How Annual Furnace Maintenance Keeps You Safe And Comfortable

By February 10, 2017Maintenance
How Annual Furnace Maintenance Keeps You Safe And Comfortable

You may be a stickler for a good maintenance program, diligently calling your contractor each year for an inspection and tune-up. Or perhaps you know you should be maintaining your HVAC system but never get around to making the appointment, or maybe you even convince yourself it’s not worth the extra money.

If the latter sounds like you, grab your reading glasses and keep going! We’re about to give you plenty of reasons to love your maintenance program and tell you how regular maintenance keeps your home safer and more comfortable – with the added bonus of saving you money over the life of your system.

Your Furnace Maintenance Checklist

The best way to demonstrate the importance of regular furnace maintenance is with a brief introduction to some of the key components that should be inspected, tested and adjusted as necessary, and why they matter to your home – and wallet.

Each of these parts are checked during routine maintenance to ensure that they are operating at peak efficiency and functioning consistently. This will help ensure your safety and the longevity of the system.

Fan and motor bearings. These must be lubricated as necessary, otherwise friction can cause damage leading to unnecessary repairs. But not any old lube job will do. Too much oil can lead to oil building up and leaking into the housing or into other components. Too little will not effectively solve the problem of friction. The wrong oil can gum up your system and lead to all sorts of complications. Ultimately you want the motor to be appropriately lubricated to keep it functioning effectively for as long as possible.

Belt drives. These aren’t the highest ticket item but they are vulnerable to wear and tear, so why leave yourself open to an unexpected break when a few dollars could save you from hours or days of discomfort during the next cold snap? Belts should be checked for cracks and frays, and realigned or replaced as necessary.

Air filters. This is the one component that most homeowners are familiar with – and notorious for neglecting. Air filters not only improve the air quality inside your home, especially during winter months when sealed windows can keep dust and germs endlessly recirculating, but they also protect your system’s motor from excessive dust buildup. Bottom line: change them regularly! It’s good for your health and will save on repair costs long-term.

Fan coil units. The fan coil unit is comprised of three parts: the motor, filter and coil, and all three need to be examined for wear, tear and dust. These require a thorough cleaning, otherwise, dust can accumulate and affect your system’s performance.

Condensate pans and drain lines. Without proper inspection and maintenance, these can become a real danger to your health and safety. Leaks and clogs can not only cause damage to your system but can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Insects and even rodents can sneak inside drain lines and nest there, causing clogs and water buildup. Combine rodents with bacteria buildup and clogged drains, and you’ve got a household hazard that you’ll want to know about – and eliminate – as soon as possible.

Draft motors. One day your system is humming along just fine and the next (usually the coldest, snowiest day of the year) it shuts off unexpectedly. Or maybe it fails to turn on at all. Blame poorly maintained draft motors. They can malfunction and cause the heater to shut off when you need it most. Regular maintenance, which includes measuring amperage and voltage for proper operation, can help you avoid unnecessary aggravation and repair costs.

Pressure switches. These safety devices are designed to prevent operation of the furnace if the correct air pressure is not detected. If your furnace won’t turn on, it may be due to a safety precaution, so don’t ignore the warning signs. Better yet, prevent these issues with a good maintenance program.

Thermostat. If your home isn’t heating up properly, if the temperature is uncomfortably inconsistent or if you’re suddenly noticing that your system is cycling between “on” and “off” modes more frequently, the thermostat may be malfunctioning. But with regular maintenance and inspection, you can keep yours in working order and detect early signs of aging before it becomes an issue.

Humidistats. Malfunctioning humidistats can turn your HVAC system into a bacteria and mold factory, seriously compromising your health and exacerbating allergies and respiratory illnesses. Worse, mold spores can be continuously circulated through your home every time your HVAC system kicks on. These vital components are checked during regular maintenance to ensure their functioning and protect your home and health from harm.

Humidifiers. The humidistat may be in working order but if the humidifier itself isn’t clean or operating efficiently, you will run into the same problems with bacteria and mold. Pans and canisters must be regularly cleaned and inspected, checked for cracks or leaks, and confirmed to be functioning efficiently and safely.

Flame sensors. Regular cleaning and inspection will extend the life of this important component, which means less expense for repairs and better comfort throughout the cold months. When the flame sensor malfunctions, you may notice your furnace turns on and off more frequently, or shuts down for long periods of time before starting back up. This is not only an important component, but a sensitive one. Cleaning requires a careful hand to avoid touching and damaging the rod.

Carbon Monoxide levels. Although technically not a component, checking for levels of this hazardous gas is arguably the most essential safety check during routine furnace maintenance. If your system isn’t expelling exhaust properly, Carbon Monoxide can build up, resulting in a literally life-threatening situation. No amount of cost savings is worth that risk.

The good news is that regular maintenance is completely affordable and considering how it will extend the life of your furnace and its parts, it will actually save you money in the long run.

Our maintenance programs also entitle you to 10-15% off parts and labor in the event that you do need something fixed, which means your maintenance contract could easily pay for itself on your first repair. As an added perk, you get priority service, including nights, weekends and holidays.

Want to know more? Contact us and let us know that you want to be safer, healthier and more comfortable – and save money, too! We’re here to help.