Heating FAQs: Furnace Questions and Answers to Save You Time and Money

At RJ Heating and Air Conditioning, we’re here to help you stay warm and comfortable. Sometimes that means sending a technician to your home, other times it just means answering a few simple questions about your furnace or boiler. Below are the most frequently asked questions from homeowners like you—click on each for free, professional advice or contact us with your concerns.

1. What should I do if my heat goes out?

Keep our number handy—414-463-1140—but go through this troubleshooting checklist before calling:

  • Check your power. Even a gas furnace needs electricity to run the blower motor, so make sure it’s not just a tripped circuit breaker.
  • Check the thermostat, making sure it’s on “heat” and not “cool” in case someone accidentally changed the setting. In the same vein, make sure the fan is set to “auto” and not “on”. If you have newer controls, there may be onscreen information about the problem—if the screen is blank, you may just need new batteries so it can send operating instructions to your furnace.
  • Change the filter. If your furnace is too dirty, it can block airflow and cause a shutdown.
  • Check the outside vent. If your furnace can’t vent properly, it will stop running. Remove any leaves or snow covering the exhaust pipe and see if heat returns.

If you still don’t have heat, call us for service. We’re available around the clock, every day of the year, to protect you and your home from the cold.

2. My home always feels cold. Do I need a bigger furnace?

A bigger furnace doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll feel warmer, faster. In fact, a heating system that’s too large to cycle properly often leads to inconsistent heating and skyrocketing energy bills. Instead, talk to a comfort specialist at RJ Heating—you may just need maintenance service or a repair for the system you have. Zoning or a ductless split system are other affordable options for even heating.

3. Can I save money by closing vents in rooms I don’t use?

This is a common homeowner myth and while it seems to make sense, the answer is no. Your furnace was selected and installed to service your entire home and its job is to distribute heat evenly, no matter what. Closing vents disrupts pressure in your duct system and makes your furnace work harder and less efficiently. You’ll save money and reduce the strain on your system by keeping all vents open for optimal airflow.

4. How often do I need to change my air filter?

Changing the air filter in your heating and cooling system is key to maintaining high efficiency and performance. If you use a standard one-inch filter, you should change it every one to three months depending on the filter type (one-inch poly filters last closer to one month while pleated one-inch filters can last up to three months—check the packaging for exact details). Media cartridges or high-efficiency filters, however, only need to be replaced once or twice a year—do it when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings to stay on schedule. More frequent changes may be needed if you smoke or have pets, or if construction projects in or around your home are stirring up extra dust.

5. Does a clean air filter mean cleaner air?

Your furnace filter prevents dust and debris from getting into your heating system and bogging down its moving parts, but it really doesn’t clean the air that blows out into your home. To truly improve indoor air quality, ask us about air purifiers that are specifically designed to trap tiny airborne particles and microorganisms.

6. How long should my furnace last?

Most furnaces can last between 15 and 20 years, but there are a lot of variables. Several long, cold winters of non-stop heating can shorten a system’s life expectancy, while annual maintenance can add years of service. It also depends on the make and model but watch for these signs that it’s slowing down: it’s more than 12 years old, energy bills are rising, repairs are more frequent, rooms aren’t heating evenly, and you’re noticing more dust, strange noises, and humidity problems at home. Don’t wait until your system has a complete meltdown and leaves you cold—ask us for a professional opinion and we’ll help you be prepared when it’s time to replace your furnace.

Didn’t find the answer you needed? Wondering what to do next? Use our online form to send us your heating question—one of our comfort specialists will respond as quickly as possible.