Maintaining a Home Furnace Regularly
A home furnace can literally mean the difference between living in a home during the cold of winter or having to abandon it. In the old days, heat happened with fireplaces. However, today, heat is spread throughout a home with an HVAC or a furnace vent distribution system.
That furnace can last for years, but maintenance is what ensures the best longevity from a heating system, as well as spotting issues before they become a far more expensive problem to fix. It’s never too late to call for a tune-up, especially when little odd things start happening.
Temperature Takes a Toll
A furnace is used seasonally, most obviously during cold months. That means the system goes through a period of non-use and then a season of cyclical heavy use. There’s a lot of temperature changes involved for the assembly that makes up a furnace system, especially around its heating element. In the first 5 to 10 years, systems typically work fine.
However, as a furnace system grows older, strain and changes take a toll. Wear and tear begin to cause problems. With a furnace tune-up, these new issues can be spotted early, especially if the tune-up is applied annually. If the tune-up is every few years, then of course, issues may be a bit more developed when discovered. However, identification still helps with preventing bigger issues when a furnace outright fails.
Furnace Failures Tend to Happen When Needed Most
Not much of a surprise, most furnace problems tend to happen in the cold months. They fail because use finally catches up or something breaks, which most frequently happens when the furnaces are used the hardest. However, with regular tune-up checks, homeowners can avoid that emergency furnace repair at O dark thirty when the coldest day of January has arrived.
Instead, a professional HVAC technician can go through the system, check all the systems involved for proper performance, and can look for hints or signals of concerns starting to develop that can be fixed if caught early.
What to Expect
A fully-attentive professional furnace tune-up is going to cover a list of checks. Some of them might be specific to the type of furnace involved with a given home, but a good majority are common to all furnaces, both in terms of safety and expected proper function of the system. These checks include the following:
- Relubrication of any moving parts to avoid problems with friction and sticking. This is common with blowers, fans and parts that move the hot air out of the furnace to the home.
- Checking the proper function of starters, electrodes and pilot lights for natural gas feed.
- Looking for any gas leaks and confirming gas pressure is appropriate.
- Checking that motor function is correct, and the output is within expected boundaries.
- Examinations of the blower system for any serious wear and tear deterioration.
- Cleaning and checking the heat exchanger for damage.
- Examining all electrical connections for damage, corrosion or wire shorting.
- Testing for CO leaks, a critical safety issue that is colorless and odorless.
- Visually inspecting all flues and ducts so that exhausts are working correctly.
- Checking ductwork for tears or leaks to prevent heat loss.
- Inspecting all gas feeds or oil pumps for proper flow.
- Confirming all control thermostats are working correctly.
- Providing an updated states report for the homeowner to know in detail what’s going on with their furnace system and what may need extra care soon.
Remember, a furnace tune-up is a proactive approach to furnace system care. No matter how many items are inspected, it’s also going to cost a lot less than if the furnace fails and needs to be outright replaced, especially in winter when demand for heater services is the highest