March 11, 2021

Navigating Furnace and AC Issues

A guide to help tenants navigate Furnace and AC Issues

Types of Furnaces

A furnace heats air that is distributed throughout the house via a blower motor and the home's duct system. This is also called a "Forced Air Furnace".

A boiler uses hot water to heat your home. Hot water boilers distribute heat through small hot water pipes using a pump to heat baseboard, cast iron radiators, or radiant flooring systems.

If you live in a single family home there is a central furnace in the basement that heats the entire house. It is either a forced air furnace or a boiler.

Air Conditioning

If you have a forced-air furnace you may also have central air conditioning. A central air conditioner runs in conjunction with the furnace and has an outdoor metal cabinet that contains the condenser and compressor, and an indoor cabinet contains the evaporator. It uses the heat ducts to blow cold air throughout the house.

window air conditioner is sometimes referred to as a room air conditioner, which is mounted in windows or walls. The evaporator side is located facing the room for cooling the space and the condenser side outdoor for heat rejection. Please read our Guide on Installing a Window Air Conditioner before installing one.

As the weather gets warmer, you may be tempted to turn on your A/C system. However, running the system when it's consistently under 55 degrees outside can damage or even break the system as it greatly reduces the life of the compressor and evaporation coil as there's no heat to dissipate.

For you to turn on your A/C, the weather should consistently be above 55 degrees (including overnight) is required for you to be able to turn on your A/C system. Otherwise, you may be responsible for any damages to the A/C system. We typically suggest waiting until mid-April to use your A/C system again.

Thermostats

A thermostat is located somewhere in your house or building that controls the temperature.

If there is central air conditioning there will be away to switch from "Heat" to "Cool". You will need to move the switch on the thermostat depending on if you want the furnace to be running (heat) or the air conditioner to be running (cool). Many also have an option for "Fan" that is simply a way to circulate air throughout the property, not cool or heat your house.

If you are a part of a apartment building these settings will be control by management.

Furnace Filters

The number one reason a furnace or air conditioner stops working or can not "keep up" is that the furnace filter is clogged and has not recently been changed. Upon move in you were provided with a new filter in your furnace. Per your lease you are responsible to change the furnace filter regularly- every 2-3 months. It would be a good idea to set up a calendar reminder so you don't forget.

Each furnace has a different filter size and it is on the current filter in the furnace. An example is 12x24x1 sized filter. Filters can be purchased on Amazon or at a home improvement store such as Ace, Home Depot or Lowes.

Try these things if your Furnace or AC is not working

Here are some steps you can take if your furnace or air conditioner is not working:

• Double check to be sure the thermostat is set to the setting you want-for furnace to be running (heat) or the air conditioner to be running (cool).

• Turn the unit off. Do not just increase or decrease the temperature with the thermostat--turn it off entirely and let it reset for an hour.

• Replace your air filters. Clogged filters interfere with airflow and most furnaces and AC units have a safety that will turn the system off if the filter is clogged. A new filter needs to be installed and the entire thing needs to be turned off for a minimum of 6 hours.

• If any supply vents in your home are closed, open them to let air flow through. Make sure to open vents in unused rooms, too.

• Make sure that your return vents and your air ducts are kept clear and unblocked.


If after trying all of these things your furnace or AC is still not working please contact us and we are glad to send maintenance out to assist.

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