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It’s easy to forget to have your furnace inspected and maintained when it’s working perfectly – after all, out of sight, out of mind, right? But, the fact is, with the severity of our winters and the risk to safety and convenience from losing home heating in subzero temperatures, furnace maintenance and furnace inspections should be considered an essential annual to-do. The last thing you need is to have your heat conk out when you need it most.
And not just that, an annual furnace inspection and tune-up could prolong the life of your furnace, keep it running efficiently and help you save on your energy bills.
A good way to look at it is to think of your HVAC system like your car. Both are important investments and have sensitive parts that need fine-tuning from time to time so that they continue to run as efficiently and as effectively as possible. If problems start to arise and they’re ignored, even seemingly small things may start to break down and your repair bills could add up quickly.
To avoid potential furnace problems, it’s recommended that you have a technician perform a furnace inspection. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that should be helpful:
Again, like your car, a furnace is made up of complex parts, all working in perfect harmony – most of the time. Some parts, like a filter, are easy enough to inspect and replace. But many other components are best looked at by someone who has been specially trained, like a Reliance™ technician. This is true not only in terms of safety but also preventative maintenance too – catching problems before your furnace stops working suddenly.
Obviously, if you suspect a problem, your furnace should be checked out right away – you can book an appointment right here. But for preventative maintenance, it’s recommended that you schedule a furnace inspection before the cold weather hits – usually in September or October.
What should I do before the furnace inspection?
In advance of the visit, make sure your furnace room is clear of clutter and remove any items you have stored near the furnace or in the path to the equipment. A well-lit area is important too, so ensure any burned out bulbs are replaced. It’s also handy to have a spare furnace filter on hand so that if the technician checks the filter system and finds that the filter needs to be replaced, they’ll install the new filter for you on the spot.
During a tune-up inspection, a fully-licensed technician will check all the major components used to generate and circulate warm air. The technician will also measure carbon monoxide (CO) levels, both inside the furnace exhaust and in your home – so you and your family are safe.
Depending on the company you choose to work with, different maintenance packages may be available. Reliance™ conveniently offers 12-point and 21-point furnace tune-ups.
A 12-point tune-up inspects, you guessed it, 12 major furnace components to ensure your unit is in good working condition. This includes checking the thermostat settings and location and inspecting the heat exchanger. If you have a primary and secondary heat exchanger, both will be checked. The technician will inspect the fan and lubricate it if necessary, as well as check the blower motor. The technician will also inspect the pilot burner and flame rod, cleaning them if needed. The safety controls will be inspected to help ensure that your furnace is in good working order.
The heat rise will be checked and adjusted if needed. Importantly, the air inside the flue and atmosphere will be tested for carbon monoxide levels. Then, the technician will ensure the humidifier damper position is correct and the gas piping is up to code. Finally, the chimney or venting system will be assessed to ensure proper flow and condition.
In addition to all the facets of the 12-point tune-up, a 21-point inspection offers a more extensive inspection, testing and cleaning of 21 heating system components, as well as investigating and analyzing potential issues that might affect your equipment’s efficiency. During this extensive tune-up, the technician will clean the burners, blower and secondary heat exchanger, as needed. In addition, they’ll check the condensate pump and lines and clean them, if required. The firing rate and system airflow will be reviewed as well as the electrical connections. Any loose or dirty connections will be tightened and cleaned. They’ll show you where the system switch, or breaker, is located and will perform a camera inspection which helps to find cracked heat exchangers.