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Frequently Asked Questions

We always encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have about our many services, but it may save you some time to look below first for a quick answer to questions we get asked all the time!

Heating

A: Before you call or email us, go through the troubleshooting steps below to make sure a service call is really needed. It will save you the cost and inconvenience of an unnecessary service visit, and will ensure our technicians are working where they are most useful.

  • Make sure the thermostat is set above room temperature or in the “heat” position. If it’s a digital thermostat and the display screen is blank, you either need new batteries or the power supply has been interrupted.
  • Check for a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse.
  • Check that the power switch for your heating system is turned on. Sometimes, these get turned off accidentally.
  • Check your tank to see if you have heating fuel.
  • If you have an oil heating system, press the reset button on the burner relay — ONLY ONCE. If your system doesn’t start after you push the reset button the first time — do not push it again. Pushing this button more than once can cause your heating system to “flood.” Too much oil will get pumped into the combustion chamber, resulting in a lengthy and costly repair.

If at this point you still don’t get heat, call Southville immediately.

When a service technician arrives, let him know everything you did to the system before he begins working on it. You should also let him know if anything out of the ordinary happened, like an unusual noise, a strange smell or smoke.

In many cases, this will help the technician find the problem — and get your heat back on again — faster.

A: Heat is generated by burning fuel oil inside the furnace. This happens in the combustion chamber, which gets very hot. Air absorbs this heat in the furnace’s heat exchanger. Next, the blower sends the heated air through a system of ducts, and then warm air circulates through the home.

A: The heat exchanger is the main component of your furnace. If the heat exchanger has a crack or a rust hole, combustion fumes (including carbon monoxide) can contaminate the air in your home. This is a potentially deadly situation and should be addressed IMMEDIATELY. A cracked heat exchanger usually requires replacing the entire furnace. If you suspect that you might have a cracked heat exchanger, or a carbon monoxide problem caused by your furnace, turn the system off immediately. Then call us right away for service.

A: Installing a new furnace with a variable speed motor is a good solution. These “smart” motors automatically adjust the volume and speed of air based on your home’s temperature requirements.

There will be fewer on/off cycles, smaller temperature swings, consistent, even heat and lower fuel bills.

A: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). All heating equipment manufactured after 1980 has been required to have a label indicating its AFUE. The AFUE ratio is a measurement of a heating system’s seasonal efficiency, taking into account how well the system performs over an entire season of starts and stops. Modern heating systems can range in efficiency from 81% to 95%. If your system’s AFUE is
lower than this range, talk to us about your replacement options.

A: Different people feel comfortable at different temperatures. Pay less attention to the number on the thermostat display (or the position of the temperature indicator on a nondigital display) and more to how comfortable the room feels to you. When you feel comfortable, check the setting. That’s the right temperature for you.

A: This means the battery is almost dead should be replaced immediately..

A: Absolutely! Programmable thermostats are especially useful for people who are away from home at regular intervals. They allow for customized comfort settings around the clock, and they can cut heating and cooling costs by as much as 10%!

A: Either find your owner’s manual to get it back to Fahrenheit, or call us to help you out. Some of the older models will read Celsius if you accidentally push two buttons.