Even here in Albuquerque, it can get cold enough for us to need furnaces in the winter. However, since furnaces are usually only used a few months out of the year, it’s easy for them to develop problems during their downtime. When one of those cold nights come around, you don’t want your furnace to fail when you need it most!

As a professional furnace repair service in Albuquerque, Number 1 Plumbing is well familiar with all major furnace brands. However, it’s still good for you to know the basics as well. Understand how your furnace works and early signs that it’s having problems, and you’ll be able to avoid expensive repair jobs.

How Typical Albuquerque Furnaces Work

If you have a home furnace here in New Mexico, it’s almost certainly a forced-air furnace. This means exactly what it sounds like: the furnace generates heat internally, which is then forced through the rest of the house via your air ducts.

A forced-air furnace is comprised of three basic components: The control system, the distribution system, and the heat exchanger.

The Control System is what regulates the heat output of the furnace. Your thermostat is part of this system, but it also involves electronics within the furnace that monitor the temperature and tell it when to turn on and off. Problems with the control system are typically fixed by replacing the broken electronics.

The Distribution System is basically just a big fan. It’s a high-powered blower with enough force to send hot air throughout your home efficiently. If the distribution system is having problems, it typically results in reduced airflow or no airflow if the blower has failed entirely.

The Heat Exchanger is the most complicated part of your furnace and where problems are most likely to develop. This is where the hot air is actually generated, typically by burning fuel.

Most furnaces in Albuquerque run on either propane or natural gas. The gas is blown past your furnace’s pilot light, which ignites the fuel. This creates large amounts of heat, which is captured by metal burners. Cold air is blown across these burners, rapidly heating them, and then the hot air goes into your distribution system to be blown around the house.

The by-product of this ignition is carbon monoxide – a very dangerous gas if allowed to build up within your home. Your furnace’s ventilation system should vent all carbon monoxide to the outdoors, but it occasionally gets clogged up. For this reason, it’s strongly suggested that you have a carbon monoxide detector installed near your furnace. They’re inexpensive and could save lives.

The other critical important component in the heat exchange is the air filter. The filter is necessary to prevent the internals of the furnace from getting gummed up with dust and debris. This filter should be changed at least every 2-3 months while the furnace is in use to ensure good performance.

Signs of Furnace Problems

Problems with your furnace won’t go away over time – they’ll only get worse. The faster you can spot potential problems, the less expensive it’ll be when you need to call in a furnace repair service in Albuquerque. You’ll save money if you keep an eye out for warning signs of problems.

Here are some of those common warning signs:

No heat

If the fans are blowing, but no hot air is coming out, the problem is almost certainly within the heat exchanger. If you’re lucky, it’s just that the pilot light has gone out – at least in older models that maintain a constant pilot. If this isn’t the problem, there are significant problems that will require a professional HVAC specialist to diagnose.

Rapid cycling

Does your furnace come on briefly but then shut off again before the job is done? Most commonly, this is a problem with the pilot light flame sensor. The heat exchanger has a small electronic sensor that is supposed to detect when the pilot light is active. If that sensor fails to detect the pilot light, it’ll automatically shut off the system.

In some cases, this could also indicate a problem with the control system, such as a broken thermostat. You can often test the thermostat yourself by setting it to an extreme temperature above 80 degrees and seeing if the furnace responds.

Strange sounds 

Your furnace should be a relatively quiet system. You might hear a slight hiss from the gasses moving around, and the fan will probably make a gentle whirr. If you’re hearing anything louder or more disruptive, such as banging, grinding, or squealing, there may be serious mechanical problems within the furnace.

Don’t try to diagnose this yourself – operating furnaces can be dangerous to work on. Call in a furnace repair service in Albuquerque to look into it.

Unexpected energy bill spikes

A malfunctioning furnace can quicky start eating a lot of extra electricity or fuel. For example, if it’s not correctly burning the gas, it could be wasting a lot of fuel attempting to maintain the proper temperature.

Given how much power/fuel a furnace needs to operate, it’s a likely culprit if you ever notice a significant spike in your energy bills. Contact an HVAC service to have your system checked out.

Avoid Furnace Problems with Regular Check-Ups

If you want the best results from your furnace, you can help make it happen by calling a furnace repair service in Albuquerque to inspect your furnace once a year. This is best done in the fall, shortly before the weather starts getting cool. The service call is inexpensive, and they’ll be able to verify that everything is OK with your furnace before it’s put to the test.

Get Furnace and Boiler Maintenance in Albuquerque

Number 1 Plumbing offers superior furnace repair service in Albuquerque, with reasonable prices and a focus on customer satisfaction! We’re available 24/7, so if you ever think you have a problem with your heater, we can be there ASAP to fix it!

Contact us to schedule a service call.