Heating

Heating

Why Does My Furnace Smell Like Its Burning?

Every year around this time our customers come to us with concerns about a burning smell coming from their furnace. Naturally, this is a worrisome situation for many because in our minds a burning smell heralds a fire. However, this is not always the case and the smell could be completely harmless and normal, even expected. Read on to find out when you should and should not be concerned when your furnace smells like somethings on fire. 

Your Furnace is Shaking the Dust Off After Its Long Summer Nap

It happens this time of year because October is typically the month everyone gives into the change of season and turns on the heater for the first time. During your furnace’s dormant period it has accumulated layers of dust on its internal components, such as the heat exchanger as well as in and around the burners. 

As your furnace heats back up it is burning this dust off, hence the burning smell. This is normal and is not considered to be a safety hazard. The smell should go away after a few hours once the furnace burns all the dust away. 

Tip: to minimize this annoying smell, consider turning on your furnace during a mild day where you can open the windows and let the burning smell waft away without compromising your comfort and every usage. 

Okay, But Its Been A Few Hours and It Still Smells Like Burning

Well, now we might have a problem. If your furnace is still emitting a burning smell after having it on for a long time there is a chance that your air filter is clogged or worse, there is an electrical issue.

First, check your filter. If it is in fact, clogged your blower motor is most likely working overtime and beginning to overheat, producing the burning smell. Not to mention the clogged filter will produce dirt and debris to buildup on the furnace which would also smell like burning. Change the filter and consider calling a pro in to cleanup/tuneup the system. 

If the filter isn’t clogged and you think it might be an electrical issue call one of our technicians immediately as this can be a major fire hazard. Normally, a furnace will power itself down when it begins to overheat; if it doesn’t, the safety feature is compromised and will need service as soon as possible. 

The Smell is Persistent and the Burning Smells Like Plastic 

This could be from a number of reasons: a foreign object made its way into your HVAC system. Anything from a child’s toy to a plastic fork could’ve gotten down there and is now wreaking havoc on your nostrils. The scent of burning plastic could also be from an overheating kitchen appliance or more still, there might be issues in your unit with broken down or worn out furnace parts. Regardless of the reason for this particular smell an HVAC specialist needs to handle it in a timely manner to avoid further damage to your unit and safety, as bunting plastic can emit toxic fumes. 

What About A GunPowder Smell? 

Anything associated with gunpowder probably seems like a major safety hazard but really its just dangerous for the system. This specific aroma is most likely the result of a fried-circuit board or an overheated fan motor. Either way it is not a good idea to continue running your furnace. Hit the off switch and call an HVAC pro on the double.

Burning Oil or a Smoky Scent…?

While heating essential oils seems to be the latest fad, an oily scent from your furnace is not good for you or your “chakras”. This oily or smoky scent comes from an oil furnace that needs an oil filter change to avoid overheating. If, after the change, the smell continues damage was most likely done to the system and an HVAC specialist needs to be called. In the meantime, turn off the unit ASAP as some problems can cause the system to catch fire. 

All furnace smells are not created equal, that being said, while they are not all dangerous they should all be investigated if they are persistent. For example, if your house smells like burning dust when you first turn it on and goes away after a few hours with returning, there is nothing to worry about. Persistent burning, burning plastic, gunpowder or smoky oils must be dealt with immediately as they are either a safety hazard, a huge risk to your system, or both. If you’ve got a questionable smell coming from your furnace contact us at Luxury Heating & Air Conditioning today, we are here to diagnose and be the solution to all your HVAC problems. 

Heating

5 Common Furnace Problems and How to Fix Them

During winter, the furnace is king: its importance being made abundantly clear when it starts to break down. We have created a list of common furnace problems that could happen to your system. While some issues will require professional help, it is still a good idea to be prepared with some basic knowledge so that if a small complication does arise, you can do some simple maintenance and avoid costly repairs in the future. 

#1 A clogged air filter

Air filters keep dust and debris from entering the system, meaning the air will flow freely and the unit will run efficiently. If the air filters are dirty and clogged the whole system has to work harder to maintain the right temperature; this can lead to overheating and a premature shutdown. A dirty filter is the number one cause for a furnace malfunction, fortunately this is also the easiest to fix. Simple maintenance is key. Check your filters once a month and replace or clean them when necessary. 

#2 A broken thermostat

Thermostats are important as they regulate your whole heating system. Here is a short checklist for you to go through before you contact a professional:

  1. Check it is set to heat: This may sound silly, but it has been known to happen.
  2. Check the batteries: Another obvious one, but also a commonplace. Your device needs enough power to activate the furnace.
  3. Make sure the device is away from heat sources: Do this to avoid false readings.
  4. Clean it: Remove the cover, brush away any dust or dirt using a cotton swab or a soft cloth. If you see corrosion use an electrical contact cleaner. 
  5. Calibrate it: Get a trusted thermometer and tape it to the wall, after 15 minutes check the variance. If it is +/- 3˚F it is deemed acceptable, if not call for service.

When in doubt call a professional, calibrations and adjustments can sometimes be trickier and more in depth than people want to deal with. Just know the better your thermostat works the more reliable and economical your whole HVAC system will be. 

#3 Power to your furnace

If numbers one and two are not the culprits, your problem could be power. First off, check that the furnace switch was not accidentally turned off, again, it can happen! Next, check the electrical panel and reset the breaker. If the power is still an issue or there is an electrical damage the next steps might be out of your comfort zone. Our advice is that its best to leave electrical issues to the professionals. 

#4 Pilot light won’t ignite 

Heating systems that run on gas or propane will not ignite without a pilot light. Routine maintenance is especially important with these types of systems and chances are the components are dirty as they are prone to soot buildup overtime. The most common sign of a dirty pilot light is the absence of one, but a pilot light that burns yellow or orange and makes a rumbling sound also means it needs cleaning. Call a professional to clean or replace the components. If you have an older system and the light has simply blown out, you may be able to reignite it yourself. Consult the manual and remember, if at any time you smell gas, evacuate and call your gas company. Again, if you feel at all uncomfortable with handling these issues your local professional would be happy to help. 

#5 A constantly running furnace blower

You might have problems with your limit switch. Try setting your thermostat to a temperature lower than the current room temp and make sure the fan is set to Auto. If the fan continues to run, check the limit switch (located under the supply plenum) and make sure it is also set to Auto. If it isn’t, and its set instead to manual override this might be why the blower motor is continuously running. If it is already set to Auto you might have wiring issues or problems with the fan limit switch and you should call a pro for either of these. 

Hopefully these tips prove useful and you are able to fix your furnace troubles easily, if not don’t hesitate to call us at Luxury Heating & Cooling, we will get your furnace up and running and your home cozy and warm again in no time. Don’t forget that scheduled maintenance can prevent small problems from becoming big ones. Keep warm this winter; in the season when the furnace is king, long live the king.

Heating, Humidity, Indoor Air Quality

Combat the Harmful Effects of Dry Air

Winter can be a magical time of the year, glistening snowfalls, hot chocolates by the fire and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  But alongside winter’s cold weather temperatures, also come the less than desirable effects of dry air.  Few aspects of winter can be as annoying as battling cold and flu season or scaly skin and nasal congestion. Dry air can wreak havoc not only on your health and appearance but on your home as well.

Ideal relative humidity for comfort and health ranges between 40-50%.  However, it is not uncommon for the dry winter air to cause your indoor humidity levels to plummet to 20% or less.  Low humidity levels can cause a number of problems including:

Dry Skin & Cracked Lips
Dry skin and cracked lips are especially common in the winter months.  When there isn’t enough humidity in the air, the moisture in your skin evaporates more quickly.  By using a daily moisturizer after bathing, you can lock in moisture and your skin can retain its soft appearance.
 
Static Shock
Spending a winter season in Northeast Ohio, makes you accustomed to the jolts of static electricity that happen when you touch a door knob, flip a light switch or open your car door.  When air has the proper level of water vapor / humidity, electrons are free to travel and less likely to collect.  Drier, less humid air doesn’t allow electrons to pass through it as easily – causing them to build-up and collect on surfaces.  When you come in contact with those surfaces and are wearing something that is carrying the opposite charge – ZAP!
Dried Out Sinuses
Ever wonder why you are more prone to headaches, sinus pressure, nasal congestion, sore throat and nosebleeds during the winter?  It’s because dry air pulls moisture from your mouth and nose causing them to become dried out and highly irritable.
 
Increased Risk of Sickness
As gross as it may sound, the mucus membranes in your nose help to trap foreign bacteria as well as viral invaders. When your nose dries out, the mucus membranes aren’t as effective at capturing harmful contaminants, making you more susceptible to catching the common colds, flu, infections and more.
 
Damage to Home & Furnishings
When air doesn’t have enough humidity, it pulls moisture from anything and everything it can. Suddenly your home structure, furniture, wood flooring and musical instruments all become at risk for serious damage.  Dry air can cause furnishings to crack, window and door frames to shrink and gap, and wood floor panels to shift and creak.

You may think that dry air is just an aspect of winter to suffer through and get used to.  But balancing humidity levels year-round is easier than you think. A whole-home humidifier works in conjunction with your home’s HVAC system to circulate air that has the right amount of moisture to maintain maximum comfort and optimal health.

Contact our indoor air specialists for more information about our whole-home bypass and steam humidifiers and find out which one is right for your home.

Energy Savings, Heating, HVAC Maintenance, Indoor Air Quality

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Days are getting shorter and nights are getting colder, which means fall is officially here. Get your home winter-ready while putting your mind at ease with our maintenance checklist.

Clean Gutters

Make sure your gutters are clear of any leaves, sticks and other debris.

Weather-Stripping

Drafty windows and doors can account for as much as 10% of your heating bills.  Weather-stripping is an easy and affordable way to make your home more comfortable and efficient.

Turn Off & Drain Outdoor Plumbing

Don’t forget to detach garden hoses, turn off water supply, as well as drain outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems.

Change Filter

Changing your furnace filter every 3 months, not only improves your indoor air quality, but also helps to reduce your home’s energy expenses and prolongs the life of your HVAC system.

Prepare Your Furnace for Winter

Reduce the likelihood of expected heating breakdowns and repairs by having your furnace cleaned and inspected yearly.  Annual maintenance also helps to maximize the performance and efficiency of your system.

Clean the Fireplace and Chimney

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure you have it cleaned and inspected before use.

Take Safety Precautions

The batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every 6 months.  Also keep in mind that the average life expectancy of a smoke alarm is 8-10 years and 5 years for CO detectors.

Trusted for over 70 years, Luxury Heating Company is your one-stop shop for all of your indoor comfort needs.

Air Conditioning, Ductless Split Systems, Energy Savings, Heating, Humidity, Indoor Air Quality

6 Reasons Modern Homeowners Are Choosing Ductless Air Conditioning

A traditional air conditioning system is comprised of two components, an air conditioner or heat pump that is located outdoors and a heating source such as a furnace that is located indoors. The two units work in tandem to circulate cool air through your ductwork, distributing it to every room in your home.

The question is, what if you don’t have ductwork?   What if you have ductwork but want to renovate or build an addition and there’s no practical way to connect to it?  A ductless split system is the perfect solution.

Ductless split systems, also referred to as ductless mini splits, differ slightly from more traditional systems in that they don’t have a centralized indoor unit. Depending on the size of the space you are cooling (or heating), a single outdoor unit can connect to up to 6 indoor units.  Each indoor unit tasked with heating and/or cooling a single room or zone of your home. This modernized, cutting-edge technology makes conditioning even the most complex spaces – easy, minimally-invasive and cost-effective. Find out why more homeowners are choosing ductless air conditioning systems below.

Minimally Invasive

No major construction, extensive remodeling or loss of space – a mini split system only requires a small hole that drilled through the wall.  Your home’s architectural value remains in-tact, making them the perfect solution for any application including historical homes that lose their value with major alterations.

Energy Efficient

Save up to 40% on your energy costs.  Ductless split systems use what’s called inverter technology to increase and decrease cooling demand with precision. Because the demand is matched so closely with the systems output, it can operate with the ultimate in energy efficiency while delivering the ultimate level of comfort.

Ultra-Quiet

Ductless split systems might be powerful, but with their whisper quiet performance, you won’t even know they are there.

Cool in the Summer & Heat in the Winter

Double the power, double the comfort. Not only do ductless split systems provide exceptional cooling during the summer, but they also provide a reliable and efficient source of heat during the winter.  Their ability to provide year-round comfort make them a great fit for additions and renovations, all-season rooms, basements and more!

Tailored Comfort

Why heat or cool a room when it’s not being used? Why bundle up in the winter or shed layers in the summer if you don’t have to? Ductless split systems focus on heating or cooling spaces individually, allowing for an unprecedented level of comfort customizable to meet the needs of everyone in your home.

Enhanced Air Filtration

Ductless air conditioning systems contain washable filters that can last up to 10 years.  They enhance your home’s air quality by removing contaminants such as pollen, dust, dander and other allergens.