Understand Your Furnace — Learn All The Important Parts

Understand Your Furnace — Learn All The Important Parts

The HVAC system inside your home is complex. It’s composed of many different parts that work together to heat or cool your home. Today we want to discuss the different parts of a furnace and how they function. Knowing the parts of your furnace is key to keeping it in good condition. 

Read on as we shed some light on identifying the most important parts of your furnace, what their purposes are, and why it’s so important to take good care of them.

Parts of a Furnace


The gas burners are ignited by a pilot flame or electronic ignition that is incorporated in most modern gas furnaces. The main function of the gas burners is to heat up cold air using heat exchangers that are made of stainless steel. Then the warm air is distributed through the ducts by a blower motor.


Run by the blower motor, this is one of the crucial parts of the entire furnace system because it helps set up the air draft that is required for the operation of the furnace itself. The blower’s main purpose is to allow for easier intake of cold air and then channel it through to the heat exchanger chamber.

Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger is made of heavy gauge metal mixed with alloys that resist temperatures above 2000° F to accommodate the extremely high temperatures that are reached inside the combustion chamber. That’s why it’s important to perform annual inspections and examine the state of the heat exchanger on a regular basis. If not, there could be dangerous consequences.

The heat exchanger is the part of the furnace that takes carbon monoxide out of the house. Because it is usually visible and easy to spot, it needs to be regularly inspected for cracks or rusting. Noticeable damage on the outside can run the risk of causing a carbon monoxide leak inside your home, which can be deadly. 


Capacitors store electricity and help compressors and blower motors turn on and operate. Specifically, start capacitors provide motors with a boost in starting torque. Faulty capacitors lead to overheating, intermittent motor operation, humming noises and can even cause blower motor failure. 


Vents are one of the only parts that are directly visible to the homeowner. Vents are usually made of stainless steel or PVC, with PVC being most common due to its durability. The vent pipe works by carrying the exhaust gasses that are formed due to combustion outside of the home, 


This is one of the key components designed for the safety of the furnace. The flame sensors, pilot, electronic or hot surface igniters monitor the presence of the flame in the combustion chamber. If the flame in the combustion chamber goes out, these sensors stop the flow of gas into the chamber using their link up with the gas control valve.

Control Board

The control board is the brain of the entire operation. Wires attached to the board run to the motor, gas valve, ignitor, and other necessary components. It controls your furnace by telling it when to kick on the gas and at which point the fan can shut off. 

Modern furnaces use integrated circuit boards to monitor the furnace’s operation. It works because of light emitting diodes that show failure codes if the gas furnace is malfunctioning in any way. 

Keep Your Ears Open

Most of the parts of the furnace are usually behind a door. According to experts, a person can actually hear certain parts of the furnace working. 

The furnace is made up of the blower motor, the heat exchanger, the blowers, and the control board. They are the main components of a furnace, and none of them can be seen with the naked eye. Because you can’t physically see damage, listening for it is the next best thing. If you hear a loud popping sound, or any other sounds that don’t seem right, it’s time to call a professional. 

Be Smart: Consult a Pro

We recommend always calling an experienced JW East Mechanical HVAC technician to come to your home and check everything out for you. We aren’t just saying that. There are fragile and expensive parts that need to be removed or moved, and only professionals have the hands-on experience to get it done correctly and safely.

If you are experiencing any issues with your HVAC system give us a call. We also recommend a fall furnace check to keep your system operating year round. We’ll perform regular maintenance to identify any worn parts or leaks. Most breakdowns in HVAC systems happen because of deferred maintenance, so have us perform these important checks every year and avoid the stress and inconvenience of a broken heater in the middle of winter.


An annual Furnace Inspection Will Save You Money

An annual Furnace Inspection Will Save You Money

Will it work? Is that a strange smell? What was that sound? These are all questions that go through our minds as we turn on the heater for the first time of the year. We might not use our heater as often as those who live in other places, but we do use it. And when we need to turn it on, it’s important to have peace of mind knowing that it will work correctly. The best way to make sure your heater will work is to get an annual furnace check. 

Simply stated, an annual check-up ensures that all aspects of your furnace are working correctly. The number of problems that can occur within your HVAC system are endless, which is why it’s important to have a licensed professional thoroughly inspect your unit to catch small problems before they become out of control. By doing this you will not only prolong the life of your unit, you will save money and create a more energy-efficient home.  

A comprehensive furnace check should inspect the following: 

Blockage in the vent or drainage system- The vent and drain are essential parts of your system. Your furnace will perform at its best and last much longer with proper drainage and vent piping care by a qualified technician. 

Accumulation of dust and debris- Over time, dust and other particles will collect in your system and cause blockages and other damage. Air flow is also compromised when dust gets in the way. A professional knows the right way to get around your system and clean it properly.

Rust and corrosion- If a part needs to be replaced, don’t wait long to get it fixed. Waiting a prolonged period of time will cause additional damage to your system like rusting, which is very expensive to fix. 

Dirty flame sensors- If your flame sensors are dirty, your burner cannot turn on and your furnace will not produce heat.  

Physical condition- Even if the individual parts of your system are working, the physical condition of the furnace is important too. Are there corrosion spots on the outside? Is there debris pushed up against the unit? All of this will keep your system from running as efficiently as it should. 

Emission of dangerous, undetectable gasses- HVAC service technicians always check the carbon monoxide levels, as well as other gasses in the system to ensure there are no leaks. Gas leaks can be extremely dangerous. A carbon monoxide leak can go undetected for a long time and can lead to serious health problems, including death. 

Deemed the Silent Killer, carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and kills on average 169 individuals a year according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In a 2012 study by the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 72,000 non-fire carbon monoxide incidents were reported between 2006 and 2010. Of those, 94 percent occurred in a home.  

At JW East, we recommend a fall furnace check to keep your system operating year round. We’ll perform regular maintenance to identify any worn parts or leaks. Most breakdowns in HVAC systems happen because of deferred maintenance, so have us perform these important checks every year and avoid the stress and inconvenience of a broken heater in the middle of winter. 


Voltage Protection Devices Will Protect Your HVAC System During Hurricane Season

Voltage Protection Devices Will Protect Your HVAC System During Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is here. And so far, we have escaped the path of some very destructive storms. But that doesn’t mean we are in the clear just yet. As we all know by now, hurricanes can strengthen at the very last minute, which sometimes means you have very little time to prepare. We recommend always being ready, not only with food and water, but also making sure your house is properly prepared to handle the storm. 

Before we get into the technical stuff, we want to start by stating that a hurricane or even a bad thunderstorm can cause lightning strikes. These strikes, depending where they hit, can cause extensive damage to the HVAC system of your home. If this happens to you, the first thing you must do is assess the damage. While some signs of damage will be obvious, others will not be. 

Signs of HVAC damage after a storm: 

  • Unit is making strange noises: If you hear strange rattling or buzzing noises, this could be an indicator of a big problem. It could simply mean debris has blown in your unit from the storm, or it could be a sign of internal damage to components like the fan or compressor. 
  • AC Unit isn’t cooling your home properly: If you notice your home not cooling like it did before the storm, chances are there is damage somewhere inside your unit. The most common reason for this is a damaged or leaking refrigerant line. 
  • Flooded Unit: This problem is very easy to spot. If your HVAC system is not working and you see water pooled around it, then your unit has been flooded. 
  • Electrical problems at the breaker box: Sudden electrical issues can trip a breaker. Your breaker box is the first thing you should check when your system isn’t working. But if your breaker keeps tripping after you have fixed it, you will need to call a professional. 
  • Evidence of a power surge: Power surges are a common occurrence during hurricanes. Did lightning strike near your home? Did you lose any electronic products like a television or computer? A power surge can fry a capacitor, burn up fuses and wires, and cause compressor damage. Voltage issues can cause the most damage to your HVAC system. 

“As we move into hurricane season, I would like to offer some advice on how to protect your HVAC system from voltage issues out of your control. Also, with the growing number of stand-by generators being installed, it is even more important to protect these high tech systems,” says Jim East, owner of JW East Mechanical. “The old ‘hard start kits’ that many contractors have installed in the past no longer meet the growing need to protect the high-dollar electronic components that are not only in your outdoor units, but also in the heating systems.” 

We recommend installing a device that helps protect your HVAC system from dangerous high voltage strikes that come with hurricanes. 

“There is not a silver bullet that fits every system,” says East. “It takes a professional to offer the right control to protect your system. One of the controls we use and recommend is made by ICM Controls. We recommend one for the cooling system and one for the heating system.” 

A good protection device will do the following: 

  • Reduce in-rush current draw necessary at startup. In-rush is the maximum instantaneous input current drawn by an electrical device when first turned on. By using a device that reduces this maximum output of energy, you will save money on your monthly bills. 
  • Reduces loud noises on startup 
  • Over / Under voltage monitoring. This means monitoring system health, including voltage, current, compressor startup and integrity. Upon a fault condition, it will halt operation and initiate a three-minute, anti-short cycle routine while providing diagnostic fault information by means of an LED indicator.
  • Compressor soft start. This will reduce the starting current of the compressor by actively controlling the current in both the run and start windings.

Now is the time to have a professional out to inspect your HVAC system. We will determine areas of vulnerability and will make recommendations to keep your system running efficiently. Call the experts at JW East today! 


Purify Your Indoor Air With AprilAire

Purify Your Indoor Air With AprilAire

We have mentioned in our previous blog posts the importance of keeping the air inside your home clean and purified. According to experts, just one cubic foot of air can have more than 30 million pollutants including dust, mold spores, and allergens. Breathing in these irritants can make you sick, especially in children and the elderly. They can also trigger asthma, allergies and a variety of different respiratory problems. As an HVAC company, we understand how critical having clean air inside the home is, which is why we use air purifying products made by AprilAire. 

Before we discuss how you can purify your indoor air, we want to explain why you should. The experts at AprilAire have done extensive research and come up with 8 basic benefits of having clean indoor air: 

  • Reduce illness – Removing airborne contaminants from the home allows you and your family to breathe easily. 
  • Eliminate pests – Pests thrive in homes with dust, dirt, and mold, which can be resolved with improved indoor air quality.
  • Alleviate allergies – By removing allergies from your home, your entire household will breathe better and not suffer as much from seasonal allergies. 
  • Make your home more pet friendly – All pets produce dander, meaning there are no hypoallergenic pets. But with a purified home, most all dander and pet debris will be removed from the air. 
  • Better sleep – Because your indoor air is clean and purified, you will no longer be affected by the sneezing, and will get better sleep. 
  • Energy efficiency – Managing humidity in the summer or winter can drastically reduce heating and cooling costs.
  • Increase home value – A healthy home is less likely to be damaged by pests or humidity, and may increase property value.
  • Lower stress levels – In addition to better health, sleep, and energy efficiency, a healthy home requires less cleaning time. And less cleaning means less stress. 

AprilAire offers a variety of products that will improve the quality of your indoor air: 

Whole-House Humidifiers 

In Texas, we understand that humidity is something we will always have to live with. But did you know that humidity can cause damage to your home? 

AprilAire whole-house humidifiers balance your home’s humidity to help improve sleep and skin, enhance productivity, and keep you protected against airborne viruses. Additionally, AprilAire humidifiers help preserve your home from cracking and warping due to low humidity levels. 

Whole-House Dehumidifiers 

If your home is full of humidity, then the air is moist. And moist air is the perfect breeding ground for mold and fungus. AprilAire dehumidifiers balance your home’s humidity by reducing mold- and mildew-causing moisture, keeping you protected against the harmful effects of allergy and asthma symptoms. 

Temperature Control

AprilAire offers a number of different thermostats that are compatible with a wide range of heating and cooling systems. Each different thermostat allows you to control and adjust your air’s purity, humidity, and freshness as well as temperature. You can also control this system from your smartphone. This gives you the ability to have greater control over the amount of energy you are using, and will cause your monthly bills to go down. 

Radon Test and Mitigation Fan 

Radon is an odorless, invisible, radioactive gas naturally released from rocks, soil, and water. Radon can get into homes and buildings through small cracks or holes and build up in the air. Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and the only way to know if you’re being exposed in your home is to test.

To mitigate the effects of radon, AprilAire Radon control professionals can install products designed to redirect harmful radon gas out and away from your home. 

Zone Control 

A major problem that homeowners face is when certain rooms or areas of the home do not cool or heat as well as they should, causing different spaces to be different temperatures. By using AprilAire zoning control devices, you can control the temperature in different parts of the house, independent of the temperature in other rooms or zones. This not only gives you more control over the temperature in your home, it also lowers your energy consumption which saves you money. 

If you think AprilAire products are right for your home or have any questions, give the experts at JW East Mechanical a call!

Be Energy Efficient — Top Energy Wasters In Your Home

Be Energy Efficient — Top Energy Wasters In Your Home

Making your home energy efficient and saving money are top priorities for homeowners. And a good way to save money on monthly bills is to cut down on your energy consumption. But aside from turning off the lights when you leave the room, knowing exactly what to do can be difficult. Below is a list of the top energy wasters in your home. By identifying what they are, you will be able to cut down your energy usage and save money!

Windows and doors

Most of us don’t think of our windows and doors as energy-suckers, but they are. And this is especially true if they are not properly sealed because cooled or heated air from inside the home is escaping outside. This heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer causes us to rely more heavily on our air conditioners and heaters to reach a comfortable temperature. And that excessive use will make your bills sky-high. 

According to experts, your heating system works hard to bring your home to the set temperature. If there are leaks in your doors or windows, your HVAC system has to work a lot harder because the heated or cooled air is going outside and not staying in your home. By fixing all open cracks and making sure your doors and windows are properly sealed, you will not have to use your HVAC system as often.. And that will make your home more energy efficient which will in turn lower your monthly bills.

Many homeowners incorrectly assume that if they have drafty windows, they need to have replacement windows installed, but that’s not really the case. The truth is, replacement windows will improve your home’s comfort and energy efficiency, but they don’t always get rid of drafts. When it comes to windows and doors, many times the gap between the framed window opening and the frame of the window, called the shim space, is the culprit. You can’t see the “shim space” with the naked eye, but you can feel the effects of an open shim space when it’s cold or hot outside. Chilly or warm outside air will find its way around the exterior trim into the shim space, and will go directly into your living space. Because of this, it is important to have a licensed HVAC technician thoroughly inspect all doors and windows. 

Old appliances

Older appliances like washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators waste a lot of energy. If any of these items in your home are more than 12 years old, replacing them is your best option for running a more efficient and inexpensive household. 

For example, modern, energy efficient front-loading washing machines can save you up to 85% on your energy costs and use up to 75% less water. So even though you might spend a little more on the purchase of your new machine, the energy efficient model will likely save you hundreds of dollars each year. And if you upgrade all your appliances to energy efficient models, the savings will really start to add up. 

Small loads

We already mentioned that washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers account for a significant amount of energy usage. Because they use so much water and energy, it is important to run them only when they are full. This keeps them from constantly running. If you only run them when they are full you will be surprised at the amount of money you can save!


No, we’re not talking about the “Twilight” series. We’re referring to all those appliances you keep plugged in and running even when they’re not in use. They might seem insignificant individually, but an old alarm clock in a rarely-used room, a video game console you haven’t fired up in months, a toaster oven with a clock on it, or your laptop charger plugged in even though your laptop is already charged — those “vampires” add up to a decent chunk of charges on your electric bill. Unplug them, and watch your expenses go down.

Air conditioner/Furnace 

Your air conditioner and furnace are two of the largest systems in your home, and keeping them maintained and in proper working condition is very important. Not doing so will drive up your energy costs. By having each system inspected annually, you are being proactive about discovering and fixing all problems before they get out of hand, waste excess energy, and cost you thousands of dollars to fix. 

By making a few small changes to your household, you will be surprised by the amount of money you’ll end up saving each month. If you have already made some changes and not seen any savings, call JW East Mechanical. Our experts will inspect your system inside and out to make sure it is running in optimal condition!