Furnace maintenance is extremely important to keeping your home comfortable and safe over the winter. However, there is some variation from one company to the next regarding what’s included in routine maintenance. Here’s what your furnace maintenance should include and why each part of it is important.
What Makes Maintenance Worth the Investment?
Before jumping into the specifics of what should be included in your maintenance, let’s start with why it’s worth the investment. Maintenance is similar to teeth cleaning in the sense that some people put it off until there’s a major problem. If you adopt this approach, you’ll end up paying far more than you would by keeping your system operating well in the first place.
As your system runs, it naturally loses some of its efficiency, increasing your utility costs and operational strain. In turn, this adds to your repair costs, increases the likelihood of needing emergency service and reduces your system’s service life.
Annual maintenance reduces the risk of all this by helping to maintain the equipment’s optimal efficiency. On top of that, most manufacturers require this maintenance under the terms of their warranty on a new system. If you skip your maintenance, you will not only pay for it with higher operational costs, but you may also void your warranty.
You may not always bear this in mind, but your furnace comes with risks, and lack of maintenance increases them. If any of those risks are realized, it may mean significant damage to your home and injury to your family.
An annual professional maintenance visit reduces these risks by ensuring everything operates as it should. Your furnace has several safety switches built in to shut the system down if there are signs of trouble. Your technician will check each of these switches to ensure they are working properly.
This furnace professional will also check your gas supply to ensure there are no leaks. Finally, your technician will check for carbon monoxide while your furnace is cycling. This reduces the risk of your family falling victim to that silent poisoner.
Part of keeping your system running well is simply inspecting the physical components for signs of damage. This should include your circulating fan motor, your burners, and your igniter.
Additionally, your technician should do a thorough inspection of your heat exchanger to ensure there are no cracks. Cracks here are one of the leading causes of household carbon monoxide leaks.
As your system runs, small particles flow through your filter and settle further in your system. The common places that have the most impact are on the heat exchanger and the circulating fan wheel.
When these get dirty, the flow of air moving through your system is restricted, reducing the equipment’s overall efficiency. Your technician will gently clean each of these components, ensuring that air can circulate freely.
Tightening and Balancing
Your system creates vibration as it runs, which starts loosening mounting bolts and screws. This even affects some electrical connections. Loose mounting hardware allows excessive movement in your system components. This puts unusual strain on those components, causing them to wear out more quickly.
In the case of your circulating fan wheel, it can become out of balance, much like the tires on your car. When this happens, it puts strain on the motor spindle, which then wears on the motor bearings.
During routine maintenance, your technician will tighten all the mounting bolts and screws. They will check your circulating fan wheel and make sure it is properly balanced. Finally, they will check your electrical connections to ensure these are tight and not causing excessive electrical resistance.
Run Cycle Check
All this work is important and will help your system, but there’s one more task to make sure you’re prepared for the winter. To determine that your system is ready for the cold season, your technician will test a full run cycle.
During this test, a check will be done to make sure that each part of the run cycle initiates correctly. This includes the ignition, gas flow, circulating fan and draft fan. The temperature rise will also be tested to ensure the equipment produces enough heat to effectively warm your home.
People in and around Portland, OR have turned to Climate Control for reliable HVAC service since 1989. Our NATE-certified technicians provide heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair along with water heater services. When we perform a furnace tune-up, we’re thorough. Call us today to schedule your furnace maintenance with one of our experts.