An annual inspection of your unit can ensure that the various potential problems mentioned above are detected early, and before they require complete replacement. During this inspection, for instance, a professional might find small cracks in your heat exchanger or a faulty seal in your blower motor. Some manufacturer's warranties even require these annual inspections to maintain validity. Typically, your furnace inspection will cost between $80 and $150 depending on the area in which you live and the professional you work with.
A number of other variables can influence your decision on whether to repair or replace your furnace, as well. In addition to cost and brand, consider the expected lifetime of your furnace. If it is more than 15 years old, it might make more sense to invest in a new unit even if it costs more than simply repairing the current problem. Long-term costs also play into the equation. For example, your new furnace may be more energy efficient than the current unit. Even though you will pay more for the actual installation, you might be able to make back your investment through lower energy bills. To make your decision, consult with a reliable professional on what to do. In inspecting your furnace, they will be able to make an informed recommendation that looks not just to the next year, but years into the future. That way, you can make the best possible decision for your home and budget long-term.

If you have forced-air cooling but there’s still a room that’s hotter than all the rest, a duct or vent booster fan can increase the flow of cool air into that room. Two types of booster fans are available. An in-line duct booster fan (shown) fits inside the duct of the room you’re trying to cool. You mount the fan near the outlet and it automatically kicks on when your cooling system runs.

Many disconnect blocks contain two cartridge fuses. Check them before you proceed with repairs (Photo 3). A blown fuse is a sign of a failing part inside the condensing unit. So don’t just replace it and think you’ve solved the problem. Instead, replace the parts we show here. Then install new fuses and fire up the unit. If it blows again, call a pro—you’ve got more serious issues.


Because an air conditioner moves heat between the indoor coil and the outdoor coil, both must be kept clean. This means that, in addition to replacing the air filter at the evaporator coil, it is also necessary to regularly clean the condenser coil. Failure to keep the condenser clean will eventually result in harm to the compressor, because the condenser coil is responsible for discharging both the indoor heat (as picked up by the evaporator) and the heat generated by the electric motor driving the compressor.
In 1758, Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley, a chemistry professor at Cambridge University, conducted an experiment to explore the principle of evaporation as a means to rapidly cool an object. Franklin and Hadley confirmed that evaporation of highly volatile liquids (such as alcohol and ether) could be used to drive down the temperature of an object past the freezing point of water. They conducted their experiment with the bulb of a mercury thermometer as their object and with a bellows used to speed up the evaporation. They lowered the temperature of the thermometer bulb down to −14 °C (7 °F) while the ambient temperature was 18 °C (64 °F). Franklin noted that, soon after they passed the freezing point of water 0 °C (32 °F), a thin film of ice formed on the surface of the thermometer's bulb and that the ice mass was about 6 mm (1⁄4 in) thick when they stopped the experiment upon reaching −14 °C (7 °F). Franklin concluded: "From this experiment one may see the possibility of freezing a man to death on a warm summer's day."[9]
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