A Few Heating Tips for the Upcoming Storm

January 22nd, 2016 by admin

Our 1st big storm is on the way with a forecast of significant snow fall. Here are a few reminders from our Training Director, Brian Shimp.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump does not create heat, but rather extracts it from the air or the ground (for GEO units). The colder the weather the more likely your unit will run for longer periods of time, and may switch into Auxiliary Heat. This is completely normal. Your Aux Heat will switch on when your HP is unable to maintain the set temperature on your T-stat within 2 degrees.  For example, if you have your t-stat set for 70 degrees and the temperature in your home drops to 68 or below, your Aux Heat will probably kick on. When the Aux Heat has raised the temperature enough, it will switch back to normal Heat Pump operation. If your thermostat reads more than 3 degrees lower on a consistent basis, this would be cause for concern. For regular heat pumps you will also want to be sure to clear snow away from your outdoor unit a minimum of 3’ in order to allow adequate air circulation around the unit.  Snow accumulating around the outdoor unit will prevent it from operating properly and might cause it to shut down completely.

Gas Furnaces

There are two vents associated with the operation of a Gas Furnace: the intake and the exhaust.  The intake vent is what the furnace uses to draw in clean air for the combustion process. The exhaust vent is what the furnace uses to discard spent gasses. Typically, these vents are either located on the side wall of a home/office space, or on the roof. They are usually 2” or 3” diameter PVC (white plastic). It is very important to keep the area around the vents clear of debris and snow. If either vent pipe is blocked and cannot exhaust or intake as needed for operation, the furnace will shut down. If the vents do get blocked and the furnace shuts down, clear the vents and reset the furnace by turning the power to it off for 10 seconds.

In the event your furnace shuts down and you are confident both vents are clear, verify the fault code before you attempt to re-set the furnace by switching it off on the side of the furnace cabinet. Most of our gas furnaces will have a red or amber light located on the lower front panel behind a small quarter sized plexiglass window. Some units may require you to remove the furnace outer cover to view the light. When the light is solid, the furnace is “happy”. A blinking light indicates a fault and also a numeric fault code. The 1st set of quick blinking lights is the first numeric value in the fault code, and the second long light is the 2nd. For example, 3 quick blinks followed by one long blink indicate a fault code of 31. The furnace will blink this code repeatedly until it is reset. It will be important to have this code to determine if there is a problem with the unit, or if it just needs reset. There is a list of the fault codes and what they mean on the inside cover of most furnaces as well as in the book that came with the furnace.

This storm is expected to bring strong winds with it. It is possible for a strong winds to cause a fault. Once you have recorded the fault code, try resetting and see if the furnace comes back on.

We hope the only inconvenience this storm causes is some shoveling, but in the event you need us, call us. We have an answering service standing by and On Call Technicians 24/7.    717-464-0111

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