Proper maintenance of a furnace is the most effective way to avoid the potentially high costs associated with heater repair. Much like a car, a heater needs regular tune-ups to keep it operating safely and efficiently. Annual preventive maintenance by a qualified HVAC professional is crucial to extending the life of a furnace and preventing the need for costly service calls.
A comprehensive furnace tune-up will include the following key points:
-Tighten gas and electrical connections for safety and efficiency.
-Check the heat exchanger for damage that can result in unsafe operation.
-Remove dust buildup from the internal components to prevent overheating.
-Clean the burner assembly and check for damage.
-Inspect the vent and flue to prevent dangerous carbon monoxide leaks.
-Lubricate the moving parts of the system to reduce friction and keep it operating efficiently.
-Test the controls to ensure the unit starts, runs, and shuts off as it should.
-Measure the current and voltage on the motor for proper operation.
-Check the ducts for loose joints and damage, which can considerably reduce the amount of warm air sent to the rooms of the home.
-Check the blower assembly for correct operation.
-Check the air filter and replace it if it’s dirty.
In addition to preventive maintenance, there are several things a homeowner can do to ensure that the furnace operates safely and efficiently year-round, preventing the need for heater repair.
-Check the air filter every month and replace it when it’s dirty. A dirty filter prevents optimum air flow to the furnace and makes it work harder to heat the air for the home. Inefficient air flow can cause the furnace to overheat, damaging its components and increasing the home’s utility bills. Furthermore, a clean filter improves the quality of the air in the home by trapping particulate pollutants such as dust, mold, bacteria and other allergens.
-Keep the area around the furnace clean and free of debris, which can build up inside the system and cause overheating.
-Call the gas company immediately if the smell of gas is detected.
-Know the location of the gas shutoff valve and keep it accessible in case of an emergency.
-Report any banging, squealing, or other unfamiliar noises, as well as any burning odors, to an HVAC company.
The best time to schedule a preventive tune-up is in the fall, before the heating season arrives. Because spring and fall are busy times for HVAC companies, the earlier the maintenance call is scheduled, the better.
Heather B is part of a team of writers who contribute to blogs and news sites on a daily basis.