It’s easy to get lost in the multi-item lists of furnace maintenance you may see floating around, and you may find it difficult to compare what you really get. In the end, the goal of maintenance is to keep your heating system running safely and efficiently and to find problems when they’re small. Here’s what you need to make sure is included and why maintenance is so important for the function of your furnace.

Safety Checks

Any gas or oil furnace comes with risks if something malfunctions. The fuel may cause a fire, or an exhaust leak may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Many of these risks are avoidable thanks to the safety switches built into your heater.

Your technician will check each of these switches to ensure they’re working properly. They’ll also inspect your fuel supply lines and regulator for signs of leaking. Finally, they’ll look for carbon monoxide as your system cycles. These checks are the most important elements to keeping your family safe while depending on your furnace to stay warm this winter.

Visual Inspection

Many problems within your furnace can be identified if you simply know the visible signs. Your technician knows what to look for and will conduct a thorough visual inspection of your entire unit. The components they should inspect include the furnace housing, burner, igniter, and inducer and circulating fan motors.

The most important component of a visual inspection is the heat exchanger. This part funnels the hot exhaust from the burn chamber up to the flue to transfer the heat to the circulating air. A crack in the exchanger is extremely dangerous and a leading cause of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Deep Cleaning

As your furnace runs, it draws airborne contaminants in with the air, most of which the air filter removes. However, the smallest particles flow right through your filter and collect further into the system.

The places it collects that are of most concern are the heat exchanger and the circulating fan wheel. When they get dirty, they restrict the airflow through the heater, causing the efficiency to drop and the strain to climb. To help prevent this, your technician will gently clean both the exchanger and the circulating fan wheel.

Component Tightening and Balancing

Your heating system produces vibration as it runs, leading mounting bolts, screws, and electrical connections to loosen. With loose mounting bolts, the system’s components have extra movement during the cycles, which adds more wear on those parts. The increased stress makes those components wear out prematurely and leads to what often becomes an emergency repair.

Loosened electrical connections cause more resistance in the electrical circuits, which creates additional heat. When hot enough or left long enough, that heat will melt wiring insulation, cause arcing, and burn out components. To combat this, your technician will tighten all mounting screws and check electrical connections.

Your circulating fan wheel will also slowly become unbalanced. This will cause extra strain on the fan spindle and motor. Your technician will balance this wheel to keep it running smoothly.

Cycle Testing

To ensure everything is working properly, your technician will run a complete heating cycle. While the system runs through the cycle, the technician will check that every phase initializes and terminates properly.

Part of the system check is testing the temperature rise, which is how much the furnace heats the air moving through the unit. Each heater has a specified rise range, and your technician will test it against the specifications for your specific model. A rise that’s too much or too little signals a problem in your furnace that will make heating ineffective.

Why These Steps Are Important

As you can see, you want to make sure you keep your furnace well-maintained. The degraded efficiency will drive up your utility costs and lead to unplanned emergency repairs. It may also lead to dangerous leaks that can pose a risk to your family.

Your warranty depends on having routine professional maintenance conducted. Manufacturers recognize the additional cost they’ll incur if their systems aren’t properly maintained. To reduce this risk, they make routine maintenance a term of their manufacturer’s warranty.

Residents of Thornton have sought Lumberjack HVAC for reliable HVAC services since 2015. Our technicians provide expert heating and air conditioning installation, repair, and maintenance, along with humidity control. Call to schedule your fall furnace maintenance with one of our experts today.

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