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HVAC Troubleshooting Guide

Why your Furnace/AC Isn’t Turning On
Choosing the Right Furnace Filter
How to Locate the Gas Shut-off Valve
A/C Isn’t Cooling – Freon
Carbon Monoxide – Furnace
A/C Maintenance Tips


Why Your Furnace / AC Isn’t Turning On

Calgary furnace repair expert

Outside A/C unit not running?  Furnace won’t kick in on a cold morning? Here are a few things to check before calling ABC Company.

Step 1 – Getting Ready To Do The Job

  • Grab a small flashlight to help see in dark spaces.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the steps below.  If you’re not sure what to do, ABC Company is here to help.

Step 2 – The Things to Check

1. Make Sure the Thermostat Is Set Correctly

  • For AC: Make sure your thermostat is set to COOL.  Then, set the temperature setting to at least 5° below the indoor temperature.  If the AC is working, this will turn it on. Some thermostats have a 3-5-minute delay when you make a selection change, so don’t be alarmed if your AC doesn’t start immediately.
  • For Furnace:  Make sure the thermostat it set to HEAT and the temperature is set high enough to turn on the furnace.

TIP:  In the winter, if the thermostat is set to COOL, change it to HEAT.  This is a commonly forgotten step at the beginning of the heating season.

2. No Power

Both your furnace and AC need power to operate. If neither will operate, check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breakers.  In older homes this is a fuse box while newer homes have a circuit panel. If it’s a fuse box, look for a blown fuse. On a circuit breaker, look for a tripped circuit and flip it to “off” and then back to “on.”

TIP:  Most furnaces and boilers have a switch that looks exactly like a light switch, on or next to the equipment.  This switch must be in the ON position for the furnace or boiler to operate.  Sometimes it can be switched off accidentally.

3. When to Get Professional Service

If none of the home troubleshooting solutions seem to remedy the problem, there may be some component issues requiring a service call from ABC Company.

For more information on why your furnace or AC isn’t turning on, ABC Company is here to help.


Choosing the Right Furnace Filter

Furnace filter being replaced

The main job of the furnace filter is to keep dirt and debris out of the furnace. Their second function is to filter the air circulating throughout your home to reduce dust and allergens that can be harmful to your health.

For information choosing the right furnace filter for your furnace, watch this video or see the basic information below.

Step 1: Know Your Filters

  • Fiberglass or Cellulose Pad: Usually held in a cheap cardboard frame.  Catches most of the larger dust particles which tend to block the heating and cooling coils but does nothing to stop the small particles.
  • Washable/Reusable Filter: Uses a flat plastic or metal foil pad; can be washed with a hose and reinstalled.   This is inconvenient and not very effective.
  • Pleated Polyester Filter: Provides more filtering capacity than a flat filter but won’t catch all allergens.
  • Deep-Pleated, High-Efficiency Air Filter: Custom installed filters that are 4 to 6 inches thick.  Must be changed regularly to maintain air flow and avoid overworking the furnace fan.
  • Polarized Media Air Cleaner: Requires electricity to operate. Air is directed through a low-voltage grid which applies a positive charge on particles in the air stream; particles are attracted to a negatively charged element. This is the best of the best.

Step 2: Know How Effective Furnace Filters Can Be

  • Fiberglass up to 2% effective
  • Washable/reusable up to 6% effective
  • Thin pleated up to 11% effective
  • Deep pleated up to 25% effective
  • Polarized Media Air Cleaner up to 99.97% effective

TIP:  Polarized Media Air Cleaners are excellent for whole house particle control and reducing or relieving allergy and asthma symptoms. 

For more information on choosing the right furnace filter, ABC Company is here to help.


How to Locate the Gas Shut-Off Valve

It’s important to know exactly where your natural gas meter is so you can find it in case of an emergency.

Gas shut-off valve

Step 1: Locating the Gas Shut-Off

  • All homes have a shut-off valve located outside the home right next to the gas meter.  The valve is used by contractors and the fire department only and shouldn’t be turned on or off by the homeowner, except in the case of an emergency.
  • A second gas shut-off valve it located inside the home near the location where the gas line enters the home.  If you suspect a gas leak, this is the valve you want to close.  Close it by turning the handle clockwise.  Be aware, many homes don’t have this valve.  Instead, they have a valve at each gas appliance.   This means if you need to shut gas off to the whole house, you must do it at the meter.

It’s important to know exactly where your natural gas meter is so you can find it in case of an emergency.

Step 2: Gas Leak Safety Tips

  • Natural gas has a distinctive, sulfur-like, rotten egg odor.  If you smell gas, EXIT THE HOUSE IMMEDIATELY, then call ABC Company or your gas company right away.
  • Pay attention to hissing or whistling sounds coming from pipes underground or from a gas appliance.
  • In an emergency you can shut off the gas at the main gas service shut-off.

TIP:  Natural gas is highly explosive.  When in doubt, get everyone out of the house and call 911.

For more information about gas shut off valves, ABC Company is here to help.


If Your AC Isn’t Cooling

Close up view of an AC unit

If you’ve noticed your central air conditioner isn’t cooling your home quite as well as it used to, the problem may be a Freon® leak in your system.  Freon is a refrigerant which helps your A/C cool your home.  Without it, you’re just blowing hot air.

For more information about your air conditioning system and Freon, watch this video or review the helpful information below.

Step 1: Identifying The Problem

There are two main signs your A/C may be low on Freon:

  • A/C is blowing warm air
  • The outside refrigerant lines are frosting over

Step 2: The Facts and The Fix

  • Freon, also known as R-22, is an ozone depleting chemical refrigerant.  It’s being phased out on January 1, 2020.  For that reason, recharging your AC system with Freon can be very expensive.
  • Puron®, also known as R-410A, is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to replace Freon.  Puron is the only refrigerant that ABC Company uses when installing a new air conditioning system.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak in your central air conditioning system, it’s a good idea to call a professional for an inspection and a tune-up.  This will help your cooling system run more efficiently, extend the life of the unit and save you money on utility bills.

For more information on AC Tune-Ups and Freon, ABC Company is here to help.


Carbon Monoxide-Furnace

Gas furnace in operation

Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous odorless and colorless gas that can cause flu-like symptoms, disorientation, confusion, and even death. If you have a gas furnace, water heater or fireplace they may produce some carbon monoxide that is released outside your home through the venting system. For more information on carbon monoxide, watch this video or review the information below.

Step 1: The Facts on Carbon Monoxide and Your Furnace

  • You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide in your home.
  • If you’re exposed to carbon monoxide you may feel nauseous, have headaches, and feel uncomfortable or even sleepy.
  • Gas furnaces are a major cause of carbon monoxide poising.

Step 2: The Solution

  • Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually by a NATE-certified technician.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home.

TIP: Exhaust fumes, that include deadly carbon monoxide gas, are produced as fuel burns inside the furnace. A properly functioning system is designed to keep the fumes inside the heat exchanger and then send them safely out of the house. Cracks in the heat exchanger allow carbon monoxide to escape in to your home. A cracked heat exchanger is a serious and potentially deadly issue that needs immediate attention. ABC Company can determine if your furnace is safe to operate.

Following these guidelines can help keep you and your family safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. For more information on carbon monoxide detectors, ABC Company is here to help.


AC Maintenance Tips

AC filter being checked for replacement

We’ve all heard the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is very true when it comes to your air conditioning system.

A neglected air conditioner loses its efficiency each year it operates, which costs you money in higher utility bills. This can also lead to unexpected breakdowns. No one wants that stress and expense on a hot, humid summer day.

For more information on AC Maintenance, watch this video, or follow the tips below.

Step 1: The Basics of Getting Your AC Ready For Summer

  • Change the furnace filter
  • Change your thermostat setting to COOL
  • Have an AC check and tune-up prior to the cooling season

Step 2: The Facts and The Fix

  1. The AC system uses the same filter as the furnace. A dirty filter will make your AC run harder. A clean one will save energy and clean the air in your home more efficiently.
  2. Many homeowners forget to change their thermostat from HEAT to COOL. When you change the thermostat to cool, it’s also a good time to reprogram it for summer temperatures and cooling times.

TIP: If you don’t have a programmable thermostat you’re really missing out. A programmable thermostat can save as much as 15% on your energy bills.

For more information on air conditioning maintenance, ABC Company is here to help.