The annual check-up you may be neglecting:
The importance of yearly furnace inspections
Maintenance and upkeep. Complex machines need both. We all understand how important it is to bring our cars in yearly, not just to change the oil, but to do a full tune-up and make sure everything’s running at peak performance. For that matter, most of us try to see the doctor annually, for the same reason. And we regularly perform anti-virus checks on our computers. But there’s an important machine in your home, one that’s vital to your health and your comfort, that you may be neglecting.
That’s your furnace.
Furnace manufacturers recommend annual inspections, but many people don’t pay attention, and that could cause serious headaches. If your furnace has problems, you have problems. No one wants to wake up on a cold winter morning, shivering, because the furnace is on the fritz.
Still, you might be skeptical. Is it really necessary? A furnace doesn’t seem as complicated as a car. And can’t you just change the filter and be done with it?
Well, it depends. How lucky do you feel? If your furnace does develop issues and you haven’t kept up with regular recommended maintenance, you face the possibility that repairs may not be covered under your warranty. And there’s a lot more to an annual furnace tune-up than merely changing the filter.
A qualified contractor will ensure that your system is operating in a safe and efficient manner. Your Durham HVAC professional will check the vent systems for any blockage or leaks, including internal and external connections, and fresh air intake grills and louvers. Blockages or leaks may not be obvious, but could pose serious health risks.
Your service professional will check and analyze the combustion gases, and ensure that they meet the unit’s specifications.
He or she will check the blower access door, making sure that the seal is tight.
The heat exchanger will be examined for any rust or corrosion.
The burners must be checked carefully, to see that they are igniting properly and burning according to specifications.
The drainage system, too, must be examined. Blocks or leakage could mean moisture, and that could lead to mold or spores entering your air system. The condensate drain and trap will be cleaned, and the water replaced with fresh water.
The blower wheel is another part of your furnace that must be inspected. This requires removing the wheel completely, and thoroughly cleaning off any dirt or debris. Then, after replacing it, your service professional will conduct an amp-draw test, and make sure that this, too, is within the specifications for your particular unit.
Furnace wiring can become corroded or damaged over time. A qualified contractor knows to check all wiring carefully.
Other tests that may be performed include static air pressure checks, gas pressure tests and temperature rise tests.
And, yes, finally, your service professional will check and change the filters. But hopefully, it hasn’t been a full year since they were last changed. He or she will make sure you understand that these filters should be changed every month or two, at minimum.
Will your service professional do all these tests and checks with each annual visit? Maybe not all, but a well-qualified HVAC contractor will probably do at least half of them with each visit.
Is it worth the money to get your unit inspected, serviced and tuned yearly? In a word, yes. Just consider the consequences if you don’t. It’s just like seeing the dentist, servicing your car, or changing the batteries in your smoke detectors. Whenever you might be tempted to skip these common-sense practices, you need to take a moment to realize that an ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure.
Your furnace keeps you warm, but as part of your home HVAC system, it also protects you, keeping the air you breathe clean, fresh and safe. Regular inspections and tune-ups are like buckling your seat belt. Make it a habit, and you can rest easier.