Frequently Asked Questions

My furnace stopped working. What should I do?

The very first thing you should check is your thermostat. DO NOT turn it up or down YET. See that it is set on HEAT and at least 5 degrees above the room temperature.
NOW, if it is a newer style gas furnace the unit may have some diagnostic lights visible through a sightglass in the blower door of the furnace. Look at these lights and make a note of what they are doing, [ some make flash at you in long and short flashes, some may have 2 or 3 lights flashing in a pattern and some may even show an LED readout number ]. Pay attention to what your lights are doing. All furnaces will have a chart in the owners / installation manual that the manufacturer requires to be left with the furnace. Some furnaces will also have a troubleshooting chart on the door.
NOW that you know what the light are showing [ if your unit has them ], turn the power switch off. Wait 30 seconds or until everything in the furnace has stopped. Turn the power switch back on. The furnace will attempt to restart. Within 5 minutes the furnace may start throwing heat or the unit will again be flashing a diagnostic code at you. Do not turn the power off anymore. Please call for service.

I have an oil furnace. What would I do if it stopped working?

All oil furnaces have a control with a RED reset button. Most units have a grey or black box that it is on in the front of the furnace by the burner. FIRST, make sure your thermostat is calling for heat. SECOND, make sure you have oil in the tank. THIRD , locate the ON / OFF switch. NOW, you can push and release the RED reset button ONCE and ONLY ONCE. The oil burner should attempt to start. If the furnace does light, the metal chimney pipe will start to get warm to the touch in 15 seconds. If the furnace does not light, the control will again shut the furnace off on safety. DO NOT PUSH THE RED RESET BUTTON MORE THAN ONCE. Doing so may fill the combustion chamber with oil and could endanger the occupants and the building!

How often should I have my furnace, boiler, water heater, air conditioner or air to air exchanger serviced?

The recommended service interval is annually. The normal furnace in Wisconsin has about 2000 hours of running time each season. By having an annual tune up of your heating & cooling appliances, you can extend the life of these expensive items. Homeowner Warranties [ for new homeowners ] and extended warranties normally require annual maintenance for the policy to provide coverage. Regular service helps to keep the efficiency up, heating costs down and repair costs are lower in well maintained equipment.

How often should I change my air filter?

If you are using the normal 1” thick fiberglas filters, change these monthly. The filters that look like a fleece blanket can go up to 3 months, BUT you must check these monthly and change them when they get dirty. The thicker filters [ 4”, 5” ] can go up to 1 year, but these should also be checked every 3 months. The homeowners manual that came with your furnace should also have ideas on this.

I am pretty handy around the house . Can I service and fix my own furnace?

Many homeowners are quite handy and can handle the non technical repairs [ change a belt, oil a motor, change the air filter, etc. ]. Inside your furnace or air conditioner are many things. If handled improperly, these items can : electrocute you, suffocate and cause you or family death or serious injury, can cause a fire, can explode or destroy your home. I do not advise a homeowner of servicing their own equipment unless they are fully certified to do so.

How do I select a heating contractor to work on my equipment?

Many things must go into this decision. Among these are:
1: Is the contractor licensed in this state?
2: Does he have refrigerant certification for work on the Air Conditioner?
3: Does he have liability insurance and workman’s compensation insurance?
4: Do you trust him to work in your home? What if you are not home?
5: Is the company bonded?
6: Does the company do background checks on their technicians?
7: Is the company name & phone number on the service vehicle?
8: Is emergency service important to you? If so, call your contractor at night or on a weekend. Can you get a hold of him [ answering service, pager, cell, etc. ] and does he call you back within a reasonable time? OR do you have to wait until Monday?
9: How do the technicians or other company personel treat you. Is that treatment acceptable?
10: Does your contractor do maintenance work, repairs [ emergency and non emergency], installation of new equipment and will they talk or consult with you when you have concerns?
11: What are his prices?

If you only are considering the ‘cheapest’ guy in town or the guy who ‘moonlights’ behind his employer’s back, don’t worry about # 1 to 10. Quality, reliability and professionalism are not cheap.