How to Troubleshoot a Chinook Furnace

If you’ve ever owned an older home, you might be familiar with a forced-air system; it’s the type of heating system that most homes have had for decades. Nowadays, though, homeowners are switching from traditional forced air to gas or electric heat pump systems. If you have a gas or electric heat pump, your new home probably comes with a condensing furnace called a “gas condensing unit” or “electric heat pump indoor coil.” These units are more energy-efficient than old-fashioned furnaces and ducted systems. However, don’t let all the new technology fool you; installing a gas condensing unit isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds. If you know what to expect during installation and how to troubleshoot if something goes wrong, it won’t be much different from installing any other type of furnace.

What is a Condensing Furnace?

A condensing furnace is a forced-air heating system that uses a lot less energy than traditional furnaces. A condensing furnace uses a fan to distribute warm air through your ductwork, and the heat pump extracts warmth from the air inside the house and distributes it back into the rooms. A condensing furnace has an outdoor unit (ODU) and an indoor unit (IDU). The ODU extracts heat from the exhaust air that comes from your home and sends it to the environment through a drain pipe. The IDU extracts warmth from the indoor air and sends it back into your home. While the IDU uses a lot of energy, the ODU uses warm air to condense water vapor in the exhaust air. The ODU then uses this water to further cool the exhaust air down before it is released into the environment. That’s why this type of furnace is called a condensing furnace.

Parts of a Gas Condensing Unit

All gas condensing units consist of a gas furnace and a heat pump. The furnace and heat pump are usually combined in a single housing unit with a single furnace blower. The furnace burns natural gas or propane in a combustion chamber. The heat from the combustion is used to heat air that flows through the duct system and is distributed into your home. The heat pump uses a refrigerant inside an outdoor compressor to chill the outdoor refrigerant. The outdoor compressor sends chilled refrigerant through a copper refrigerant line to the indoor heat pump. The indoor heat pump transfers heat from the air inside the home to the refrigerant. The heat pump then sends the heat-charged refrigerant back to the outdoor compressor. The outdoor compressor transfers the heat to the air outside your home. The furnace and heat pump are connected by a refrigerant line. At the furnace end of the line, there is a gauge that measures the pressure of the refrigerant. A pressure regulator valve is attached to the line to control the flow of refrigerant.

How the Gas Condensing Unit Works

The furnace burns natural gas or propane in a combustion chamber. The combustion process heats the air that flows through the duct system and is distributed into your home. The heat pump uses a refrigerant inside an outdoor compressor to chill the outdoor refrigerant. The outdoor compressor sends chilled refrigerant through a copper refrigerant line to the indoor heat pump. The indoor heat pump transfers heat from the air inside the house to the refrigerant. The heat pump then sends the heat-charged refrigerant back to the outdoor compressor. The outdoor compressor transfers the heat to the air outside your home. The furnace and heat pump are connected by a refrigerant line. At the furnace end of the line, there is a gauge that measures the pressure of the refrigerant. A pressure regulator valve is attached to the line to control the flow of refrigerant.

When to Service Your Gas Condensing Unit

It’s best to schedule an annual furnace service if you own a gas condensing unit. This way, you’ll be sure to have your furnace running properly and efficiently. You should also schedule furnace service if you notice any of the following signs: – Your furnace isn’t running properly. – There is a foul odor coming from your furnace. – There are warning lights on your furnace control panel. – Abnormal noises are coming from your furnace.

Common Problems with Gas Condensing Units

If your furnace isn’t running properly, there could be several problems that need to be addressed. There could be issues with the wiring, a blockage in the line, or a bad control panel. If the furnace is not properly vented, the odor of unburned natural gas could be entering your home. If you notice a strong, sickly-sweet smell coming from your furnace, turn off the furnace and open the doors and windows in your home. If the furnace control panel is flashing, there might be a problem with the wiring or the circuit breakers. If you hear abnormal clicking or humming sounds coming from your furnace, it’s probably the blower motor. You can try adjusting the blower speed to reduce the humming, or you can replace the blower motor. If you notice water pooling around the furnace, there could be a leak in the water supply line. You should call an HVAC contractor to repair the water supply line or the water may damage other components of the furnace. You should also have the furnace serviced because there could be rust or debris in the water line that is blocking the flow of water to the furnace.

Bottom Line

Gas condensing units are more efficient than old-fashioned furnaces, but they are also more complicated. Make sure to schedule an annual furnace service to keep your system running at peak performance. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your furnace’s indoor air temperature. If it feels unusually warm, there may be a problem with your furnace. If you notice any of the problems listed above, call an HVAC contractor to inspect and repair your furnace as soon as possible.