Calgary Furnace: A Comprehensive Guide to Troubleshooting Gas Furnaces

Calgary Furnace: A Comprehensive Guide to Troubleshooting Gas Furnaces

Winter might be nearly over (might; you never can tell with winter around Calgary…), but it’s still a good idea to do some work to ensure that your gas furnace is still in good shape after a winter of use and willbe ready to go next winter. This guide has been put out to help you find the answers to basic furnace questions such as changing the filter and checking the airflow in your furnace as well as what to do if your gas furnace won’t light. Not only do we hope that this guide will help you stay warm through the lastgasps of winter, but also be useful into next winter when the snow comes back.

How to turn on your gas furnace?

I can see you looking rueful as you read this because you may have wondered the exact same thing and then felt stupid. But you’re far from alone; I get this question quite a bit from puzzled homeowners who don’t really want to call the furnace repair guys only to find out that furnace was turned off!

Here’s how to turn a gas furnace on without calling a soul.

  1. Find the gas furnace braker on your electric panel board. The panel is probably in your garage or basement and the braker should be marked with a sticker or a label. Turn it on.
  2. Breaker on? Next you have to turn the furnace on. The switch is usually on or near the furnace at eye level. It may just look like a light switch.
  3. Set the selector switch to Heat and make sure the furnace is on. (It may make some grumbling noises or smell odd as dust and old air is blown out. Set the thermostat for the temperature you want and it will tell you if the furnace is on and working.


How do You Test the Airflow of Your Furnace in a Room?

As you go through your home, you find a room that is colder than the rest. With your luck, it’s a bedroom(it’s always a bedroom!).

There’s an easy way to test the airflow of a furnace into your room called the garbage bag air flow test. How do you do this?

  1. Tape the garbage bag to something that will keep it open and then crush the bag flat. Cardboardworks well.
  2. Put the garbage bag near the register and see how long it takes to fill the garbage bag with air.

If inflation time is say 10 seconds, then the airflow is 10 Liters/second or there abouts. This is a pretty poor airflow. You can use this litmus test anytime you find a cold room or after major renovations and/or repairs around or on your heating unit to make sure that there is adequate airflow to a room. If not, you may need to do some repairs on your heating unit.


…and you’re now freezing and unhappy. Don’t panic just yet. If your fan is running, but only sending cold air with the furnace on, turn the furnace off for a bit and then turn it back on (it could be that you just hada backlog of cold air). If this works, celebrate! If not, you may have to do some more investigating and callin furnace investigation specialists.

How Do I Change the Furnace Filter?

It’s important to know how and when to change your furnace filter for a few reasons. First ,airflow is optimized when the filter is working properly. Second, your gas furnace will operate more efficiently whenthe filter is working properly. You should change your filter every three to six months and check your filter every month for problems. It’s actually pretty easy to change the filter!

  1. Open the external rack or panel door. Slide the filter out and check it for dark spots or discoloration.
  2. If you can’t see through the filter, it’s time to change it!
  3. Install the new filter in the direction of airflow and slide it gently in
  4. Close the panel door; you’re done!

Checklist for Troubleshooting Furnace Problems

I love to hear from customers, I really do. So do my technicians! But… well, there are some things you can do for your furnace by yourself and in doing so, save money and time and feel good about your abilities. Here are some things to check for yourself before you call for help.

  1. Check and see if the furnace venting has been blocked by something like snow. If so, clear the blockage and turn the furnace on.
  2. Set the thermostat to the Heat position with the temperature set to normal room temperature.
  3. Make sure the batteries of a programmable thermostat are fresh.
  4. Make sure the circuit braker is set to the right position.
  5. Close the door of the furnace and make sure it’s turned on-the furnace may simply have been turned off accidentally.
  6. Inspect and change the furnace filter regularly or the furnace will not work very well.

If you do all these things and nothing worked, then call for help!

How to Remove Blockages from your Vents the Right Way!

One of the first things to check if your furnace starts acting up is if there is a problem with the exterior vent. The main problem of course will be blockages made up of things like ice, snow, household stuff and dirt. If this is the case, turn off the furnace and remove the obstruction, but do it carefully so that the vent won’t be damaged by your work. Make sure that the vent doesn’t have any blockages further up too-use a flashlight to check things out. Once the blockage is gone, turn the breaker or switch back on.
However, if the fan motor of the furnace has stopped working and there is no airflow through the interior vent, it may be time to call a furnace technician to check things out for you.

How to React to a Gas Leak?

No, not by panicking! A gas leak is characterized by the smell of rotten eggs and it’s generally enough to induce panic. Keep your head. Do not turn on any switches and do not breathe in the gas-instead, openall the doors and windows and leave the house. Call your heating technicians for assistance.

How do I Prevent Heat Loss?

One of the biggest causes of heat loss in the winter is the leakage of air which then causes you to crank up the heat and crank up the heating bills. Warm air escapes from your home and the gas furnace tries to replace it. The best way to prevent this from happening is to fix warm air leaks. In this case, the solutions starts right from the beginning with home building and repair.

On the outside, you can prevent leaks via the electrical outlets by removing the outlet covers and installing a foam pad to insulate the outlets and then replacing the covers.

One of the big warm air leaks in a home is the attic and upstairs (hot air rises after all!) Make sure that you seal all the cracks in the attic and close the door tightly with a weather strip. Insulate any ducts by wrapping them in duct tape and make sure there are as few gaps as possible. And you can use an acoustic sealant or rubber caulking near the sill plate in the basement to prevent leaks downstairs.

Another huge place to lose warm air is through the doors and windows and not just when they’re open!While there isn’t much you can do about people coming in and out, you can slow down the steady leak ofhot air that accumulates throughout the day. Do things like replacing the trim with waterproof sealants orfillers and fill in large cracks with foam or polyurethane foam.
Finally, baseboard leaks can be fixed by caulking along seams and between the walls and floor.

Now your home will stay warmer with less furnace effort and you’ll see your utility bills drop when winter comes back around.
If you’d like to know more about heating your home and ways to make your gas furnace more efficient and better at what it does, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  Call Clearview Plumbing and Heating is a Calgary Plumbing and Heating company based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada which is available round the clock to carry out any type of Calgary Plumbing or Heating job.

You can reach us any time at 403-220-0090.

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Keywords:Calgary Gas Furnace, Airflow, Ignite your furnace, Furnace filter, Changing a furnace Filter, Turning on a gas furnace

By | 2018-05-26T11:36:11+00:00 May 7th, 2012|Heating, HVAC|

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