Signs You Need a Boiler Repair in Chicago

It’s no secret that Chicago winters can be absolutely brutal. Although spring is in sight, it’s essential to make sure you have a well-functioning boiler that will last you the rest of this winter, plus many winters to come. Boilers typically last anywhere from 10-15 years; here are some signs your boiler needs a repair.

No Hot Water

This might be an obvious one, but it’s important! No hot water is a telltale sign that your boiler isn’t working well, as this is the boiler’s main function. We have been performing boiler repairs in Chicago since 1950 so we feel confident we can fix yours, too.

Clanging Noises

If it sounds like pots and pans are banging together in your boiler, there’s probably something wrong with it. It might mean there’s air in the system which can create unusual noises. This might be a sign that you should call us.

Leaks

The hot water produced by your boiler can corrode metal faster than cool water would. Boilers and the pipes and valves connecting to it are susceptible to corrosion, which may cause leakage.

Weak Water Pressure

Low water pressure is often a sign of boiler issues as well.

If you or someone you know is in need of a boiler repair in Chicago, contact us at Heatmasters today. Our veteran staff members will swiftly have your boiler up and running in no time.

It is typically pretty obvious when your HVAC system is having problems because your home or business is either hotter or colder than it is supposed to be. However, in addition to drastic temperatures changes as signs of a heating a cooling problem, your nose can be a great detector of HVAC issues as well. If you ever turn on your unit and an unpleasant odor arises, you should schedule an appointment with heating contractors in Chicago right away. Here are a few smells you should look out for:

Rotten Eggs/Sulfur

If your home or business ever begins to smell like sulfur or rotten eggs, this could mean there is a natural gas leak in your HVAC system. Natural gas is very flammable and because of this, it is a common fuel source for household appliances. Gas leaks can be dangerous to your health when inhaled, so you should get this leak fixed as soon as possible.

Burning Electrical Smell

An overheating furnace blower or motor can give off a strong smell as well, often a burning metallic or electrical odor. This smell should never be ignored as the excessive heat may create sparks that could start a fire in your home.

Chemical Odor

If you ever smell a chemical aroma that resembles formaldehyde, your furnace may be suffering from a cracked heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is in charge of transferring heat from the combustion chamber throughout the furnace and if it is damaged, carbon monoxide can leak into your home through the vents.

Dirty Socks

The buildup of bacteria in your HVAC system can cause the air circulated throughout your home to smell like a dirty gym bag. The best way to get rid of this odor is to schedule an HVAC tune-up and have your unit cleaned.

Damp/Musty/Smoky

Dust and debris buildup in your furnace can cause a musty or almost smoky smell when the furnace starts to warm and it burns away. This isn’t a dangerous smell, but it does mean that your unit and air ducts may be clogged.

If you smell any of these strange odors in your home, call a Heatmasters heating contractor in Chicago today!

Are you having issues with your furnace? If your furnace won’t turn on, it suddenly stops working, or the circuit breaker keeps getting switched, you may have a problem with your ignitor. Newer gas furnaces are equipped with an electric ignitor to light the furnace and turn the fuel into heat that then warms your home. The ignitor sparks and lights the burner which opens the gas valve to initiate a combustion process that creates heat. If your ignitor has gone bad, it may be almost impossible to get your furnace to turn on. Here are a few steps to check your ignitor and determine if it needs to be replaced.

1. Make Sure The Furnace As At Room Temperature

In order to check the ignitor by testing the circuit and inspecting the furnace for visual damage, the furnace must be set at room temperature.

2. Turn Off The Furnace

Turn the furnace off using the thermostat.

3. Switch Off Circuit Breaker

Turn off the circuit breaker for the furnace, often located on the furnace or in the home’s main breaker box. This will help cool the furnace to room temperature.

4. Remove Furnace Service Panel

Unscrew and remove the service panel on the side of the furnace and find the ignitor. It is usually mounted on a V-shaped bracket near the gas port. The ignitor has two wires attached to the back of it and has a flat metal tip.

5. Look For Visible Damage

The ignitor should be replaced if it is warped, chipped, cracked, broken, etc.

6. Remove Ignitor Wires From Socket

If there was no visible damage to the ignitor, use a pliers to pull the plug on the wires to remove them from their socket inside the furnace.

7. Test The Ignitor With A Multimeter

Set a multimeter to the lowest possible resistance test and place the probes onto tips of the plug for the ignitor. If the multimeter shows infinity or stays at zero, the ignitor no longer works and must be replaced.

Courtesy of Hunker

Heating your entire home is a difficult process that requires multiple complicated systems. Most homes use a furnace to blow hot air through the vents and into the home, as well as a hot water heater to heat the water you may need for a shower, washing clothes, washing dishes, etc. But some homes use a boiler instead. Do you know what is used in your home? Here is the difference:

Hot Water Heater

A hot water heater is a storage tank that heats water by electricity or burning gas. Once water is heated, it is stored in the tank until it is needed. When this hot water leaves the tank, cold water refills it to be heated until hot water is needed again for a shower, washing dishes, or the like. If you’ve ever run out of hot water in your home, its because you have emptied the tank before it had time to fully heat the new cold water that refilled it as it was emptying. Some Hot water heaters are also tankless, meaning they heat water on-demand.

Boiler

A boiler can be used for both hot water needs and to heat the entire home so there is no need to install a furnace. Boilers heat water that is then pushed through pipes into the radiators, or they heat water until it creates steam to heat the radiators. Heat is created more instantaneous than with a hot water heater.

Curious about which option is best for your home? Talk to the knowledgeable and experienced professionals at Heatmasters! In more than six decades as an HVAC contractor, we have earned a reputation for outstanding heating and air products Chicago can trust, and award-winning service. Give us a call today!

With Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, and New Years right around the corner, entertaining guests in your home is often a common occurrence. While you obviously want to keep your home temperature comfortable, there are a few ways you can make your guest feel warm and welcome without cranking the heat and raising your utility bill. Here are some tips on how to cut energy costs this holiday season.

Build A Fire

If you have a fireplace in your home, make your living room cozy and warm by building a fire or turning on the gas fireplace. This will warm up the room without requiring you to turn up the thermostat. Just be sure that when the fire goes out, you turn the heat down so your furnace doesn’t work overtime to replace the warm air.    

Lower The Thermostat Temperature

Let the heat run in your home before your guests arrive, but once they get there you can lower the temperature a few degrees. Your home will then feel warm when they walk in but the natural body heat from having multiple people in your home will continue to keep the temperature comfortable. 

Target Your Heat with Space Heaters

Space heaters are a great investment if you want to warm up a certain area of the home without cranking the heat. They are typically inexpensive and work quickly to heat small bedrooms, bathrooms, and home offices. 

Install An Energy-Efficient System

If you’re looking to save money year-round and not just during the holidays, call Heatmasters today to install an energy-efficient heating and cooling system! We offer several makes and models so you can find the perfect system for your home.

Courtesy of Woman’s Day Magazine

 A leaking furnace is never a good sign. This could happen for a multitude of reasons, but no matter the cause, it’s important to get your furnace repaired as soon as possible. Leaks can cause serious damage not only to your furnace, but to the rest of your home as well. The most likely reason for a leaky furnace is a condensation leak in high-efficiency furnaces, but lets consider all possible options.

Furnace Condensation

Most high-efficiency gas furnaces produce condensation that is directed to a floor drain. If the tubing or pipes that lead to this drain are clogged or damaged, the water in them may begin to leak onto the floor. You can determine if you have a high-efficiency furnace by looking at its vent pipe – an HE furnace has a plastic, usually PVC vent pipe. A standard furnace has a metal vent pipe and should never have condensation. If it does, you may want to ask your technician if your flue pipe is the correct size.

Humidifier Issue

Your humidifier could potentially be leaking inside your furnace. However, scheduling annual maintenance for your furnace and HVAC system should help to avoid this issue.

Internal Drain Clog

In some HVAC systems, the air conditioning unit and furnace share an internal drain. If this is the case in your system and your AC is still running, a clogged internal drain could be sending the water from the AC unit into the furnace instead of down the drain.

If your furnace is leaking and you need it repaired, call Heatmasters today! We’ve got you covered 24/7 and are known for our award-winning service.

Courtesy of Angie’s List

If you just can’t seem to figure out why your furnace isn’t functioning properly, your thermostat could be to blame. When something causes your thermostat to malfunction, it is unable to properly notify and communicate with your heating system to regulate your home’s temperature the way you want it to. Here are a few reasons your thermostat may be culprit behind your furnace issues:

Power Problems

If your thermostat doesn’t seem to be working correctly, it may just be a simple power problem. Try replacing the batteries, checking the power switch, or examine the fuse and circuit breaker. If it is just the batteries, try switching to lithium batteries rather than Alkaline so they will last longer. 

Faulty/Loose Wiring

Faulty and loose wiring can cause your thermostat to lose connection to the rest of the heating system. If your furnace stops working, be sure to inspect the wiring and tighten or replace if necessary. Hire a professional to do this if you aren’t sure how to handle wires on your own.

Mismatched Components

In order for the thermostat and heating system to work together properly, they must be matched correctly according to the system type and capacity of your furnace. If the thermostat and system are not set up together, there is opportunity for a miscommunication among the components.

Inaccurate Temperature Reading

Sometimes when a thermostat is installed it can be placed in a location that doesn’t allow it to get an accurate reading. If your furnace fails to kick on when it’s supposed to, this may be the issue. Make sure that your thermostat is placed away from outside windows and doors, as well as heat sources like fireplaces, direct sunlight, radiators, and kitchen heat emissions.

Courtesy of The Spruce

As the cool weather approaches, homes and businesses everyone are beginning to wonder when its time to start turning on the heat. Many people put this off until the last minute or try out other tips and strategies to stay warm without the heat to save money on their energy bill, but do these money-saving techniques actually work? Here are a few heating myths that aren’t quite as helpful as you may think.

Cranking the heat will make your home or business warm up faster

If you’re cold, the first thing you want to do is warm up. Many impatient people believe that cranking up the temperature on the thermostat will make your home heat up faster, however this is not the case. When it does heat up, it will heat for longer periods of time and if you forget to turn it down, you will soon be too hot rather than too cold. 

Its cheaper to run space heaters than turn on the heating system

To try and save money on their energy bill, some people believe its more cost efficient to use space heaters than to turn on their heating system. However, paying for electricity is typically much more expensive than paying for gas. This way you are only heating a few rooms in your home for the same cost as turning on the heat for your entire home.

Ceiling fans are only for summer

Many homeowners use their ceiling fans as a way to cool off when they come inside from the hot outdoors in summer, but don’t think to use them in winter. If you turn your fan on so it rotates in a clockwise direction, it will keep warm air from rising and make your home feel warm throughout without increasing the temperature on the thermostat.

Courtesy of Fox

As gross as it sounds, its very important to remove any bird droppings or feathers that have fallen into your outdoor HVAC units. Not only can they increase the likelihood of mechanical errors in your systems but they can carry harmful bacteria that often cause illness in building occupants. Bird fecal and feathers usually contain microorganisms such as Salmonella, so when blown through the ducts and vents into your home, can initiate significant health problems. These droppings can also clog the fresh air intake and evaporator coils within the heating and cooling system, and decrease the airflow from the fan.

The last thing you want is to be breathing in dirty, germ-filled air. To prevent these health risks from impacting you and your home, an HVAC professional should check the areas in and around the unit or system for bird nests and droppings on a regular basis. If a nest, droppings, or feathers are spotted, the nest should first be moved while the birds are away. Then, any other remains and debris should also be removed, but be sure your HVAC technician is wearing gloves or other protective gear to avoid touching any harmful microbes and germs. Next, the ducts and cooling coils should be given a thorough environmental cleaning. This will kill any bacteria or microorganisms that the birds may have left behind and will help to eliminate any clogs in the system. Your unit should then be back in business to keep you cool and ensure your system is working properly.

Courtesy of HVAC Insider