Your thermostat should give you a warning when the batteries are low and make sure you replace them.
A friend of ours went on vacation and when we went to check on their home a few days later it felt like an oven. It was 120 degrees inside. It turns out that with some furnaces if they are running when the batteries die then the furnace just keeps running as it does not know to turn off.
If this happened to your house it can cause all kinds of problems. The toilet is likely to leak as the wax rings that provide the seals will melt. There can be other issues and even the possibility of an explosion so make sure you change your batteries.
The typical life of a furnace filter is 3 months. This can vary based on how much the fan is running, how dirty the ducts are, and the lifestyle of the tenant/homeowners. Pet hair and dander can be a significant factor as well. The best way to gauge how often the furnace filter needs to be changed is to check it often and see how dirty it gets.
You should never let the filter get to the point when you hold it up to the light and only 50% of the light is visible looking through the filter.
A good rule of thumb if you live in Denver, CO is to replace the filter in the fall when the furnace first starts running a fair amount. Replace it again at the end of January and if you forget to check it again at least you are changing it twice a year and this should be good enough to make sure it is pretty clean. If you have a two stage high efficiency furnace the fan will tend to run more often so you may want to change it January first and again in Mid March.
If you have central air conditioning, then it’s a good idea to check the filter monthly in the summer to make sure it is clean. Changing every 2-3 months is usually sufficient.
It is more important to check and replace the filter than to pay extra for an expensive filter you only change once a year. Having a clean filter will extend the life of your furnace and can save you a significant amount of money by following a maintenance schedule.
Is your furnace not starting up and maybe making a funny sound like it is trying to start up? Perhaps you have shut it off and then turned back on. Maybe you just turned the fan on and it works. You may be in need of a new induced draft motor or draft inducer motor. This motor is what creates a draft through the heat exchanger. Air and gas are drawn through the front of the furnace and conveyed to the flue connector. What you have is a whole assembly. In most cases the entire assembly is what gets replaced. In some rare cases you can replace just the motor which is cheaper but takes longer to do. When replacing the assembly it is important to replace the gasket that goes between the assembly and the heat exchanger manifold. The gasket is usually fiberglass or fire rated foam. Modern furnaces have this motor as well the circulating or blower motor. Out of the 2 motors, the inducer motor typically is the one that fails first. The bearings start to wear out making the operation noisier and eventually they fail and the motor stops turning. I have seen motors with noisy bearings run for a long time (years) and in other cases no increased noise is noticed before the motor fails.
The induced draft assembly is typically made of steel or metals such as the one in the picture.
They often develop rust and wear out. Replacing the draft inducer motor assembly is the only way your furnace will operate.
How much should I expect to pay to replace my draft inducer motor assembly?
Depending on the make and model expect to pay between $500 and $800 for residential gas furnaces. At Tobin you can count on us to tell you what the problem is and give you a fair reasonable price ti install a new draft induced motor.
Give us a call for a quote if you are in the Denver Metro area 303.893.5675
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A two stage furnace has 2 separate firing rates with the lower one operating at about 40% of the full rate. When your furnace kicks in it will start at the lower more efficient rate for 5 to 10 minutes. If your heat has not warmed up to where it was set during this time then the burner will switch to the higher firing rate to meet your heating needs. The 2 stage system is more efficient than a 1 stage furnace as the lower firing rate provides a better overall temperature by running the furnace more often at the lower rate. Thus, air is circulated more frequently which provides a more balanced room temperature throughout the home.
In many cases an upgrade from a basic 80% efficient furnace to a 2 stage is not a significant cost upgrade, usually around $300. These furnaces control the staging independent of the thermostat which works in most cases when people are not setting their set point back significantly. If you do set the temperature back to save energy it is better to upgrade to a furnace that the staging is controlled by the thermostat. These furnaces typically cost $600-800 more. In order to make it a true 2 stage, a 2 stage thermostat and additional wires need to be run. In cases when additional wires cannot be run there are thermostats available that although they are more expensive they can perform the furnace control over just 2 wires. There are also wireless thermostats that do the same they just are not wi fi capable.
The reason you need a 2 stage thermostat to control the staging is because when you set the thermostat back more than 3 degrees you want the furnace to fire in high stage to make up the 3 degrees quickly.
Most of the time your furnace is set to hold a given temperature for a long time for instance at night when you are sleeping. In this case, when the furnace gets a call for heat it only needs to make up a 1/2 to 1 degree and this is when the furnace will be in the low or first stage and give you longer run times for more even heating.