Furnace Inspections: Why and How This Appointment Helps Your Heating System
With home ownership comes great responsibility, and it’s important to keep up with repairs and preventive maintenance in a timely manner, to avoid bigger issues down the road. When it comes to your HVAC equipment, annual furnace inspections are a must, helping to keep your family comfortable and safe throughout the colder months. Read on to find out why, along with a list of common tasks your contractor will complete.
The Benefits of Furnace Inspections
Homeowners who bypass annual maintenance on their HVAC system do so for one of several reasons:
- They feel they can carry out the inspection themselves.
- They think it’s a gimmick.
- They are looking for ways to save money.
- They’re forgetful or lazy.
The truth is, dollars spent toward preventive maintenance are well spent, and for a different perspective, think of them as an investment toward the comfort, health and safety of your family. Here’s why they’re important:
- Efficiency – A clean, well-tuned system operates more efficiently, saving you money on your heating expenses and reducing your carbon footprint.
- Safety – Your furnace burns fuel as a source of energy, and the combustion process creates the heat that keeps your family warm, while gases produced are vented outdoors. Should these gases find their way into your indoor air due to a leak or fault in the system, carbon monoxide poisoning may occur, leading to sickness or even death.
- Prolonged Lifespan – A furnace that is dirty and neglected places a strain on your entire system. As your equipment works harder to produce and deliver heat, parts become worn before their time, and premature system failure is possible.
- Peace of Mind – If you or anyone you know has ever had their furnace go out in the middle of a cold snap, the dead of night, or on a weekend, you know how stressful and expensive it can be to get it repaired, not to mention chilly! Furnace inspections at the beginning of heating season can help identify small problems before they become big and help keep you warm all winter long.
Sample Furnace Inspections Checklist
Every contractor will have their own list, so be sure to ask what’s covered. Some of the more common tasks include:
- Check thermostat calibration. To help guarantee the accuracy of your thermostat, increase comfort levels and save you money.
- Tighten electrical connections. Loose connections are a safety hazard that can lead to overheating, failure of parts or fire.
- Check the condition of belts. A worn or cracked belt needs to be replaced to keep your furnace running reliably.
- Lubricate moving parts. Friction caused by lack of lubrication can contribute to the premature failure of parts and increase the amount of fuel used to overcome the additional resistance.
- Check the flue for blockages. Any type of obstruction may lead to improper venting of toxic fumes and endanger the occupants of your home.
- Check system controls. The contractor should initiate system start-up to verify that the furnace comes on, operates and shuts down properly.
- Check the heat exchanger. Separations or cracks in the heat exchanger may not be obvious to the naked eye, and can lead to carbon monoxide emissions, as can rust and corrosion. Your contractor can perform a chemical inspection to identify problem areas and keep your family safe.
- Check and replace your furnace filter. Start the heating season with a clean air filter, and keep up with regular, monthly changes to increase efficiency, reduce energy costs and prolong the life of your system.
- Check the burner. A dirty or malfunctioning burner can reduce efficiency and safety. Your contractor should clean it if necessary in addition to checking the ignition, flame and flame senser.
- Adjust, clean and check blower components. This step will help to improve airflow, increasing the efficiency of your furnace and the comfort of your home.
- Check the condensate drain. The drainage system needs to be checked for leakage or blockages, and the drain and trap cleaned. A plugged drain can lead to water damage and possibly mold.
Annual furnace inspections are vital to the health, safety and comfort of everyone in your home. To schedule your annual inspection, call the experts at HVAC Unlimited Heating & Air Conditioning, proudly serving homeowners in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties.
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