Furnace Problems You May Experience Before Winter Ends

Furnace Problems You May Experience Before Winter Ends

  • Furnaces
  • Heating
furnace problems

As winter settles in Bucks County, you want to think about the health of your furnace. It is important to be on the lookout for common furnace problems before they break down your heating system entirely. Here at McHale’s, we have put together a list of common furnace problems you may experience before winter ends. 

Faulty Pilot Lights: Along with some other mechanical parts, the pilot light could be malfunctioning and causing no heat or intermittent heat. There are two parts that tend to be the culprit for faulty pilot lights: the thermocouple and the pilot tube. 

  • The thermocouple is a copper wire inside your furnace that detects the heat of your pilot light and lights the gas. It is a safety feature that ensures gas shuts off if it does not detect the pilot light. Sometimes, the thermocouple is bent out of shape or cold, causing it to mis-detect the pilot light, This can cause arbitrary pilot light outages. 
  • The pilot tube can also be dirty or clogged. When the pilot tube is clogged it can stop or inhibit the pilot light’s ability to function. 

Defective Blowers: If you have a demand for heat and the blower is not running, it is important to check the blower motor is functioning. A blower motor breakdown can be caused by old age, faulty bearings, loss of electrical power, or dirt accumulation. If you cannot see any visible dirt and debris blocking the motor function, then call a technician at McHale’s to service the motor. 

Poor Electrical Connections: With the passing of time, the vibrations that come with a running furnace can lead to internal wires becoming loose or fraying. These wires and eventually short and cause your furnace to shut off. It can take a bit of time to find the loose wire, but replacing it will fix the issue. To prevent this, schedule regular furnace maintenance to check for damaged parts and ensure the furnace is in working order before winter settles in. 

Damaged or Dirty Coils: The coil ensures that the right air supply is being sent through the furnace which heats your home. If for some reason these passages become clogged or damaged, the air flow will be restricted. Furnaces are set to run with a certain amount of air flow, and any disturbance to this level will decrease the efficiency of our furnace to generate heat. 

Clogged Air Filters: As a general rule. the filter in your furnace should be replaced every 3 months in order to extend both the efficiency and life of the furnace. You should change it more frequently if there are pets in the home or someone has allergies. Dirty filters reduce the flow of air and reduce air quality in the home. A dirty air filter puts strain on your furnace and makes it work harder. This reduces the efficiency of the unit and costs you money in the long run. 

Thermostat Malfunctions: The thermostat is a device that measures the temperature in your home and alerts the furnace when to turn on. If your thermostat is not functioning properly, it can cause the furnace to turn on or off at the wrong time. It may not sense that temperature has been reached and continue to run, or it may not sense the drop in temperature letting your home become frigid. If you notice inconsistent temperatures in your home, consider having your thermostat checked by a professional. 

Air Flow Problems: Most of the time, furnaces have two types of air flow. The first one is an incoming source of air. Then, there is a steady flow of air out into the home so that the heat can be evenly distributed. If either one of these airflows is restricted, the efficiency of the furnace will go down. If there are any clogs, blockages, or duct leaks, they should be dealt with quickly so as not to impact the quality of your home heat.

 Air Leaks in the Household: If you have air drafts in the household, your furnace will end up working harder to compensate for the loss of heat. Aside from putting strain the furnace, it will also cost you more on your energy bills. You should go through your home and seal any drafty windows, doors, or places you feel air escaping.


Call McHale’s Today to Solve Any and All Furnace Problems and Avoid Being Stuck in the Cold this Winter!

By McHales

10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

  • Furnaces
  • Heating
furnace repair

10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

The summer has faded and when that happens we know what to expect – shorter days and cooler nights.  If you are a homeowner who lives in a snowy climate, chances are you will be checking your furnace for proper performance.  Now would be a good time to troubleshoot it or you may not have heat during the fall and winter. A furnace that hasn’t been tuned up will run you into high energy costs, not to mention the price you must pay for maintenance or repairs. Getting it done now will give you peace of mind, ensure that you have reliable heat for the winter and save you the risk of replacement later, or having to worry about repair costs.  Here are 10 warning signs that a furnace replacement is imminent.

1. Your Furnace Sounds Like a Monster

No furnace is completely soundless, but if it is making noises like a hungry tiger on the prowl for food -groaning, whining, banging – repair may include replacing a loose belt, priming the ignition, or finding the correct component to replace it with.  Troubleshooting as soon as you hear those noises and you will be on your way to to quickly remedying the situation.

2. Turning Up the Thermostat Doesn’t Do the Job Anymore

Your natural reaction to feeling cold is to turn up your thermostat to a temperature where you feel comfortable again.  Lately, however, this just doesn’t work anymore. Now you won’t have the proper heat during the cold season months.  This suggests that the thermostat may be on the blink, or your ducts might be leaking.  For constant, reliable heat, call in a specialist to see if the problem is your thermostat and he will suggest a replacement.

3. Your Electric Bill Skyrocketed

When you’re paying more than you normally do for electricity it means your furnace isn’t working properly.  Rather than doing guesswork , it is best to call a specialist in so that they can remedy the problem.

4. Yellow Pilot Signal

If you notice that the pilot light on your furnace is glowing yellow you probably think everything is alright. This is just as big a warning as the yellow traffic signs on street corners.  A yellow light indicates that the gas balance of your furnace is not in good condition.  What you want is for the flame to be blue, which means that the gases are perfectly balanced.  Yellow means that carbon monoxide is being emitted, which is dangerous, and lethal to you and your family.

5. You Have Difficulty Starting and Keeping Your Furnace On

This is a sure sign that you need furnace repairs.  Problems can range from improper wiring, a broken fan motor or getting a new pilot light.  Most furnace repair companies will provide easy financing provided you catch the problem before it becomes too severe.

6. Your Family is Experiencing Respiratory Problems

When your furnace needs fixing you may notice that it is linked to frequent problems with breathing such as asthma and chest related illnesses.  A system that doesn’t work properly pours dust, mold and other pathogens in the air which circulate in your home. Diminished air quality is an incentive for getting your furnace fixed as soon as possible.

7. Hot and Cold Spots

If you constantly feel a draft while your furnace is on it means that it is no longer strong enough to heat your entire home.  If you find ice forming on your roof this may indicate that the heat from your house is escaping through the attic rather than keeping place in the living section where it is supposed to be.  Getting your furnace tuned-up will provide greater efficiency by getting rid of those cold and hot spots.

8. Air Condensation

You may not need furnace repairs for condensation, but if it keeps up it could mean you’ll be making constant calls for checkups that could lead to a higher risk of replacement. It is best to only allow two minor furnace issues occur in succession before you call for a maintenance person.  

9. Your Furnace is a Dinosaur

The average furnace last between 10 to 20 years with a good unit lasting into the upper level of that range. If you have had your furnace for over 15 years, now is a good time to begin looking for a new one.  A new furnace gives constant, reliable heat, eliminates repair costs and maintenance visits.

10. Your Furnace Gives Off an Unusual Odor

Your furnace is only supposed to have the scent of fresh gas or oil if you are using it for the first time of the season.  If after several consecutive uses, there is still a strange smell during your generator use, then something isn’t normal. Contact a specialist right away to diagnose the problem.  Strange odors are more serious than you might think.  Not only does it mean your unit is not functioning properly, but it also poses safety hazards to your environment.


If your furnace is showing any of these 10 signs, then it’s time to schedule furnace maintenance!

Call McHale’s Today and schedule your furnace tune-up!

By McHales

Benefits of Annual Furnace Maintenance

Benefits of Annual Furnace Maintenance

  • Furnaces
schedule annual furnace maintenance to keep you warm

We all go for yearly check-ups with our general physician. This is where our doctor sees how we feel, checks for any health problems, and runs tests to ensure our bodies are functioning properly. Well, your furnace needs the same treatment each year from a professional heating technician. Scheduling annual furnace maintenance is the chance to catch any issues with your heating system and ensure its at peak performance for the Buck’s County winter. When you schedule a furnace maintenance appointment with McHales, you can rest assured knowing our technicians are looking out for your family’s safety and comfort this year. Don’t let a furnace issue catch you out in the cold! Furnace maintenance ensures you’ll have a toasty furnace all season long. 


Six benefits of furnace maintenance include:


1. Improved efficiency.

An efficient furnace saves you money on your heating bills, and the main culprit in furnace’s running inefficiently is the air filter. After a year of hard work, your filter is full of dust and in need of replacement. A clogged filter puts stress on your furnace causing it to pass air inefficiently or be unable to pass air at all. This disruption in air flow makes your furnace work harder, which costs you money. When you change the filter regularly, it will decrease your bills and give you peace of mind that clean air is being sent into your home.

2. Know you’ll have a warm home this winter.

When you call McHales to come and inspect your furnace, you can rest easy knowing our home will be heated for the rest of the year. All of our technicians are fully licensed and keep up to date with training. If they see any cracks, failing parts, or soot build-up, they will address these issues with you. After a maintenance appointment with one of our technicians, your furnace will be in the best possible shape to run all year.

3. Keep your furnace in warranty.

Some furnaces will only stay under their warranty if you provide annual maintenance. Read the warranty agreement for your furnace closely and see if the company only covers repairs with annual maintenance. You do not want to be stuck paying for a repair that could have been covered.

4. Prolong the life of your system.

When your furnace is running with clogged filters and failing parts, it is not going to work as long. Old belts and corroded heating elements can turn into the type of damage that is past the point of repair. This can leave you to book a full furnace replacement in the middle of winter. By scheduling annual maintenance you are giving your furnace the best chance to have a long lifespan.

5. Catch breakdowns before they happen. 

It’s easy to think having a newer furnace means you can skip a maintenance check. Even if you have a new heating system, getting annual furnace maintenance should be on your list. The way to keep all furnaces running, and avoid calling for emergency repairs, is catching problems before they develop into major issues. We can spot early failure of parts and detect leaks or cracks before they turn into irreparable damage.

6. Decrease health risks for your family.

Furnaces can have potential health risks for your family if left unchecked. Cracks or leaks can release carbon monoxide into the air which is an odorless, colorless gas that is poisonous. Air filters that are not clean can expose you to contaminants that wouldn’t pass through a clean filter. By scheduling maintenance with McHales, you will feel comforted knowing you’ve taken care of your family and their health.


Why Choose McHales Inc.?

We have been trusted for over 60 years to protect the heating comfort of families in Bucks County and surrounding areas. Our technicians are licensed to handle any heating issues you may have. If your furnace is worth saving, we will do everything to get it into the best working order. We never recommend a service without fully examining the issue.  


With a maintenance appointment from McHales, you can trust that our technicians inspect every part of your furnace looking for these potential issues. We provide timely, professional service and will ensure your furnace is ready to tackle this Bucks County winter. Don’t wait to schedule, call us today at (215) 493-3399!

Take advantage of our $88 Heating Systems Check! 


By McHales