Winter is coming — and it’s high time you get your furnace tuned-up. Before the cold sets in, you need to make an appointment with a heating and cooling service professional. With an annual inspection, you can be sure that your furnace won’t fail you just when you need it most.
Here are some of the things you need to do to keep your furnace in prime working conditions.
Proceed with Caution
The first thing you should do before you start tinkering with your HVAC is to make sure all electrical power and fuel supplies are switched off. The red switch plate is usually located near the burner itself, while the fuel valve is either situated on a gas pipe or near the oil tank. You should make sure you know where the switches are in case of a fire or a leak. If you are not familiar or comfortable working with electrical power or fuel supply lines, then contact Nelson Comfort for safe and prompt service.
Once the switch is turned off, you can start with the check-up.
Cleaning the Combustion Chamber
The combustion chamber is the place where the actual burning of fuel takes place. Natural by-products of fuel burning up consist of soot, ash, carbon monoxide, water vapor and other noxious gases. This chamber needs to be scraped clean with a small wire brush. An HVAC professional will also remove all the loose waste products with an industrial vacuum and inspect the heating chamber for erosion and holes.
Checking the Flue Pipe
One of the biggest dangers of carbon monoxide leakage comes from perforated flue vents. If your vent has small holes, they can be fixed by special foil tape but if the corrosion is worse, the flue vent will need to be changed. A professional heating and cooling service expert will also adjust the barometric damper of the flue pipe, which moderates the draft inside a furnace.
Replacing the Air Filter
Dirt and dust is the biggest nemesis of a furnace — and of your health. Your furnace air filter removes all these impurities from the air so your family breathes only clean air. However, if the filter gets clogged with dirt, your furnace will not be able to work at maximum efficiency. In case that happens, you need to clean out the filter, or better yet, replace it.
Checking the Blower Belt
If your furnace is making a lot of noise, it is time to check the blower belt. An electric motor drives the blower, which circulates heat from the furnace to your home’s ductwork to the room vents. A loose belt can slow down the blower, resulting in low heat. If your belt has cracks and frays, you need to get it replaced; if it has a flex of ¾ inch, an HVAC can just loosen the nut and adjust the motor accordingly.
Inspecting the Burner Flame
Turn on the power switch or fuel valve and light your burners. The flames should be blue and even. If your flame is yellow, it indicates there are impurities on the burner and they need to be cleaned out through vacuuming. Don’t try to adjust the burners yourself. Call in a pro.
Faulty thermostat can cause your furnace to produce too little or too much heat. A blown fuse, tripped circuit, old battery or wonky wiring can disturb the reading of your thermostat and prevent your furnace from working at optimal temperature.
Although, it may seem easy enough, checking for problems in a furnace is dangerous. This task should be best left to heating and professional services providers like Nelson Comfort. If you get your furnace checked yearly, it can cost you less than $100, much less than a price of a new furnace.