The Importance of Furnace Maintenance

Many heating system problems would not occur in the first place if they had received regular maintenance. A furnace that is neglected may experience premature failure, but one that receives routine care from a professional service technician has the potential to provide years of reliable, comfortable heating.

Preventive heating maintenance includes examining the unit, cleaning the parts and lubricating the critical components. These steps allow the heating system to function at maximum efficiency and reduce energy costs while operating within safe temperatures.

Furnaces that do not receive routine inspection and cleaning can have a variety of issues, including clogged filters, which force the equipment to work harder, short cycling turning on and off repeatedly, excessive energy consumption and carbon monoxide leaks. These issues, in turn, can lead to expensive repairs and/or a replacement furnace.

The most common cause of a malfunctioning is a dirty flame sensor, which can be easily cleaned by a professional during a tune up. A clean flame sensor allows the furnace to operate at optimal efficiency, which conserves fuel and cuts energy consumption.

Another common problem is a clogged air filter that restricts the flow of warm air to the heating system. The air filter should be cleaned or replaced approximately every three months in order to maintain the best possible operating condition of your heating system. During a furnace tune up, the technician will check that the fan and blower are functioning properly. This is done by checking the motor and fan belts for looseness or signs of wear and tear, as well as ensuring that there are no blockages in the return air ducts that could prevent adequate circulation of hot air.

Other important tasks performed during a tune up include:

The heat exchanger is the heart of your furnace and requires careful examination to ensure that it is in good working condition. A cracked or broken heat exchanger can result in carbon monoxide leaks. The technician will use special tests to determine if the heat exchanger is cracked or damaged and, if so, will take the necessary measures to repair it.

A good furnace tune up also involves inspecting the exhaust pipe for carbon monoxide leaks. These leaks can be very dangerous for your family, especially to anyone with breathing difficulties such as asthma or bronchitis. The technician will test the safety shut off switch, gas valve and flame sensor to ensure they are in good working order and that they are sensing the correct pilot flame.

The professional will also check the temperature set points and thermostat scheduling to make sure they are in accordance with your household needs. He/she will also look for any leaking ducts and check the vent registers to ensure they are open and free of obstruction. In addition, the technician will examine your ductwork for any holes or seams that need to be re-sealed to avoid moisture infiltration and mould growth. Many of these tasks are too complicated and dangerous for a homeowner to undertake, even with the proper testing equipment.