feeling chilly due to malfunctioning furnace

Winter is here. You can already start feeling the cold breeze blowing and the heat subsiding. The temperature will soon drop to uncomfortable levels. Ensure that both you and your family are spared from freezing nights.

Check your furnace early on to see whether it is working as it should. Some issues can be quickly fixed while others aren’t so simple. For instance, short-cycling is one key issue that requires professional attention. A furnace short cycles if the furnace runs then shuts off and starts again repeatedly.

How Can I Tell If My Furnace Is Short Cycling?

A properly functioning furnace turns on and runs continuously until the desired temperature is achieved. It will then turn off thus allowing the space to maintain that temperature level. It will be a while before it turns on once more due to the dropping temperatures.

A short-cycling furnace, on the other hand, will turn on and off again in quick succession. It won’t reach the thermostat setting. It will simply shut down and run again thus causing wear and tear on the system. The house will feel cold throughout the day even though the furnace is running.

Why Do Furnaces Short Cycle?

image of why furnace short cycles

The situation cannot persist. It is a waste of energy and causes damage to components while allowing the house to become cold. If this problem is noted, it should be quickly addressed. The proper solution depends on the actual cause. Here are some things that are likely to trigger such erratic behavior:

1. Overheating Furnace

HVAC systems come with built-in protection from damage. While a furnace is designed to heat up the house, it is possible for the unit to get too hot. It can detect when it crosses a dangerous level and turns itself off immediately.

The furnace takes this emergency measure as a way to prevent damage such as cracks from developing in the heat exchanger. Carbon monoxide, which is lethal, may leak from such cracks and you need to be grateful it stopped when it did.

Overheating is usually the result of airflow restrictions caused by dirty air filters or blocked exhaust vents.

2. Faulty Flame Sensor

image of a gas furnace

If the flame sensor in your furnace is faulty, you can expect the flame to shut down immediately after it lights. It is important to understand that the sensor’s purpose is monitoring the gas valve. It is a safety measure aimed at preventing raw gas from getting into the home. If there’s no flame it shuts down.

If the flame sensors are malfunctioning, they will shut off the gas valve even when it is necessary. You can try fixing the problem by calling an HVAC contractor to clean the sensor. If that fails to work, then they may suggest a replacement. Once again, you need to find an HVAC technician to do it for you.

3. Dirty Furnace Filter

replacing furnace filter

Short-cycling can also be caused by a dirty furnace filter. Unlike a faulty flame sensor that triggers an immediate shut-off, a dirty filter will let the furnace run for several minutes before it shuts down. You may also notice that heat grates pump out hotter air than what you might be used to.

If the furnace filter gets dirty, the air is unable to flow back to the furnace and cool it down. The heat will just build up to unmanageable levels. It will then shut down automatically as a safety precaution. If you have a washable furnace filter, clean it. However, if it is disposable, you should replace it.

4. Blocked Heat Grates

The furnace heats up the air and pushes it out to the grates. If the hot hair is unable to freely flow out of these heat grates, heat will be trapped inside thus causing the system to overheat. You will then have another short-cycling episode unless the underlying issue has been resolved.

Keep in mind that grates have control mechanisms known as dampers that allow occupants to control whether a room gets heated or not. It is a useful feature to have for energy savings. A high number of closed vents, however, may lead to overheating. Always try keeping 75 percent or more of these always open.

5. Blocked Exhaust Vent

The exhaust vent must always stay open. However, sometimes the vents do get blocked due to nests, snow, vegetation, beehives, and so on. It is important to remove all obstructions without delay. In fact, it is one thing that needs to be regularly checked as part of HVAC maintenance.

It can sometimes be tricky such as when a dangerous animal is the one blocking the openings. If that’s the case, you should call animal control as opposed to exposing yourself to harm.

6. Wrongly Placed Thermostat

thermostat and comfort control

The thermostat has sensors used to gauge indoor temperature. It regulates the activity of the furnace in response to what it senses in the environment. It might thus not do its job right if it is not placed in the right spot.

For instance, if it is placed near a heating grate, a sunny window, or any other hot spot, it will definitely have skewed sensor readings. The thermostat will think that the house is heated enough thus triggering a premature shutdown.

Install the thermostat in a neutral location, away from anything that may grossly influence the temperature readings.

7. Your Furnace Is Too Large

It might be tempting to get a large furnace when looking to feel secure about the heating system’s capabilities. Bigger, however, is not always better. Excess capacity, when it comes to furnaces, can be detrimental because it triggers short-cycling.

The components will wear down quicker, temperature swings become more pronounced, and the heating bills will be higher than usual. Replacing the unit with a furnace of the right size is the sensible yet costly solution. Fortunately, an experienced HVAC contractor can perform very precise calculations for the furnace size to meet your heating needs.


Fix your furnace issues early to make your home comfortable this winter. If you notice the furnace short-cycling, determine the cause based on the clues provided. Get help from an expert HVAC technician for proper diagnosis and repairs. Your diligence will translate to a stress-free winter as well as a longer-lasting heating system.

Contact Tower Energy For All HVAC Requirements

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If you are looking for superior heating and cooling services throughout Hartford County, Connecticut, you should always count on Tower Energy. We have a team of the best HVAC technicians who are both certified and experienced to provide you with the best HVAC installations, repairs, replacements, and tune-ups. All our technicians have the experience and knowledge needed to correctly service your HVAC system.

Tower Energy guarantees the most competitively priced heating and cooling services in the area. Our maintenance services can increase your energy efficiency, improve your comfort, and reduce your home cooling costs.

If you need HVAC system replacement or repair, we can recommend the best one for your home without going over the budget. All our work is backed with a guarantee to ensure maximum satisfaction. Contact Tower Energy today to schedule your service appointment. We offer free, in-home estimates.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.

woman who smells heating oil in her home

Heating oil has proven to be a reliable fuel for furnaces in American households for numerous years. When the weather turns cold, the low cost, ready supply, and high efficiency of heating oil can certainly make those chilly months a little easier to bear. If your home uses heating oil and you notice an odor, the question many people have is if this odor is an issue. There’s no doubt, heating oil has an odor that is very unique and distinctive, but it should not cause a problem when used with an effective containment system. This is true even if you do happen to catch a whiff, the smell of heating oil should go away rather quickly. If by chance the heating oil smell persists, you might want to consult one of the experienced HVAC technicians from Tower Energy to discover what the exact problem is and to improve the indoor air quality in your home.

Is An Odor Of Heating Oil Normal?

While a noticeable smell of oil lingering in a home is not normal, there are times when this can happen. Sometimes, the reason is rather short-lived and trivial while other times the problem might be more persistent and serious. Below are some of the likely reasons for this to happen.

1. A Recent Oil Delivery

image of a heating oil delivery

Following the delivery of fresh heating oil, it’s not unusual to notice the smell of oil for a short time. Wait a few days and see if the odor simply goes away on its own. If this is the reason you smell fuel oil, it will likely be faint as opposed to a strong overpowering odor. If the smell of oil lingers a bit longer, the problem might be due to the delivery crew accidentally spilling some of the oil onto the ground.

Tower Energy offers the most reliable and safe delivery of heating oil in Hartford County and the surrounding areas in Connecticut. When it comes to spill-free and problem-free fuel delivery, you can always count on us. Call us today and discover what choosing us for your heating oil deliveries will be able to do for you and your family.

2. First Furnace Use Of The Season

It’s common for a heating system to sit idle for extended periods, such as during the warmer months of the year. People will generally wait until temperatures start to drop before they turn their furnace back on. When the furnace is first turned on for the season, it tends to have a slight odor of burning oil. This odor at the initial startup is very normal. There’s nothing to worry about and it should be quite fleeting.

3. The Furnace Filter Is Clogged

oil furnace filter replacement

If the furnace filter has become blocked, you might start to notice an oil smell. Your HVAC system’s air filter should be replaced every couple of months, or more often, depending on the specific environment in your home. If you notice an oil smell, check your HVAC filter. If a new air filter doesn’t resolve the problem, then the problem is likely something else. Call Tower Energy today.

4. Other Furnace Problems

The smell of oil could point to other furnace problems, such as inefficient furnace operation. When there is not 100% combustion of the oil, any leftover oil can lead to a lingering odor. Additionally, fumes could be escaping through cracks in an oil burner. A trained HVAC technician can determine the specific cause of the problem. Another reason for an oil smell is a faulty heat exchanger. No matter what the issue might be, Tower Energy has licensed HVAC technicians that are skilled in resolving your heating issues.

Is It Dangerous To Be Exposed To The Smell Of Fuel Oil?

person asking if smelling heating oil at home is dangerous

Many people are concerned that being exposed to the smell of heating oil could pose a health concern. This is especially true with those who have their oil tank in an enclosed space, like a basement. The truth is, fumes from heating oil are generally much less dangerous than the risk of natural gas. Exposure to oil fumes at low concentrations does not have the same level of toxicity as natural gas. Additionally, fuel oil is stable enough that there is no concern about explosions. Of course, avoiding oil fumes is certainly best.

Regardless, if you notice the smell of oil lingering in your home, you should always give an expert a call. Ignoring this type of problem could lead to issues that are more complicated.

Any symptoms you might experience as the result of short-term exposure will like go away shortly after the oil smell is gone. However, long-term exposure should be avoided because it could potentially lead to serious health issues. If you’re unable to find the source of an oil smell, then it’s time to seek immediate help from an experienced technician.

What To Do If You Notice The Smell Of Heating Oil

image of phone portraying to call an hvac company

Read through the list and follow the recommendations provided. Look for cracks in the burner, inspect the ground to see if there is a heating oil spill, and replace the air filter for the heating system. To be safe, turn off the furnace until the problem is solved. If the odor is inside your home, make sure to ventilate the area. Protect the health of children and pets by keeping them away from an area that is contaminated.

If you find oil spills from a previous heating oil delivery, use an absorbent material to help prevent the spread of oil. If you find any damaged materials, isolate them, and clean the surface with water and soap. Anyone who is facing a problem bigger than they are able to handle should call in an expert for professional assistance. Sometimes, the problem is more substantial than what a homeowner is able to see or smell. It’s a good idea to have an experienced technician take a look and investigate the problem.


There’s a reason why most people are sensitive to certain smells. This sense of smell helps to warn us of dangers that we might be unable to hear or see. Foul odors enable us to detect potential problems and resolve them quickly. If you have a furnace that smells like oil, it’s important to be proactive in trying to find the reason. The heating oil should be completely contained within the oil tank, so fumes coming from the heating system are not normal. Typical reasons include the first use of an oil furnace, a clogged air filter, problems with the furnace itself, or a spill from a previous oil delivery. An HVAC professional will be able to help identify the problem and provide the services needed to get the issue resolved quickly. Give Tower Energy a call for superior solutions for the comfort of your home.

Call Tower Energy For Superior Home Comfort Solutions

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Tower Energy offers exceptional heating and cooling services in Hartford County and the surrounding areas in Connecticut. Our technicians are the very best NATE certified HVAC professionals and will provide quality repairs, installation, tune-ups, and HVAC replacements. Our technicians all have the experience and knowledge to provide exceptional HVAC service for your heating system.

Tower Energy guarantees our heating and cooling services to be among the most competitive in the area. We have maintenance plans that can help improve energy efficiency and comfort while reducing your energy costs. When you’re interested in taking steps to improve indoor air quality, look no further. Our expert technicians are trained with the industry’s most advanced solutions and can help you achieve your home comfort dreams. We offer affordable services and our work is always guaranteed to meet your satisfaction. Additionally, we offer fast, affordable fuel oil deliveries in order to keep you warm and safe all winter. Call Tower Energy to schedule your appointment today. We offer in-home estimates that are completely free.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.

image of person adjusting thermostat to turn on furnace

Furnaces are designed and built in a way that enables them to last for many years. But if overused, abused, and neglected, these tough machines wear down. The last thing you would want during the cold months of winter is to deal with a furnace that is unreliable and failing. Even though your furnace has been built to last for well over a decade, it can wear down prematurely due to improper usage. Regardless of how long it takes, this system will eventually breakdown. But before this happens, HVAC repairs increase, furnace efficiency goes down, and home heating costs go up. Therefore, you need to know how to properly maintain your furnace to continue enjoying years of indoor comfort.

How You Are Overworking Your Furnace

Most people fail to notice early signs and symptoms of furnace problems until they show up. You will be surprised to know that many homeowners contribute to the problems as well, without even knowing it. Today, we will be outlining six of the ways that homeowners stress and overwork their heating systems.

Not Turning Your Thermostat Down When You Leave

It’s a common practice for homeowners to keep their thermostat at the same temperature even when there is no one at home for an extended period. We discourage this. Doing this forces the heating system to work to keep an empty house at a comfortable temperature. Consequently, this places more wear and tear on your furnace and escalates your home heating costs.
Using a programmable thermostat will help you avoid this. With this thermostat, you can set a specific temperature for when no one is at home. However, do not worry if you do not have a programmable thermostat. What you can do is simply turning down the device manually before leaving for the day or at night, when you are warm in bed.

Letting Cold Air In The House

If you are used to leaving your doors and windows open, even just a crack, you are letting the cold air in. You will notice this during days where you notice a cold draft indoors. To remedy this, check and confirm that all your windows and doors are closed and locked. Also, learn how to find air drafts in your house. Examples include gaps, holes, and cracks around windows and doors. These inlets let in cold air, therefore, causing the drafts. Your heating system has to compensate for the cold air. Therefore, fix any drafts to avoid this issue.

Cranking The Thermostat When You’re Cold

It isn’t necessary to increase the temperature of your thermostat to warm your home more quickly. Instead, confirm if the temperature is already set to your ideal level. Do not try to increase it if it is at the right temperature setting. Increasing it does not warm your home faster, but only overworks your heating unit.

Blocking HVAC Air Vents With Furniture Or Other Objects

Some people place furniture, curtains, and other items over their air vents, therefore, unknowingly blocking them. These items block airflow and affect your furnace’s ability to distribute warm air evenly around the house. Some homeowners also put beds over vents believing that the air will warm their sheets and keep them toasty. Though this might work, it will hinder the proper flow of warm air. It also strains your system, causing unnecessary wear and tear. The same holds true for homeowners who close air vents to unused rooms. Keep your air vents open in all of the rooms to ensure proper airflow and avoid wear and tear.

Skipping Annual Furnace Maintenance

Heating systems need to be maintained regularly. This means that you must schedule for maintenance and checkups at least once a year. Potential problems are identified early enough before they turn into major issues. An HVAC technician also has the opportunity to fix them right away before they have a chance to escalate. If you haven’t scheduled one yet, contact your local HVAC contractor. You will benefit from reduced energy costs, and your system will continue to operate efficiently.
Also, remember to change your furnace filter regularly. A good number of homeowners are guilty of not doing this, and as a result, the furnace is overworked, and it ends up wearing down. Conduct filter checks monthly and ensure it is clean and in good working condition.

Opting For The Cheapest Furnace Replacement

Age affects furnaces negatively by making them less efficient. An aging unit will eventually give in to wear-and-tear, therefore, fail to function the way it used to when it was still new. As time goes by, this furnace will need a replacement.
You will notice a whole lot of difference in terms of the indoor air quality, comfort of your home, and your energy costs with a new, energy-efficient furnace. However, do not be tempted to replace your aging furnace with the cheapest option available. Remember that your furnace is a major investment, and price matters when it comes to a furnace replacement. The cheapest alternative won’t perform as well as a reasonably priced one.

3 Signs Your Heating System Is Overworked

Increased Home Heating Costs

It not unusual to receive high utility bills in the winter season. However, you should be concerned if the increase seems higher than usual. This is a sign that there might be a problem with your furnace. Several factors can cause your unit to consume more energy. Check your air filters and, if necessary, replace them. However, if you check and see that everything seems okay with your filters, call an HVAC contractor and have them identify the issue.

image of a couple looking at high heating bill

Uneven Temperature

One of the signs that your furnace system might not be running correctly is uneven temperatures. This is exhibited by cold and hot spots throughout the house or from one room to the next. Your system might be overworked and unable to warm your home efficiently. Contact a furnace expert to offer a solution.

Frequent Furnace Repairs

If your furnace requires more repairs than normal, it is likely because it is overworked. An overworked furnace will wear out prematurely. You will need to replace the furnace earlier than you had planned to.

Call Tower Energy For All Of Your Home Heating Needs

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Your furnace is an important investment. When it ages and wears out, it is time to replace it. Contact Tower Energy for high-quality HVAC services. Our NATE certified technicians can repair, replace, maintain, and install HVAC systems. We can also offer advice on how to keep your heating unit in top shape. Therefore, call Tower Energy today to schedule a free, in-home estimate.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.