Heating Tips "Turning Up The Heat"

by Charles Dow
(New York)

Heating Tips "Turning Up The Heat" The two basic types of warm air furnaces are gravity and forced air. Gravity furnaces require basement installation so that the heated air will circulate upward through vents and the cool air will sink downward into the furnace to be reheated. Forced air furnaces, which use a blower to circulate the heated air, can be installed almost anywhere: basement, wall, closet, alcove, even in the attic.

Both operate on either natural gas or liquid propane. The great majority of minor malfunctions in either type of furnace are due to accumulated dirt, which ranges from a thin layer of dust in a thermostat to a deep mound of it in a blower chamber. Following the techniques outlined in this website, a homeowner can alleviate a great many seemingly serious malfunctions in a furnace.

Once you learn where to look for it, dirt is obvious. If a problem develops in a heating system that is not obvious and easy to correct. it is a good idea to call a furnace repairman (or a public utility service department if you live in an area where the utility company keeps men on call). The troubleshooting chart on page 30 should help you to identify the scope of your problem.

Discusses dangerous problems in detail. Aside from cleaning parts of the furnace, the homeowner's knowledge of his system should govern just how far he goes in attempting repairs. Thermostats and pilot lights are the only parts of the electrical and fuel system an amateur should tackle. Certain adjustments of fan belts are in reach of a non-professional.

To get the most out of a heating system, it is important to control the cold at its source. Such things as adequate insulation. weather stripping, double windows, and storm doors can cut heating requirements and fuel bills dramatically. (Procedures for weather stripping, installing doors and windows can be found in the chapters on those subjects.) Dampers which are normally found on the ducts near the furnace (they are sometimes placed higher up, near the room registers), regulate the flow of warm air into various rooms and sections of the house. and they should be adjusted as required. A distant room may require a wide open damper. a room near the furnace an almost closed one. Some systems have no dampers and must be regulated at the warm air outlets in the rooms.

The fireplace damper should also be closed when not in use. If open. it can leak 25% of the heat input. Good air circulation is important. Some doors are so airtight that air flow is inhibited. Trimming a half inch or so off the bot-tom will often resolve a cold room problem.

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