Tag Archives: furnace


How Does a Furnace Work?

We all like being comfortable in our homes, and staying in a warm and cozy house in the winter is a feeling like no other. For those of you who are curious, or just like knowing how things work, we’ve got a quick guide to furnaces.


Once upon a time, furnaces were fueled by coal or wood, but in the modern era, furnaces are fueled by either electricity, gas, or propane. Contemporary units are highly efficient and can convert most of the fuel into heat.

Forced Air

All furnaces operate on the same principle: forced air. Fuel produces heat, which then moves into the air. A fan pushes that warm air through a system of ducts, which then comes out as warm air through the vents in your home, thus heating the house. Air conditioners will typically use the same ductwork to push cool air, which is overall the most efficient layout for a house.

Gas and Propane Furnaces

Gas and propane furnaces are very similar. In a gas furnace, there is a pilot light (like on a stove) that ignites burners. The heat from the burners raises the air temperature to your thermostat setting; then fans push the air through the ducts.

Electric Furnaces

This type of furnace does not have a pilot light. Instead, the unit jump starts via electrical ignition. The actual heating element is a series of coils, and the warmer you want the air temperature, the more coils heat up. And like the other types of furnaces, the warm air is then distributed throughout the home.

Air Conditioning Repair

If you need to have your furnace inspected, or if you just need an annual check-up, give Total Comfort Heating & Cooling a call, and one of our technicians will come out to your home and take a look.


Protect Your HVAC Unit From Snow and Ice

Denver residents know exactly what winter can bring—icy conditions, piles of snow, and of course, frigid temperatures. Your heater is working overtime to help keep you and your family warm, but snow and ice can potentially cause some problems to your system.

Heat Pump

If your HVAC system has a heat pump condenser, it needs proper ventilation to work efficiently. Just as you need to keep the unit free of leaves in the fall and tall grass in the summer, you need to clear the unit of snow and ice in the winter. It’s important to clear an area of about 18 inches around the unit and remove any snow or ice on top.

The unit has small fins, which is how it transfers heat, and you need to take special care not to damage these fins while you’re clearing away the snow. So no heavy hitting with your shovel.



While we’re on the subject of protecting fins, icicles can also cause some serious damage. Make sure your gutters don’t have any damage that can cause icicles to form. If they do form over your outdoor unit, knock them away, so they don’t fall on the condenser.

Intake and Exhaust Pipes

If you notice that your furnace is constantly trying to start without turning on, the intake and exhaust pipe outside may be blocked. To find the pipe, look for a black or white pipe leading away from your furnace and see where it leads outside the house. If there is a pileup of snow, clear it away.

If you get snowed or iced in and you think your system needs assistance, out technicians at Total Comfort Heating and Cooling can take time for a home visit to help make sure your furnace is clear enough to keep working properly. Contact us today!


The Most Common Furnace Problems

It’s getting into the colder months of the year, and it’s important to make sure your heating system is working correctly. We’ve put together a list of the most common heating system problems. Knowing what they are and how they occur can help you possibly avoid them in the future.

Common Problems

Below are some of the common causes of furnace problems.

  • Lack of Maintenance – If you fail to keep up with annual inspections, you may run into unexpected problems. Regular maintenance can help keep your heater working at maximum efficiency.
  • Dirty Filters – Clogged filters block airflow, forcing your system to work even harder. Replace them according to the manufacturer’s schedule.
  • Mechanical Wear – Mechanical parts wear down and need replacing over time. Parts failure can cause overheating and poor performance.
  • Thermostat Issues – It’s possible it’s not the furnace that’s malfunctioning, and it’s actually the thermostat. This can lead to no heat, intermittent heat, or blasts of hot air.
  • Ignition Control – A faulty ignition or pilot can create heating problems. A specialist can determine the cause of the outage.
  • Noisy Unit – There could be a mechanical issue at play. Rumbling and rattles are not typical.

What to Do

Regularly change your air filters. This will prevent at least one problem from coming to the surface. Follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Double check your thermostat. Sometimes the battery simply needs replacing; other times the fan or heat setting may not be where it should be.






Reduce drafts where you can and make sure the unit didn’t blow a fuse. If those at-home checks don’t change anything, it’s time to call a specialist.

If you’re having a problem with your heater, contact Total Comfort Heating & Cooling. We can send one of our expert technicians to your home and assess and fix your problem. Don’t get stuck in the cold!


It’s Never Too Early—Your Pre-Winter HVAC Checklist

As summer starts to come to a close, we start dreaming of cooler weather, which means it’s time to start thinking about your winter heating needs. You wouldn’t let your car go without inspections and oil changes—treat your HVAC system the same way.

Your HVAC system for heating or cooling requires regular maintenance, and while the repairs should be left to us, there are steps you can take to assess if there are any problems that need to be addressed. It may seem early, but it’s better to catch problems before you lose functionality in the middle of winter when you need the heat.

Your cooling system may be running great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your heating system is. In the off time during the spring and fall months, elements of your heating system may stop working. Here are a few simple steps you can take to assess if your heating system is working properly.

Check Your Thermostat

It may seem obvious, but the first thing you should do is turn the unit on and see if it’s working. Set your thermostat to about 75 degrees and wait a moment. Put your hand over the vent and feel if warm air is pushing out. If you don’t feel warm air, or if it takes more than a few minutes to put out warm air, there may be a larger issue.

Check the Air Filter

Sometimes, limited heat or slow heat could point to the air filter. Use your owner’s manual to check where your air filter is located. It’s a pretty quick check to see if the air filter is dirty or clogged. Air filters typically need to be cleaned or changed every three to nine months.


Have one of our professionals come to your home and perform a fall tune-up. An HVAC tune-up is not something you should do yourself, and a technician can make sure your unit is running at optimal capacity.

Registers, Grilles, and Vents

It goes by many names, but the register is the vent through which warm air pushes into the home. Turn on your heating system and check every register to feel that they are all putting out warm air at the same force and temperature. Contact a technician if one of your registers is not functioning properly.

Return Air Vent

All HVAC systems have a return air vent, which sucks in air to either be cooled again or warmed. This air will also be filtered. The return vent is an essential part of your system, so you should include this as part of your pre-season checklist. The return air vent is usually huge, and you can assess its effectiveness by putting your hand close to the grille—you should feel a light suction.

Clean Around Your HVAC System

As a matter of safety, you should clean the area surrounding your unit and remove any debris, vegetation, and potentially flammable material.

Your Seasonal Experts

Don’t wait for winter to come before your check your heating system. Total Comfort Heating and Cooling can fill all of your HVAC needs.  Contact us so we can perform a seasonal tune-up and make sure everything is going to perform when you need it.


Furnace or AC Unit? Common Types of HVAC Systems

After 30 years in the HVAC business, we have learned how to help customers with any type of home ventilation system. From interactions with our cherished customers over the years, it appears that homeowners know a fair amount about home heating and air conditioning options. It’s great to have in-depth conversations about some of the key features of the homes air control system.

One question we keep getting asked is: what are some of the common types of HVAC systems that could work for me? This post is meant to answer this question for all our inquisitive customers.

Single or Multi-Stage System

Single and multi-stage systems are popular in hot and cold climates alike. The system is designed to operate effectively on the hottest or coldest days of the year, thus guaranteeing warmth or cool air throughout the home.

Single-stage systems are common in older homes and can only operate at only one level of heating or cooling. This can get expensive and be rather loud to live with, which is why the multi-stage system was designed. The multi-stage system operates much like a light dimmer switch in that it has the ability to adapt to the temperature outside.

The single-stage system is certainly less energy efficient than the multi-stage system. It’s a popular choice for homeowners with older property to update their HVAC system to multi-stage.

Zonal System

Another newer option is a zoned system. The home’s furnace or AC unit can be applied only to specific areas of the home that need it most. It is the most effective way to deal with heating and cooling in the home, and most homes built today come with this kind of infrastructure. The zonal system saves energy, cuts back on costs, and is quite functional for homes of all shapes and sizes. HVAC 1

Specific Changes to Heating or Cooling Components

Sometimes a home just needs an update in the heating or cooling department. This is the case for people living in hotter climates that need a fully functional AC unit but do not require a furnace.

Total Comfort offers all these types of HVAC upgrades to their customers. Contact us today for more info about how we can bring more heating and cooling comfort to your home!