Most homeowners don’t give their furnaces a second thought until something goes wrong. However, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and expense by keeping your system properly maintained, preventing downtime when you need it, and saving yourself the expense of increased utility bills and repairs. HVAC experts recommend that you have an annual furnace inspection done on your furnace once every year.
What Does a Furnace Inspection Include?
HVAC technicians perform a lot of preventative maintenance during an annual furnace cleaning and inspection. In addition to cleaning and lubricating the furnace’s parts, they will inspect for safety issues, tighten any loose components, make minor repairs, and advise if there are larger repairs needed. Proper maintenance can extend the life of your heating system by as much as 40% and increase its energy efficiency greatly.
Some of the areas that will be inspected by your HVAC technician during a furnace check include:
- Clogged blowers
- Dirty filters
- Cracks in heat exchangers or gas lines
- Cracks in the ductwork
- Improper burner operations
- Parts needing lubrication
- Yellow or orange flames that may indicate carbon monoxide
- Malfunctioning thermostats
- Clanging noises due to loose parts
- Exposed or worn electrical wires
- Blocked condensation drains
- Signs of malfunction
Not all problems can be corrected during a maintenance visit, but a technician will advise anything that needs to be addressed and order any parts for work you need to be done so that it can be corrected as soon as possible.
Do I Really Need a Furnace Inspection?
Some homeowners view an annual furnace inspection as an unnecessary expense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Having a heater inspection every year is critical to the continued operation and lifespan of your heating system. A home furnace inspection is the best way to prevent a loss of energy efficiency and avoid costly future repairs. In some cases, it is a requirement to receive coverage from your manufacturer’s warranty.
The last thing anyone wants is for their furnace to fail when the temperatures outside have dropped. It’s going to be hard to keep your family warm if your heating system fails in the dead of winter. While you might be lucky enough to only need some batteries in your thermostat or to reignite your pilot light, you can be in a real jam if you’re without heat in the middle of a cold night and require emergency service. Not only can this be expensive, but it can also be challenging to get help on short notice if callouts are heavy.
Attempting to repair your own furnace can also be a recipe for disaster. Without proper qualification, you can void your warranty or even set your family up for potential harm. If you find yourself in an emergency like the following, professional intervention is a must.
- Smell of rotten eggs or gas can be a sign of danger. You will need to get your family out of the house until your furnace can be checked by the local fire department or a certified HVAC technician.
- Banging noise or booms are a sign that your furnace has poor gas pressure or your burners are clogged. The noises you are hearing are small gas explosions as your furnace tries to ignite.
- Repeated clicking sounds mean your furnace is trying to ignite but your flame sensor isn’t responding. It could be damaged.
While any of these items will require emergency assistance, other furnace issues can be checked at a more convenient hour if you can manage to stay warm in the interim. Non-emergency repairs may include the following:
- Your house isn’t getting warmer even if you increase the temperature on the thermostat
- Your utility bill has risen considerably
- There is considerable dust on the furnace or ductwork
- You haven’t had a recent inspection and suspect you have issues that need to be reviewed
- The furnace is kicking on and off more rapidly than normal
- Squeaking or squealing can be heard while the furnace is running
- You hear metallic clanging noises while the furnace runs
Other Benefits of Annual Furnace Inspections
You can take comfort in knowing that your furnace is ready for winter if you have had a recent cleaning and inspection done. However, other reasons should inspire you to schedule furnace maintenance soon. Here are some of them.
- Worn-out parts can be identified and replaced before they create a problem
- Preventative maintenance reduces the chances of carbon monoxide leaks
- The system will run more smoothly, reducing energy costs
- Keeps any current warranties valid
- Prevents unexpected breakdowns during cold winter nights
- Allows you to take advantage of discounts and rebates
- Maintains your home’s value
- Prolongs the lifespan of your furnace
- Improves air quality in your home
DIY HVAC Inspections and Repairs
While you should never skip out on a yearly inspection performed by a certified professional, there are some items you can do yourself to help your furnace operate at its best. Actions you can take to keep your furnace going strong include:
- Change filters every one to three months, depending on usage
- Check any carbon monoxide detectors every month
- Clean any dust or clutter away from your furnace
- Locate and seal any air leaks that might allow heat to escape
- Clean dust, debris, and dirt in your home that can be captured by your filter and create clogs
- If you feel confident in doing so, you can reignite a pilot light that has gone out
Beyond these measures, you should leave more involved furnace inspections to the professionals. The HVAC technicians at American Home Water and Air are trained and experienced in the proper service and maintenance you require. They are knowledgeable enough to spot cracks or worn parts that might escape a less familiar eye. When you’ve had your furnace inspected, cleaned, and lubricated by a top service provider, you can rest easy knowing that you will be able to count on your system to run smoothly when you need it most.