HVAC maintenance has grown prominent in the minds of homeowners over the years, and rightly so. Properly maintaining your system is the difference between burning money versus keeping an efficient unit. Here’s what you can expect during a routine maintenance visit and why it’s important.
Furnaces are so common in our homes that most of us forget there are risks with running them. You see the occasional warning about carbon monoxide poisoning, but you seldom see that risk connected to your furnace. There’s also the occasional story about a gas leak that leads to a house fire or an explosion.
Fortunately, these kinds of incidents are relatively rare, so we easily forget about them. However, when we neglect to take care of mitigating these risks, that’s where you see them start to crop up.
Further, you want to make sure the safety systems built into your heating system are working properly. These might include your gas shut-off switch as well as the heat safety switches.
Your annual furnace maintenance appointment will include the necessary checks to ensure your system will be safe this winter as it runs. Your technician will check for carbon monoxide levels around the furnace while it’s running. They’ll also look for any signs of gas leaks and test each of the safety components so that you can resolve problems before they become catastrophic.
As air moves through your heating system, it deposits small particles that slip through your air filter onto your heat exchanger and circulating fan. As these collect, it inhibits your furnace’s ability to transfer heat and restricts the system’s airflow.
Your technician will gently clean both of these areas during your annual maintenance appointment. Care must be given to ensure they don’t damage either component, which can happen just by using the wrong cleaning products. This task is a major part of keeping your furnace operating at peak efficiency.
The only way to know whether your system is working properly is to objectively test its performance. This means running a full cycle to ensure the thermostat is sending the signal and that all the components engage at the right time.
Additionally, you want to make sure that your system is producing the right amount of heat. This is called the temperature rise, or how much warmer it makes the air than the ambient room temperature.
Your technician will run your system through an entire heating cycle to ensure that it works properly. While it’s running, they’ll double-check your heat rise to ensure it’s optimal. If anything comes up, you can get the needed repairs done without relying on an emergency repair before jeopardizing your family’s safety.
Beyond testing, some of your components need a visual inspection to ensure they’re operating safely. This is especially true for your heat exchanger, which may crack over time. Your circulating fan motor, burner, and igniter may all show visible signs of problems and will be inspected during routine maintenance.
Tightening and Balancing
Your system creates vibration as it runs, which loosens some components’ mounting screws and electrical connections. Loose mounting bolts and screws lead to additional movement while your system runs, causing excessive strain on those components. Loose electrical connections create additional electrical resistance, which increases heat in electrical wiring and components.
Your circulating fan must also maintain balance to prevent damage to the motor and spindle. Dust collecting on the fan wheel and loose mounting bolts may cause the fan to go out of balance. All of these connections are tightened during your maintenance visit, and your circulating fan will be balanced to reduce the strain put on your system.
Why Maintenance Matters
If all of that isn’t enough to convince you of how important furnace maintenance is, consider your system’s warranty. Manufacturers understand all of what is described above and recognize that without proper maintenance, your furnace will experience preventable repairs. To reduce the risk of these warranty claims, they often require regular maintenance as a term of the warranty.
Even if your unit is no longer under warranty, attending to these areas reduces your overall operating costs. Keeping your system running efficiently lowers your utility costs, reduces preventable repairs, and extends the lifespan of your appliance. There’s little you can do for your system that’s as reasonably priced as annual maintenance.
People throughout Cedarburg have trusted Hometown Heating & Air to keep their homes warm since 2016. Our NATE-certified technicians provide heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance, and repairs as well as indoor air quality solutions. Call to schedule your furnace maintenance appointment with one of our expert technicians today.