Archives for Furnaces and Coils

Understanding the Components of Your Furnace

heating repairIf you aren’t an HVAC technician, your furnace may seem complicated. There are a lot of different parts and each one has their own function. If one component is not working properly, it can cause issues with the rest of the system. With this in mind, it can be difficult to understand what is wrong when your system isn’t working properly.

B&L Ott in Reading, PA is always here to help you maintain, repair, or replace your furnace when needed. We will answer any questions you may have and help you understand how to better use and maintain your system. To help you begin to gain a better understanding, B&L Ott has compiled this guide to furnace components for you. 

Components of Your Furnace

Blower Motor & Blower Wheel

The blower motor and wheel are responsible for circulating air throughout your home. It takes air in through your return air ducts and transports it through the furnace where it is heated. Once the air is heated, the blower pushes the air back through your air ducts and into your home.

It is very important that the blower wheel stays clean. A dirty wheel is not able to scoop up as much air. This means your furnace loses efficiency. In this case, your utility bills may rise and you may notice uneven heating throughout your home. The best way to ensure your blower wheel stays clean is by changing your filter regularly and by calling B&L Ott for biannual maintenance. If you notice uneven heating in your home, B&L Ott can help. We can balance your duct system to direct the conditioned air where you need it to go or we can help you upgrade your blower motor.

Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger does what its name implies; it exchanges heat. It has a series of passages for the exhaust from the flame to travel through. As the exhausts travel through these passages, the heat exchanger extracts as much heat as possible, while still directing the exhaust through the vent (chimney or vent piping).

Heat exchangers take a lot of abuse. It expands and contracts as it constantly heats up and cools down all day long. This can cause cracks in the heat exchangers. If too much dirt builds up and restricts the air from passing through, the heat exchanger can also overheat. This makes the problem even worse.

This information is important because a cracked heat exchanger leaks carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that is both odorless and tasteless. The best way to protect your family from a carbon monoxide leak is to get a carbon monoxide detector and ensure that your system is properly maintained by B&L Ott every single year.

Ignition Assembly

trane furnaceThe ignition assembly is a series of components that work together to safely control the flow of gas.

In a gas or propane furnace these components include:

Gas Valve: The gas valve controls the flow of gas.

Igniter: The igniter ignites the gas to create a flame that will travel into the heat exchanger.  

Flame Sensor: The flame sensor provides safety by sensing when a flame is present. It also communicates with the gas valve. If the flame sensor does not detect a flame, it will close the gas valve.

Safety Switches: Safety switches provide extra safety by verifying when a flame is present, verifying that the furnace is venting properly, and making sure the furnace is not too hot.

An oil system is a little different. Its components include:

Fuel Pump: The fuel pump pulls the oil from the tank into the burner motor.

Burner Motor: The burner motor spins to pull air and fuel into the combustion chamber.

Oil Nozzle: The oil nozzle vaporizes the oil as it is pushed through the nozzle with great force. The vaporized oil is mixed with air and a spark to create combustion.

Electrodes: The spark (mentioned above) comes from the electrodes and the ignition transformer.

Cad Cell: Cad Cells sense the presence of a flame.

Ignition Transformer: The ignition transformer sends high voltage through the electrodes, which produces a spark right at the oil nozzle.  The vaporized oil mixes with air and the spark produces a flame inside of the combustion chamber (heat exchanger).

Ventilation System

Finally, there is a ventilation system to exhaust the resulting gases out of your home. Low-efficiency systems typically use a chimney while high-efficiency systems use a motor to draw the exhaust out of the furnace through plastic (PVC) pipes.


Your furnace is designed with a variety of safety features to make it incredibly safe to operate, as long as your system receives proper maintenance from both you and B&L Ott. As furnaces become more efficient and more computerized, it becomes more important that they are not just cleaned, but thoroughly inspected.

When you schedule maintenance with B&L Ott,  will clean and inspect the entire heating system. We will check it’s capacity, efficiency, and safety.  Our technicians will look to improve your comfort, indoor air quality, efficiency and system reliability.  Your furnace keeps you warm from October to April – give your furnace the care it needs by calling B&L Ott today.

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Furnace Warning Signs

Take a minute to think about what it would be like to spend a winter day in Berks County without heat. Your family would have to wear many layers and bundle up in blankets just to keep warm. Luckily, you will never have to know a full day without heat thanks to B&L Ott’s emergency repair service. Yet, if you regularly inspect your furnace, you can catch a failing system before it is too late. Watch for these warning signs and be sure to take care of them as soon as possible.

Pilot LightYellow Pilot Light

Typically the pilot light on your furnace should be blue. A yellow pilot light can signal a variety of problems. The most common fix for a yellow pilot light is a good cleaning. As the pilot burns, it creates deposits on the pilot. If too much ash builds up, it begins to cause problems. These deposits should be cleaned off every year to ensure proper operation.

If you notice a yellow pilot flame, you should call B&L Ott to set up a cleaning. B&L Ott will clean the furnace/pilot to ensure proper operation.

Skyrocketing Energy Bills

If your energy bills have been on the rise, but you haven’t been using more energy than usual, your HVAC system may be having efficiency issues. Higher energy bills could mean a number of things. If something is causing problems within your system, your unit will have to work harder and longer to reach your desired temperature. This causes your system to use more energy and costs you more.

High energy bills can occur for many reasons, but the most common reason is old age. The best solution is to call B&L Ott for a diagnosis. One of our trained technicians will inspect your furnace and find the issue. If the problem can be fixed, we will repair it for you. If not, we will help you choose and install a replacement.

Loud Noises

If you hear strange noises coming from your furnace, there could be a variety of problems. Scraping sounds may mean that there is something wrong with the blower or motor mount. Banging or popping sounds typically signal a dirty furnace blower or expanding air ducts. Squealing or whining sounds can be caused by problems with the blower belt, shaft bearings, or blower motor.

The best way to ensure that your system gets properly diagnosed and fixed is to schedule an appointment with B&L Ott. Our technicians are trained to find even the smallest of details that could mean trouble. Be sure to get your furnace inspected before it’s too late!

Strange Smells

Bacteria buildup may be your problem if you notice a strange smell coming from your furnace. It can build up on the inside or outside of your unit. This problem typically occurs when the system has not been cleaned often enough. You may also notice this problem if you do not have the proper air filtration in place to destroy the bacteria. B&L Ott can help you properly clean your system and install the right air filtration system.

Unstable Thermostat Readings

Does the temperature in your home match the temperature on your thermostat? If not, your thermostat may be malfunctioning. This issue can occur if your thermostat was not installed properly or if your system is getting old. A certified technician from B&L Ott has to knowledge and skills to find the cause of the problem and fix your thermostat.

Frequent Repairs

Another sign that your HVAC system is nearing the end of its life is needing frequent repairs. This problem can also be caused by lack of maintenance. The parts deteriorate after a while and your system becomes less reliable. Talk to a B&L Ott technician to help you decide if you should fix or replace your system. If your system is failing, consider our system replacement planning service.

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Don’t Make These Furnace Care Mistakes This Winter

girl-570557_960_720When you take care of your stuff, it will last longer. Sometimes it may seem like appliances just don’t last as long as they used to. Yet, you can still prolong the life of your systems. All you have to do is learn how to properly maintain them.

B&L Ott is here to help you with your HVAC maintenance needs. If you ever have questions, contact us directly or check out our blog for HVAC tips. Now that cold weather has finally hit the Reading area, you will be running your furnace. To keep it running at optimum efficiency, be sure to avoid these mistakes.

Forgetting to Seal Up and Insulate Your Home

Making sure your home is sealed and insulated ensure furnace efficiency. When there is a crack in the window, door, or wall, you pay for warm air that you are losing. Before you turn on your furnace, you should inspect your home for air leaks and fix them. Ensure that windows are locked and consider buying draft guards for doors.

You should also insulate your home. If you need new doors or windows, buy thick ones that hold in more heat. Covering your windows with curtains can also add another layer to block the air. Insulating your attic and basement may also be helpful. If you have unfurnished rooms, install drywall over bare walls. When the warm air stays inside, your B&L Ott furnace won’t have to work as hard to heat your Berks County home.

Blocking the Air Vents

Whether you have the heat or the air on, you should avoid blocking vents. Don’t put any furniture, posters, etc. on top of a vent. It blocks air circulation and can cause a warm or cold spot in your home. If possible, you should also try to avoid putting furniture in front of your vents. The more room the air has to circulate, the better. Also, be sure to clean the vents regularly. This ensures that dust and debris won’t block the air.

Forgetting to Change the Filter

Clogged filters can cause more problems than you may expect. If you don’t clean your filter regularly, the filter will become covered in debris. With no exposed fibers to catch the dust, the dirt will get into your system. When this happens, the air in your home will become contaminated with allergens. You may find your family sneezing and getting sick more often. Debris can also interfere with the machinery in your B&L Ott furnace. It can block moving parts and cause malfunctions.

tool-145375_960_720Neglecting Maintenance and Repairs

You should always get your furnace inspected and repaired when you notice an issue. Whether you hear sounds or notice inaccuracies, it is best to get issues checked out as soon as possible. If you neglect problems, they will most likely get worse. You will likely have to pay more for repairs as well.

When you want your system fixed right, call a professional HVAC technician. If you are not sure what you are doing, you may make the issue worse.  When you call B&L Ott, we will help you schedule an appointment as soon as possible. A certified technician will get your furnace back in working order so that your family will be warm.

Setting Your Thermostat Too High

When Berks County temperatures near or drop below 0⁰, it can be tempting to crank your heat up into the 80’s. However, this creates a variety of issues. It may cause your B&L Ott furnace to overwork itself. The higher you set the thermostat, the longer your furnace will have to run.

When your B&L Ott furnace is constantly running, it won’t have a chance to cool down. It will also cause wear and tear on the parts which may lead to more problems. Longer running time also means more expensive bills and a shorter over life for your B&L Ott furnace.

Heating an Empty Home

Do you want to pay to heat an empty home? If your family is not home during the day and you keep your B&L Ott furnace running, you may be wasting energy. You are also paying for heat you aren’t using. You should turn your furnace back while you are not home. Don’t turn it off completely, though. You will end up losing too much heat and pay extra to replace all the heat you lost.

B&L Ott also offers programmable thermostats. A programmable thermostat allows you to create a schedule for your HVAC system. All you have to do is program a schedule and your system will do the rest. It will turn your furnace off when you leave and turn it back on before you return home. A B&L Ott programmable thermostat will save you both time and energy.

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Don’t Buy an Oversized Furnace

trane furnaceWhen it comes time to replace your furnace, one of the first tasks is to choose a new model. There are many features to take into consideration. You should think about cost, efficiency, quality and size. If your current furnace is too small to handle the load, you may be tempted you buy one of the largest models you can find. You don’t want to have to worry about uneven heating, rising energy bills, or many breakdowns. Yet, choosing a furnace that is too large is not the best solution.

When it comes to choosing the size of your new furnace, you should consult a B&L Ott professional. They can help you choose the best model for your home and lifestyle. Choosing a furnace that is too large can have its consequences. Although it can handle heating more air, it can run into other problems that you may not think of.

Short Cycling

Short cycling occurs when the furnace doesn’t run long enough to reach the temperature on the thermostat. When a furnace is oversized, it runs hotter than it should. When it gets too hot, the safety features will shut your system off. This prevents your system from overheating. It can also keep it from accurately warming your home.

Some newer furnace systems will shut down completely if it short cycles too often. This is to prevent damage. If this happens in the dead of winter, you could get stuck without warm air. You may end up having to wait until a B&L Ott technician can come fix it for you.


A furnace uses the most energy when it fires up. When the furnace is too large, it constantly starts up, runs for a short period of time, then shuts off. This process repeats. The more the furnace has to fire up, the less efficient it becomes. Your energy bills will increase and more breakdowns may occur. The constant turning on and off will damage the parts faster. When the furnace’s components get damaged faster, you will have to call B&L Ott for repairs more often.

Shorter Life Span

These repairs can become costly and shorten the lifespan of your furnace. Before you know it, you may have to completely replace your furnace. If this happens, be sure to talk to a B&L Ott before purchasing a new furnace. A B&L Ott technician can help you choose the best furnace so that you don’t make the same mistake twice.

girl-15715_960_720Less Comfortable

Oversized furnaces also make for an uncomfortable atmosphere. When the furnace only runs for a short period of time, it will not evenly heat your home. Some areas may end up feeling too hot, while other places may be too cold. Once your thermostat senses the correct temperature, it tells the furnace to turn off. If your thermostat heats up quickly, the furnace will shut off before the entire house gets warm.  To make sure your home’s temperature stays comfortable, talk to a B&L Ott technician. They can help you make the best choices for maximum comfort.

More Difficult to Install

Larger furnaces can also be more difficult for a B&L Ott technician to install. They may have to knock out walls to make more space for the furnace to fit. Certain connections may also need to be changed to ensure the furnace will work properly. Issues connecting to your current ductwork are also possible. With so many potential problems, installation of a large furnace can become costly. If you want to spend a lot on furnace installation, talk to a B&L Ott technician about your options.

Determining the Right Size

The best way to determine what size furnace you should buy is by comparing it to your current system. If you think you need a larger furnace, gradually increase the size. Don’t drastically increase the size. If you are still unsure, contact B&L Ott in Berks County. We can send one of our knowledgeable technicians to your home to help you determine what size you need. The B&L technician will look at the size of your home and learn more about your lifestyle. These factors will help them determine what size you need.

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trane furnace

Furnaces and Coils

trane furnaceChoosing the right furnace and coil is important to avoiding future problems. A good quality furnace will keep your home warm even during the worst of winters and maximize energy efficiency. A poor furnace at best may have operating issues during cold temperatures; At worst may cause safety issues such as carbon leakage. It’s best to choose a high quality and reliable furnace in the first place for peace of mind.


Technicians at B&L Ott are knowledgeable of furnaces and coils and can help you figure out your options. We offer many types of including natural gas furnaces for variable-speed, single- or two-stage heating, and oil-based furnaces. Coil options include heating and cooling coils, evaporator coils, furnace coils, and matched heat pump evaporator coils.


High Quality Furnaces in Berks County, PA

If you would like to learn more about furnaces and coils or need to schedule service in the Berks County area, please contact B&L Ott today. Our skilled technicians will be happy to speak with you to evaluate your home and heating preferences in order to make a knowledgeable recommendation of products.

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