Furnace Maintenance Checklist for this Winter

Furnace Maintenance

Furnace Maintenance Tips to Avoid Heater Problems

HVAC professionals always recommend furnace and air conditioner maintenance programs and, since we say it so often, it might sound like background noise to your life. Each day, a massive amount of information clamors for the attention of American homeowners. However, technicians perform a variety of furnace maintenance tasks that are vital to keeping your furnace running strong all year long and for years to come. Furnace Maintenance tasks may include:

Changing the Air Filter

This simple chore is essential since the furnace requires the movement of air: the entire volume of air should move through your furnace about every 2 minutes of a heating cycle. A clogged filter can leave you feeling a little chilly on cold days. It also creates stress on your entire heating system.

Check the Ductwork

Only a portion of the network of ducts will be visible after construction is completed. However, observation of the visible portion can tell us:

  • How clean or dirty the ducts are. This is mostly an air quality issue.
  • Potential leaks in the portion that is visible. Repairing any leak that can be observed will improve efficiency and comfort.

Clean the Blower Fan

The amount of dust that collects on moving parts is crazy—how often does the ceiling fan need to be cleaned? The blower motor is a cylindrical fan that is responsible for moving air during heating and cooling cycles. Dust reduces the efficiency of the fan and reduces the amount of air movement.

Check Electronics Thoroughly

  • A series of sensors measure your indoor environment and send messages to the furnace system. The most noticeable sensor is in the thermostat; it measures air temperature and sends a signal calling for a heating cycle as needed. The thermostat needs to be tested and calibrated as needed. Other sensors are located throughout the system, sensing flame or the presence of smoke or carbon monoxide. These essential sensors need to be cleaned and tested regularly.
  • Beyond the sensors, a complex network of electrical switches and controllers manage the energy needed to keep occupants warm and comfortable. When one of these components weakens, it creates a cascade of stress on other system components. Simple voltage tests can detect stress or weakness, ensuring a small problem does not develop into a large problem.
  • Another set of safety controllers prevents damage or injury should a problem create an overload or short-circuit.

Gas System Furnace Maintenance

  • It is extremely important to regularly inspect your gas supply line and connections to prevent damage, injury, and death.
  • The gas pressure needs to be checked at the manifold to ensure adequate flow to the burner.
  • The most delicate part of a gas-powered system is the ignition/pilot light assembly. A pilot light should burn blue, with a hint of yellow at the base. This indicates complete combustion.
  • A flame sensor can accumulate soot and dust, interfering with burner ignition.
  • Rust and soot can develop on the pilot light and burner assembly and need to be cleaned away for good performance.
  • The heat exchanger and flue pipe need to be cleaned and inspected for damage regularly. Rust can weaken the walls of these structures, allowing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide to leak into the home.

General Observations

Furnace Maintenance inspections will also test furnace function by measuring temperature changes during a heating cycle; these measurements will be taken from various spaces to ensure proper the system is heating efficiently.

Leave Furnace Maintenance and Repair to the Experts!

Schedule your furnace maintenance consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified furnace maintenance and heater repair technicians put their experience to work for you.

Why Furnace Repair is Not a DIY Project

Furnace Repair

Why You Should Leave Furnace Repair to the Experts

Many homeowners are pleased to do small jobs around the house but would not consider tackling projects outside their comfort zone. Other homeowners have a pioneering spirit and a penchant for frugality. They consider new challenges exciting. With a host of tutorial videos and several chains of home improvement centers, their independent, do-it-yourself attitude can push the limits.

Some home improvement projects should be left to professionals and making furnace repairs falls into this category.

Home furnaces are an integral building system that keeps the family comfortable, healthy, and safe. The components are complex, and may include:

  • Electrical sensors and controls
  • Refrigerant gas technology, the same gas used during the cooling season, and
  • Natural gas

There are a multitude of manufacturers, with several generations of innovation, so the chances of finding the right tutorial and the corresponding part for specific repairs are quite slim. So many things can go wrong . . .

Potential Electrical Hazards

The wiring that sends messages between the thermostat and furnace components carries 14 volts. The wiring that activates the heating element carries 220 volts. Other wires carry 120 volts. Someone accidentally contacting any of these wires will be shocked, but one better know the difference, since the resulting shock will be very different.

Accidentally crossing the wires can also develop a fire hazard. There is no substitute for proper training and experience when repairing furnaces.

Potential Gas Hazards

Being prepared to repair any furnace on the market requires familiarity with at least three gases, and rarely will homeowners have the necessary training to handle all three.

  • Some furnace units use a heat pump component, which utilizes the same refrigerant gas (commonly referred to as Freon) as the air conditioning process. The air conditioning process is reversed, bringing heat from the outside indoors.
  • Some units use natural gas or propane as fuel to warm a home. Service requires knowledge of gas supply and there can be no mistakes with these explosive gases. A leak is serious, potentially leading to asphyxiation and an explosive fire.
  • The burners for gas furnaces need careful cleaning and inspection. The ignition source and mixture with oxygen must be precise and getting it right can be extremely frustrating.
  • Don’t forget the exhaust from burning natural gas. This gas enters a heat exchange chamber, and the radiant heat warms the air which eventually warms the home.

A portion of the exhaust is steam which causes rust to form on the walls of the heat exchanger; the heat exchanger must be inspected regularly. If the exhaust leaks into the home, the colorless, odorless carbon monoxide will asphyxiate occupants.

A video tutorial cannot cover the vocational furnace repair training and years of experience. Call a professional technician to service and repair your furnace this heating season.

Leave Furnace Repair to the Experts!

Schedule your furnace repair consultation by calling All Cool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email and let our NATE-certified HVAC maintenance and furnace repair technicians put their experience to work for you.