Furnace Season

Facts About Furnace TuneUps

Winter has come and it is time to turn on the furnace. Those first few minutes of operation are crucial in understanding if your furnace is ready for the season. Most homeowners wait until a hint of cold is in the air to turn on the heaters or furnace. This is not the best practice as the first sounds that may be heard are leaks, blowers that don’t work, and the worst case might be a system that doesn’t heat at all.

One of the best ways to insure your system is going to keep your home warm is the have a yearly maintenance contract. That contract will have HVAC technicians at your home making performance checks, doing maintenance tasks, and replacing anything that may cause you problems in the future.

It’s a good idea to have a yearly maintenance contract.

Furnace Performance CheckUp

Here are some things to think about and an overall explanation of what an HVAC technician will be doing at your home when they arrive to service your furnace. Some of these things you can do and some of these are best left to the technician.

Keep It Clean: It is a good idea to keep any system in your home clean from dirt, grime, and debris. The buildup of dirt causes motors, pumps, and seals to breakdown and decreases the overall efficiency of the unit.

Thermostat: Have your thermostat checked for calibration and efficiency. Consider upgrading to the latest technology and make use of programmable thermostats if possible.

Exhaust System: The flue pipes must be inspected for blockage, cracks, and whether or not they are allowing toxic fumes into the home. Technicians also look for animals that may be in this area.

Safety Devices: Your furnace will come with built in safety devices. If it is an older unit, it is even more important this area be checked for correct functioning. Exhaust fumes can kill and safety devices that fault during an event can lead to fire.

Burner: Condensation can be present near this areas and the build up of carbon can cause burners to use too much fuel and perform inefficiently. It must be cleaned and replaced if needed.

Electrical Components: Voltage checks must be done and fan motors assessed for amperage. Wires must be assessed for chipping, loose connections and breakdown of insulation.

Air Filter: Dirty filters can lead to a breakdown of mechanical parts and seriously decrease the energy efficiency of your furnace. Checking air filters is vital to the health of your unit.

Combustion Chamber: Check for dirt, soot, and debris in this area. If the chambers intake and exhaust are cloged or blocked, the unit will send toxic fumes into your home.

Lubrication: This is required for moving parts such as bearings, motors, and joints. The buildup of friction causes excessive noise, decreased air circulation, and an eventual total breakdown of parts.

Fans: Fans must respond correctly to the system’s call for the circulation of air to all areas of your home. The switches associated with the fan can malfunction. They must be checked during an inspection.

Pilot Light: The technician performing a check will assess whether or not the pilot light is working correctly. It must be available at correct strengths to cause a true burn.

Drive System: Belts, pulleys and motors will be assessed for wear and tear. The technician will be looking for cracks, excessive length, misalignment, broken parts, or wobble.

Gas Line: The lines that bring the fuel source to the unit must be inspected for leaks and sealed accurately.

Overall Inspection: Bolts, screws, covers, pans, harnesses, and really everything else will be inspected to insure everything is tight, without rust buildup and still doing what is intended to do.

Healthy Check Up

A professional HVAC company will have a predesigned healthy check up list they will use for your furnace with they arrive at your home. They will also be on the look out for things that are not necessarily on their list, but make themselves known during the inspection and maintenance work.

  1. Clean and inspect gas burners
  2. Inspect pilot assembly
  3. Conduct a combustion analysis
  4. Evaluate whether or not carbon monoxide levels are present
  5. Check oxygen levels.
  6. Inspect blower motor and clean all vents.
  7. Inspect for correct venting and drafting of exhaust and correct air flow
  8. Inspect the heat exchanger for operability and efficiency
  9. Inspect all piping; both exhaust and fuel source
  10. Inspect all ducts and insure dampers are working correctly
  11. Inspect the operational efficiency of the fan assembly
  12. Inspect all safety controls
  13. Inspect Wiring
  14. Inspect hot water system
  15. Assess blower motor for amperage draw and efficient operation
  16. Inspect filters
  17. Check thermostats
  18. Inspect the humidifier if one is present
  19. Inspect all registers
  20. Inspect and confirm the overall safety and efficiency of your furnace

A yearly inspection and making a list of things to do on a monthly basis will keep your furnace working at peak performance levels and reduce your overall energy expenditure.