Be SMART And Prepared For Winter
Autumn is upon us, which means it’s time to get your furnace serviced. While it may seem like it’s too early to worry about your furnace, the cold weather will be here before you know it.
The upcoming wintry months will be very taxing on your HVAC system. It’s important to prepare your furnace for the hard work ahead. Left unserviced, a furnace can stop working suddenly, leaving your family in the cold.
Furnace manufacturers recommend annual inspections and maintenance by a qualified technician. Many include language specifying that if the unit is damaged due to improper maintenance it is not covered under warranty. Furthermore, annual inspections extend the life and health of your furnace. Preventative maintenance allows you to catch a problem before your furnace quits working in the middle of the night. It’s much better than paying after-hour rates for a technician to show up on a Sunday night.
More importantly, annual furnace inspections can reveal carbon monoxide leaks. Exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea and even death. Unfortunately, these leaks are hard to detect as the gas is colorless and odorless. Regular inspection and maintenance of home heating systems by an expert technician serves to keep “the silent killer” at bay. “The most important thing they check is the heat exchanger. If this is cracked or has a hole, it is where carbon monoxide leaks out of.” said Jack Goldkamp, Director of Marketing at SMART St. Louis.
Efficiency and Expense
A poorly maintained furnace must work overly hard come winter. This will consequently increase your monthly utility bills. A properly-tuned furnace will work more efficiently and will save you money on energy costs in the long run.
So what should an HVAC technician actually do during an annual furnace inspection? The service provided by heating contractors will differ, depending on who you call and what you are willing to pay. There is no industry standard for a furnace (or boiler) tune-up. Some contractors may offer “safety checks”, while others offer “basic tune-ups”, “complete tune-ups”, or “annual maintenance check-ups.”
The best way to ensure you are getting quality service is to ask the technician exactly what they will be doing. SMART St. Louis recommends the following to be performed annually by a qualified heating technician.
Furnace Inspection Checklist
- Check voltage & amperage on all motors
- Lubricate motors & blower bearings if necessary
- Check blower belt condition
- Clean and inspect heat exchanger for possible carbon monoxide leaks
- Check all safety controls (limits, pressure switches, roll outs)
- Inspect gas valve and draft motors
- Clean permanent type filters
- Clean flame sensors
- Clear drains on 90+ furnaces
- Tighten all electrical connections
- Check temperature rise across heat exchanger