnace issues and you’re still having problems, you’ll need to reach out to an HVAC company and they can help. 



We specialize in all heating systems such as furnaces, heat pumps, and geothermal heating.


Give us a call and one of our technicians can help you out right away!

Continue Reading

The Difference Between Air Handlers And Furnaces, What You Need To Know

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

In all the jargon and technical details surrounding the installation of HVAC systems in your home, it’s easy to get mixed up on which devices do what.


This applies particularly when it comes to the difference between equipment that heats and equipment that cools a home. 


Sometimes the devices that do either are highly specific to their task, but other times, not quite, and they can serve both cooling and heating functions.


A common example of this type of confusion is the distinction between furnaces and air handlers. Both are used in HVAC systems and they even look similar while delivering certain similar functions. 


However, each has their own very particular mechanics and purposes as well, which can easily cause confusion between the two.


Let’s explain the functions, similarities and differences between these two crucial HVAC components and demonstrate how they interact. With this guide you can know which you need and when in your home without getting swamped in technical details.




What A Furnace Does



If you take a close look at the heating system in your home and notice that it has more than four different parts, then you’re probably dealing with a furnace. This vital piece of HVAC installation equipment produces the heat that you use to keep your home warm and toasty during the cold months.


The furnace usually pulls this off by burning some kind of fuel. Fuel types can include wood pellets, literal chunks of wood, coal, fuel oil (heating oil), natural gas and other highly combustible materials. There are also electric furnaces that don’t burn anything at all. Instead, they produce heat through electric resistance and then transmit it throughout your home much like a fuel burning furnace does.


In basic terms, furnaces are a more complex variant of the wood stoves and even chimneys that used to be far more common in older times. They are however usually much more efficient heat convectors and better sealed for minimal heat loss during their convection process.


All furnaces have main components that consist of an internal combustion chamber in which the fuel itself is burned and turned into heat energy and a channeling system that puts the heat into your home’s ventilation system while another part of the furnace installation works at filtering out byproducts.


Then of course there is your home’s thermostat, which is connected to the furnace and activates it if you set it to do so once the ambient temperature falls to a certain level. The opposite also happens when temperature gets high enough, causing the furnace to stop burning more fuel temporarily.


It’s the heat channeling system that we mentioned above which causes the main confusion between furnaces and air handlers. Both of these devices include air channeling mechanisms, but while a furnace also produces heat before channeling it through your home, an air handler simply channels air, whether it’s hot or cold.




What an Air Handler Does



In the case of air handlers, they simply work as air channeling systems for your home’s HVAC ductwork. The air they move may be heated through an electric heat pump that’s installed as an attachment to the handler itself or it may be air that has been cooled by an air conditioning system and is channeled to keep your home cool during hot weather.


In essence, an air handler is a forced air blowing system that includes a powerful fan called a blower, whose job it is to circulate air around pipes in a home. 


This blower thus “handles” your cooled or heated air and this is where the name air handler comes from.


The basic mechanism of these devices is as follows:


  1. The air handler’s blower attaches to a heat pump or an AC system and based on a thermostat’s signals, it either blows heated or cooled air through the ductwork in your home.
  2. In air handlers, a coil filled with refrigerant is placed in the path of the forced air and through this coil, either heat or refrigerated cooling (in AC mode) is infused into the air passing over it. If you’re wondering how the heat part comes in if no heat is being produced by the air handler, bear in mind that the physics of how the refrigerant coil interacts with the trapped heat energy in forced external air does actually produce a heat effect without a combustion process.
  3. Your home is heated or cooled by the air being forced through your home’s ductwork.


Unlike a furnace, air handlers by themselves don’t actually burn fuel to produce heat. They instead work on the dynamics of electric refrigeration and electric coil heating to chill or warm air up as it’s forced into or out of your home.


This can make them extremely inefficient in exceptionally cold climates, while also making them highly useful in warm climates as mechanisms for air cooling.


The Key Difference Between Furnaces and Air Handlers



The most crucial difference between a furnace and an air handler is a furnace actually produces its own heat for channeling while an air handler doesn’t create heat (though some models do provide auxiliary heat). 


Instead, the latter simply distributes heat or cold created by the heat pump or refrigeration coil mechanisms mentioned above.


In exceptionally warm climates, where temperatures almost never fall to uncomfortably cold levels, air handlers are used much more commonly and don’t even connect to heat pumps. Instead, they work only at delivering cool air through an AC coil with internal refrigerant.


Most air handlers however do connect to both a heat pump and an AC coil for the sake of channeling gathered, forced heat from external air or cold as needed for your home’s HVAC system.




How Air Handlers and Furnaces Work Similarly



In both furnaces and air handlers, there will be a blower fan that channels modified air throughout the ductwork in your home. With furnaces, the air is only heated and not cooled before being channeled to warm your home while with air handlers air can either be moderately heated or cooled as needed. 


However, for climates with exceptionally cold winter seasons, the heating power of a furnace is superior to the climate control offered by an air handler.


Another similarity between both furnaces and air handlers is that both are controlled by a thermostat that regulates when they activate and deactivate. 


However, in the case of an air handler, the thermostat can also activate its internal AC mechanism, which a fuel burning furnace doesn’t offer for the reasons already described.




Which One is Right for You?



Generally speaking, if you live in a location with deeply cold winter weather and mild summers, a furnace is a much better option for thorough household heating that’s also cost and energy-efficient. 


If, on the other hand, your regional climate, such as that in the Charleston area and South Carolina in general,  includes mild winters and hot summers, an air handler in combination with a heat pump might be your best option for both AC and moderate home heating.


To understand much more precisely which of these two similar looking systems is right for your specific needs, your best bet is to call in a technician for a professional assessment based on the weather in your state. Carolina Climate Control can help with both expert estimation and installation options.

Continue Reading