HeatingNeed Furnace Repair? The Air from Your Vents Can Tell You

February 18, 2017


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Most homes in the area keep warm by using forced air furnaces, which heat the air in a single location and then distribute it throughout the house via a series of ducts. Furnaces are dependable and inexpensive to operate, which is one of the reasons why they see so much use. But they also run into problems from time to time, like any system does, and when that happens you need a trained technician to perform repairs.

We often pride ourselves on self-sufficiency around here, and many homeowners like to conduct little do-it-yourself repairs around their homes. In cases involving your furnace, this is a big mistake. Heating systems are complicated and delicate, and most involve potentially dangerous components such as gas lines and flame burners. That means that you need training and licensing even to perform a diagnosis, much less repairs.

That still leaves the question of how to spot the signs of trouble in your home heating system. Generally speaking, anything that doesn’t resemble your system’s normal functioning—anything you recognize as something out of the ordinary—should be grounds for turning your system off and calling for repairs.

More specifically, low air flow is an easy way to spot potential problems in your system. You can check it easily simply by taping a few lengths of ribbon to your vents and keeping an eye on them when you run the heating system. If the ribbons don’t flutter with the strength you expect, it could be the sign of a big problem with the heater.

What Causes Low Air Flow?

Low air flow can be triggered by a number of different conditions—one of the reasons why it’s a good bellwether for trouble with your heater is because it crops up a lot—but the can generally be divided into two broad categories:

  1. A Blockage. This usually means something in the ducts themselves—up to and including a crimp in the ducts—as well as a breach diverting the flow of air, a clogged filter somewhere in the system, or a blockage problem inside the furnace itself.
  2. A Power Problem. This usually means something wrong with the fan mechanism: a troublesome fan motor, a loose or broken fan belt, or even a problem with the fan itself. This prevents the air from flowing through the vents with the speed and velocity it should.

Why Is It a Problem?

Problems with low air flow are twofold in nature. First, reduced air flow means your system won’t warm your home as quickly as it should. That means both higher monthly bills and increased strain on the system.

Second, in most cases, low air flow means hot air is trapped in the furnace, which could cause individual components to overheat. Safety features on modern furnaces will turn the system off in such cases, but that still leaves you with a problem to fix before the system can be used.

For furnace repair issues in Olathe, KS, call MVP Electric, Heating & Cooling.

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